WHO IS GRAZIA ISOARDI?
Grazia, creator of the brand IsoardiTorino, is a radiant "almost fifty" textile artisan, specialized in the production of hats and accessories, with a strong ethic footprint for the environment and the sustainable labor.
Often the age of women is removed in speeches that concern them. In this case Grazia makes no secret, her age prooves once more her cultural knowledge accumulated along the way.
To understand who is Grazia today, we must consider the influence her studies in Sociology interest in all that is Material Culture have had to her educational and cultural background. These are the premises that initially led her to invest competences and skills in local development, in the border between Moncalieri and Chieri town (Turin), where Grazia grew up.
For over 15 years Grazia coordinated projects promoted by her association, which was distinguished by its ecological orientation and social integration, aspects that will never leave Grazia’s professional life.
The financial crisis and the increasing reduction of public resources, which are essential for the sustenance of the project, determined the end of that experience. Grazia decided then to reinvent herself drawing upon her old passion when she was a girl: the textile production.
HOW DID HER PASSION FOR HATS START?
Grazia’s passion for hats started at a young age:
"If my brother went off travelling I would ask him to bring me a hat" she says. As a young girl she learnt by chance to use the sewing machine of her friend; one day she noticed in a magazine a black and blue velvet cloche hat that she liked a lot. She tried to make a similar copy and after working on it a full day, it did have a great success among her friends. From that moment she desired to achieve what she liked the most, so she started realizing and selling her first products at the artisan market called Balon.
After a Master of Ecomoda at the Pistoletto Foundation in Biella, the historical epicenter of the textile wool industry in Italy, she acquired an education at 360° that blended her passion for textile production with focus on the environmental and social impact that it has on planet Earth.
The decisive moment in her artisanal career came three years after the end of the Master, thanks to a micro-credit project that allowed her to really make a leap ahead in her career, a moment she recalls very illuminating and decisive.
Grazia also talks about the importance of courage as one of the most important lessons she gained from her training.
The courage to believe in one's own project, showing it to the outside world and then putting it out into the market represents a great achievement for the self-empowerment, self-esteem and self-confidence, so fundamental in the professional field.
"If my brother went off travelling I would ask him to bring me a hat"
WHICH ARE THE DIFFICULTIES FACED DURING HER PROFESSIONAL PATH?
The most critical moment in Grazia's professional life dates back to the transition from the old to the new profession. Her energies were concentrated on both of them and this meant to Grazia a lack of balance.
Working as an artisan the time to invest it is crucial, not only in the design and production but also concerning the commercial field. Being a freelancer is to Grazia an added value but at the same time more challenging.
Her work inevitably leads her to be able to reserve less time in social interaction and affection, for example with her brother and friends.
AS A WOMAN?
Being a woman in the craft world has never been an obstacle. But looking at the previous profession, when she was the Project Coordinator, Grazia noticed how her role was somehow covertly underestimated by the local public administration she was in touch with.
"The importance of courage: one of the most important lessons she gained from her training"
WHERE GRAZIA GETS INSPIRATION FROM IN HER WORK?
It is the passion to motivate Grazia daily in her profession. When she has to create new models she takes inspiration from Bruno Munari, artist and designer, as it occurred for the bright idea of the hat with laces, born as if it were a sheet of paper.
To free her mind she used to make those final operations, such as cutting and sewing at CUCITO CONDIVISO MAI-GAD, in Turin, an open space by Silvia Maiorana where every professional has access to a fully equipped workstation.
HOW IMPORTANT IS TO COUNT ON SOMEBODY?
Grazia admits how crucial is to have a supportive partner, especially because of her long working days.
ARE WOMEN TRULY FREE TO CHOOSE THEIR DESTINY NOWADAYS?
Grazia starts from an interesting consideration: the male gender still meets a strong social and cultural pressure which pushes him to be the reference figure within the family and the one who provides the main income to sustain it.
Following this thought, women could theoretically have more opportunities and time to explore their potentials than their partners, precisely because of the less stringent expectations. A double-edged sword infact, which if on one side would allow women to invest in their skills, on the other side the scarcity of social services does not help in reducing the pressure on women concerning the work-family balance, in order to combine private and professional life.
"New inspirations and ideas for the future come also from the road and the unpredictable meetings ..."
HOW MUCH IMPORTANT IS TO KEEP ON DREAMING?
Grazia has never stopped dreaming. As a child she dreamed to become an archaeologist or an astronaut. She loved the idea of adventure that somehow she applies in her profession: "one must venture to sell", she says, and she willingly takes on this need for travelling between Turin, Lodi, Parma and Modena.
Dreaming for Grazia is a necessity, despite the uncertainty of the future in Italy. For the first time she and her partner are considering the possibility to move abroad starting from scratch a new life.
GRAZIA ISOARDI IN BRIEF?
Determined, imaginative and practical.