Kokoro | BELLAGENTE 2016 | by Lorenza Accardo

Cold, gray sky, workers assembling the stalls of the Christmas market near Porta Galliera. I leave Bologna, my adopted city, with a feeling of silent pleasure, the same one you feel when it's raining and cold outside and you're at home lighting the fire for Ciobar. I'm returning to Rome, home, to interview David and Benedetta, the minds and hands of Kokoro, a women's clothing brand and line, which is also a boutique in the heart of Rione Monti.
(photo by Marco Rapaccini - Officine Fotografie Rome)

I have known Kokoro since my early university years and I had always wondered who was behind a simple but effective idea like the one that Kokoro embodies: unique, versatile clothes, with a minimal cut but recognizable in the attention to detail, made with colored fabrics , particular, imaginative, and affordable enough to intrigue even the penniless and totally branded student H&M that I was. They welcomed me into their shop/workshop in via del Boschetto, in a Monti already in full Christmas spirit. We sit on the red wooden counter that in that hour of chatting we will share with Julia, one of the seamstresses they collaborate with who, while we talk, is working on the machine for new sweater prototypes.


«Kokoro is a Japanese word that means “heart”, also understood in the sense of “soul”» Benedetta tells me practically immediately – lively and smiling eyes, a girlish vitality typical of someone who leads the multitasking life of a mother of two children and of creativity. A name that perfectly encapsulates the concept that gives life to the line: spontaneity, affection, passion and originality in the work of designing and creating the clothes. Behind every Kokoro model there is a story, which starts from the research journey on the fabric - which Benedetta and David go to find directly in Thailand, where they find fabrics and patterns unthinkable for the Italian trend towards basics - passing through the sketch of the model , which is then carried out through adjustments during manufacturing, in a process that ends directly on the body of the person who buys it, from where the dress then starts again to start a new life.

«I'm interested in the entire journey that a garment takes: the research from which it starts and which leads it to be displayed in the store container, where the customer arrives, who finds it and chooses it among many other products available on the market and who so it's a bit as if she created it herself – David tells me, who speaks and moves with an elegance of other times – and from there another story begins, made up of the expectations of those who bought it, from occasion in which she wears it and for which she chose it, from her wardrobe, her travels, things that perhaps then transform it into her favorite dress." Kokoro's is therefore a story of travels, friendships and meetings, or rather re-encounters. David and Benedetta are in fact long-time friends, who met again a few years ago, after Benedetta's trip to India and Thailand: «Kokoro was born from a passion for travel. I wanted to earn some money after returning from Thailand; a friend of mine had a stall in Porta Portese and I started by selling there what I sewed with the fabrics I had brought back from Asia. In reality, my path was completely different: I graduated in philosophy but my grandmothers were both seamstresses, so the needle and thread obviously carry them in my DNA. On Sundays at Porta Portese, however, I was very successful, customers asked me where they could find me during the week, so I decided to contact David again, who in the meantime had opened "his" Kokoro in the university area and had launched his own line". In fact, David's elegance doesn't lie: fashion and clothing are at home for him: «My grandfather was among the first to bring ready-made men's clothing to Rome, alongside traditional bespoke tailoring. I grew up in this area and started working in it at a very young age." It is no coincidence that of the two David is the one who pays more attention to container : the unmistakable red canvas shopping bags with the Kokoro logo instead of small bags are his idea. The original nucleus of Kokoro is precisely David's shop in Viale Ippocrate; her brand went very well with the philosophy behind Benedetta's creations. Once they met again, they decided to keep the name, reinventing the logo (a sewing machine instead of a stylized mannequin) and to create the shop in Via del Boschetto, where their original line has been on display since 2006.


«From the beginning it went very well, so that we were able to expand the line: first only dresses and sweaters, now also jackets, trousers, accessories, etc. For a while we also had a second point of sale in via della Chiesa Nuova", recalls Benedetta, as she continues to chat with Julia about the model she is sewing and greets the customers who enter the shop. Both Benedetta and David design the models, but the process that leads to the creation of the clothes is the result of continuous sartorial remodulation: «we like to go off the cuff: we have a decidedly practical approach – David explains to me – we start from a sketch and then it goes straight to the making, the final model comes from the adjustments directly on the already sketched dress". «When they call me a “stylist” it makes me smile – adds Benedetta – I only try to realize ideas that I take instinctively from what I see. A girl walking down the street can be enough to evoke an image in me, which I then jot down and try to make concrete, explaining it to the seamstresses." A familiar, intimate dimension, and an idea of ​​clothing, but also of consumption, based on people, shaped by their desires, as accessible as possible. As Benedetta tells us: «I like femininity in all its forms. When I create a model I don't have a specific type of woman in mind. On the contrary, I try to keep in mind all female types, with their different figures, so as to create a dress that can suit everyone. Ultimately it's a bit of a challenge, I'm intrigued by imagining a model that overcomes the obstacles between sizes and shapes." In her words I try to glimpse the features of the typical customer who comes in to browse, try on, exchange chatter and opinions with whoever she finds behind the counter of the shop-laboratory, but Benedetta stops me immediately: «it's impossible to define our audience. Everything comes in here, from very young girls to their sisters, mothers, aunts." A sort of "democracy" in which shopping is truly a gesture of affection towards oneself, a moment of appropriation of our identity through an imaginary, and not a race to adapt to a model imposed from above. And not just in a metaphorical but literal sense: every garment can in fact be fixed up tailored based on the characteristics of the customers and the changes are strictly free. «We don't believe too much in the concept of current fashion – David confirms to me immediately afterwards – for us a beautiful thing is as beautiful now as it will be in ten years. Our models, in fact, are quite simple, but each one has its own uniqueness which lies in the details: a button, a seam, the fabric. They are clothes that can be worn every day, but which have their own soul and beauty that we want to resist the years and fashions. When we happen to align ourselves with trends it is more due to a physiological fact than a choice. It depends on being continually exposed to standardized images that inevitably shape taste. This is why travel is very important for us, because it allows us to break away from automatisms, to open ourselves up to the new and unusual, to renew our imagination." The accessibility of costs is therefore only one of the elements of a project which has the merit of managing to express uniqueness and originality in an inclusive sense and within everyone's reach. A subtle alchemy that is the fruit of the pleasure of carrying out a profession, of commitment to research, of the desire to remain consistent with a spirit, perhaps even at the cost of sacrificing a bit of ambition. As we speak, in-store traffic is increasing. In fact, Silvia, historical collaborator and friend of the two, has arrived. The shop turns from a laboratory into a bedroom: we chat about shoes, gags with the customers in the shop, we think about the garment that Julia is making, we try on the latest purchases.

«You see – Benedetta tells me, pointing to Silvia – she is the "modern" one, she is our right-hand man and manages all our social channels: think that I don't even know the password to our Facebook profile! We should probably decide to promote ourselves better but it's just not for me. For example, we worked with Barilla for an advertisement, we were quoted for the clothes in Every single day by Paolo Virzì. These are things that we should make more visible, but we don't have that mentality, we are just creatives and that's it." A not so obvious statement, at a time when we are naturally inclined to consider communication the cornerstone of every successful business. I ask him why we have never decided to open stores in other cities, for example Milan or Bologna, where they certainly would not struggle to find space. Benedetta answers me with an almost placid smile: «To make you understand, all those who work with us are former customers. I could also open elsewhere, many people ask me. But since I can't be there, I wouldn't want to simply pay someone to convince someone else to buy my clothes. What interests me is the spirit, the soul of each point of sale, for me this is what is important." It is perhaps no coincidence that Kokoro is one of the first activities that contributed to the rebirth of Monti, a few years ago now; a district that, despite the phantom hipsteria , however, manages to maintain a soul and a tradition, that of craftsmanship. Here gentrification seems to have truly preserved the identity of the neighborhood without transforming it into a fake version of it, unlike what happened in other historic areas of Rome. All this seems to me to have to do with one of those concepts often called into question in describing the forms of our culture, authenticity. But how do you preserve this authenticity, despite becoming a consolidated reality like that of Kokoro? David's response defuses all my reasoning: «Yes, it's complex, but in truth it's also very simple. This is exactly what I am passionate about: life and I would almost say the fatality inherent in each of our products and in the work behind them, things that cannot exist in the big brand. That is a more organized dimension, more "professional" in some ways, but also decidedly more flat ".


Kokoro thus represents a third way between cheap but mass-produced clothing and high fashion, inaccessible to most. In a certain sense, it is a brand that practices a resilient alternative to the large chains, which sell the illusion of exceptionality while in fact making uniforms, all the same and of very poor quality. Kokoro's style instead demonstrates that it is possible to imagine an original and recognizable style that does not suffocate the personality of the wearer, branding it, but which adapts to this and enhances it through simple and unique models, with colorful but never over the top patterns. . The secret therefore seems to lie in knowing how to consciously choose one's own dimension and practicing it with determination, but also with a bit of that lightness typical of those who do something simply - or exceptionally? – because that's what he loves to do.

Read the original Dudemag article by clicking HERE


Kokoro Shop | HANDMADE CLOTHES | by Daniela D'Avanzo

Kokoro shop is one of my favorite shops in the city. They sell handmade clothes designed by a very talented fashion designer. They have a lot of stylish clothes (dresses, shirts, skirts…) and some accessories, all made with very nice materials. Since they made it by hand, sometimes they only have items in one size…so you have to be lucky!


The historic location is in Monti, in via del Boschetto. It's a very nice and cozy shop, with very kind and helpful shop assistants… if you are in doubt don't hesitate to ask them, they will know the better way to wear what you have chosen.

Kokoro is the perfect place to buy uncommon clothes. You will find the real Italian fashion at good prices. Sometimes they have special offers and I used to check them on their Facebook fan page.

Just one piece of advice for the guys: it's only for girls!

Read the original article from by clicking HERE


Kokoro | A FUSION OF STYLE | by Made in Italy Fashion&Beauty

Kokoro is a Japanese word that simultaneously indicates both the mind, therefore thought and will, but also feelings. It is, therefore, all the mental functions such as faith or trust, determination, courage, etc., expressions with which this term is often translated. Although in Italian it is sometimes rendered with the term "heart", it does not appear that it should ever be interpreted in the sense of "seat of feelings" separate from the "mind" but rather in terms of "life".

The concept of Kokoro embodies a creative passion that involves the soul, common to the two creators of the brand: David Anav and Benedetta Piccirilli.

The two boys are old friends, a few years ago, upon Benedetta's return from a trip to India and Thailand, Kokoro was born.

<<Benedetta, returning from her trip, with the fabrics purchased in Asia decides, collaborating with a friend, to sell her creations at the Porta Portese market. The customers appreciate it, and that's when she decided to contact me again. In the meantime, I had opened Kokoro in viale Ippocrate, launching an individual clothing line.>> David tells us.

From that moment a collaboration was born which came to life from the shop opened by David in Viale Ippocrate and which was expressed, 10 years ago, in the opening of the shop and tailoring workshop, in Via del Boschetto 75, in Rione Monti, Rome.

Kokoro is a brand of a women's clothing line; they are unique dresses, made with refined and innovative fabrics, whose attention to detail is evident in the creation of versatile garments, as accessible as possible. << When we create a model we try to create a dress that can fit all women with its thousand nuances; our models, in fact, are quite simple, but each one has its own uniqueness which lies in the details: the fabric, the stitching, the cut, a button, the colour.>> says David.

<<Ideas arise instinctively from the everyday life of what I observe and strikes me>>, as a girl passes by, he adds: <<we create by taking inspiration from the street; our creativity completes the conception of the prototype, the passion in the research of fabrics creates the model on which the entire production will be developed.>>

The boutique in via del Boschetto,75 displays the collections created seasonally by the two boys, renewed weekly, at affordable costs and whose garments can be adjusted in the laboratory to the needs and characteristics of the customers.

All you have to do is embrace a new experience and visit the David and Benedetta Boutique in the heart of Rome: today this is the advice of Made in Italy Fashion&Beauty.

Other Links