The duo behind the hip clothing brand share their Florence

The minute you enter the showroom of Ink-P, you are overwhelmed by the array of colour in-store. Racks of bright neons, pinks, and azure blue boldly announce themselves with graphics in the labels signature style. Designers by trade, Giulia Castagnoli and Antonio Fugazzotto create contemporary patterns screen printed onto fabric before being made into t-shirts, dresses and stylish jackets, ideal for modern styling. Seven years ago at a creative agency during her second interview, Giulia met Antonio and a creative buzz was ignited. However, the idea of being stuck between “cramped office walls and rigid ideas” was not their future. Instead, they had dreams of worldly adventures around the globe. So a year after working together they packed their bags and took off on a 12-month long trip heading counterclockwise around the world. Final destination: Australia.

They desired to “recharge our energy and creative freedom to start something new and unexpected”. Roaming around the streets of Brazil and Argentina, settling for a time in Sydney, then exploring the awe-inspiring natural beauty of New Zealand, the organic elements of nature, its textures, patterns of animals and plants, the unique interplay of hues and shapes, and an explosion of colour was to shape their creative and fashion future. Returning to Florence, the duo established Ink-P, an independent fashion business where Giulia designs the graphics and Antonio screen prints these flowing patterns by hand in the back of their workshop in San Frediano. Graphics are printed on fabrics including leather to make t-shirts, sunglasses, bags, and shoes all with their trademark striped yet fluid designs. As they hand print then sew every item, each piece is one-of-a-kind. So how do two creatives spend their time in Florence when not designing their fashion forward “art”? Find out as they share their NINE.

1. Galleries I Love

Carta Vetra on via Maggio is fantastic. It is run by Brunella Baldi and a collective of young artists. At the entrance, they house the most recent exhibitions, then, at the back of the space, there is a lovely large room where arts, crafts and illustration lessons are offered. Decorated with designer furniture, in the centre is a huge table surrounded by books, the table filled with craft tools. There is a warm atmosphere within the space, and you can′t leave the gallery without booking a course as you wish to stay as long as possible.

2. For A Perfect Dinner

A great location that offers good organic food and wines, fresh pasta dishes, and excellent service is Vivanda. We love Alessandro when he is there; it is our favourite place to go. He always has an entertaining story to share and he has a unique ability to understand clients and make them feel welcome. The restaurant is small, but it′s nice to share a big table with others and meet new and exciting people. They have a large wine selection which also helps!

3. For A Sweet Treat

Dolci e Dolcezze by piazza Beccaria. When I came to Florence it was the first place where I could find high-quality cakes and come in small portions; I love them. A favourite is topped with chocolate or berries, with a base of frolla and cream. I also love Gelateria della Passera, the tiny ice-cream shop in the piazza of the same name where they make real sorbets from fruits without using any chemicals or too much sugar. It′s really small so sometimes you need to join the queue because the store can only fit two to three people. Piazza della Passera is a great meeting spot with Cafe degli Artigiani a great venue where they host live music on the second floor.

4. My Florence Style

First of all, in Florence, you can find high-quality raw materials and excellent manufacture. I love to buy from artisans clothes and accessories that are handmade, slow fashion. I like to invest in products and I know many of the artisans and their stories. I like to have a unique piece made with great passion and love and to support Florence′s artisan community.

5. Favourite Shopping Stores

The best areas for shopping is Santo Spirito and San Frediano. The studios and shops are often together (showroom at the front, workshop at the back) and hidden in old historic buildings. I like the area because you can still find old style Florentines. Often you feel like you′re in a small town seeing friends in the streets, or they come to visit you and spend some time in our store. You feel part of a big family.

6. For Sunset Cocktails

Close to the old walls in Porta San Frediano is Santarosa Bistrot. They also cook great food, but the best time is for aperitivo where you can drink a great cocktail outside in a leafy space surrounded by 14th century walls. In the summer months, they often have live music, so you can relax in a seat or sit on the grass as the sun sets. A fantastic place for summer time.

7. For Art & Culture

Live music at Aurora in piazza Tasso is fantastic. The cocktails are special, and in the summer they extend the bar to have outside seating overlooking the piazza. In winter time music is performed inside. The owners are contemporary and host young, experimental, alternative musicians. After a long workday, we like to pop there to relax or sometimes to dance.

8. Favourite Green Space

We like to pass the time in the garden of Villa Strozzi especially in springtime. The garden is filled with beautiful trees and fragrant flowers everywhere! It′s a little further from Florence′s centre, so you find locals walking their dogs or taking a stroll. Sometimes we go for yoga lessons which are immersive – the bird sounds and the fragrance of flowers make for a very relaxing experience.

9. Escape To The Countryside

We like natural springs, and although it is not so close to Florence, it′s worth the drive, Bagni di San Filippo. In the summertime, you can enter into the woods and find your own a little place in the sulfuric pools full of white water. Once, with a friend, we were immersed in the pool we didn′t notice the time passing. Before we knew it, we were in darkness with lots of fireflies around us; it was magical!

Photo credit: Nardia Plumridge