For the 5th edition of our ongoing series, we travel to southern Europe and meet our friend Angelo Gallamini. Right on the Adria coast of Italy, Angelo operates his breathtaking fashion label Ermanno Gallamini which is also home to his family and his vast collection of vintage goods.
Angelo's versatile style, personality, and work are second to none.
His life, his passion for collecting, and his constant urge for creativity are unique. We want to give a glimpse into his very varied life, dividing it between his family-run fashion label and his insatiable thirst for chasing unique things with history.
And of course, watches play a big role in his world...
Angelo in his natural habitat: The world famous Mercanteinfiera antique trade show in Parma (IT)*
From adventurous drilling in the most remote places on earth in his younger days to one of the most innovative fashion designers of today. His designs are eye-catching, extroverted, and of exceptional quality. No wonder he enjoys a special reputation, especially in Japan, a country where fashion and design are paramount.
Two portraits that display a whole lifetime*
Ciao Angelo and thanks for joining us. Let's start at the very beginning... Your life and work before the fashion world were to say a very different one. Please let us know what you did and would you say that this experience has influenced your present?
Before getting into fashion I worked for more than 15 years for a large global company in the construction field. A unique opportunity to learn several languages and interact with people of other cultures. Never forget it was long time before easy worldwide travel and the big advantages of the internet nowadays. This experience had an incredible impact on my mindset and the development of my character and my way of thinking in general.
When I decided to quit the job and follow my growing passion for fashion, I only encountered rejections due to my lack of experience or training in the field. Proud, with a straight backbone and complete trust in my passion, I decided to become self-employed and on 07/01/1989 I started my life as an entrepreneur in fashion.
I am convinced that without the experience of this hard work away from home and the development of my mindset, I and my fashion brand would not be what they are today.
Angelo & his wife Beatrice*
You run the Ermanno Gallamini brand with your wife. And we see your son more and more appear in your work too. What value does it have for you to have such a unique opportunity?
My family is what makes me strong. What would a lion be if he didn't have his pack and family by his side?
In addition to my wife, I wish very much that one day my children will also work alongside me to create a great dynasty around a large family.
Left: The design couple on its was to the trade show*
Right: Angelo & his son Andrea shooting pieces for one of the latest collections*
Even in the campaign shooting the dogs should not be missing*
As we now know, your family is above everything for you, including your dogs, which have a very special place in your heart. How much energy do you draw from this unique privilege of having this great pack and how supportive are your loved ones in your passionate collecting and diverse interests?
My father had a dog when I was a child, so I learned very early on what loyalty and fidelity to these wonderful animals mean.
I believe that dogs (there are five currently living with us) are angels sent by God to protect us and I cannot imagine my life without them.
They are my faithful allies and knowing that they place their complete trust in me, I feel responsible for them. Just like a good pack leader would.
All this gives me a lot of energy but also support in my life as I live it. Luckily, my wife and family also have the same passions as me, so they support me 100% in everything I do.
And frankly, at the end of the day, that's my trump card for which I'm more grateful than anything else.
To be who I am, to do what I love, and to share it with my loved ones.
Just as Angelo loves them... Speedie with unique provenance from Peru Air Force*
Rare 1940s English Paratropper Shmock*
Vintage 1960s Donald Duck figures produced by Ledra*
In the middle of his showroom, which also carries loads of items form his collection*
Historical military clothing, vintage American clothes, unique watches and jewelry up to collectible toys and bags. Only an attempt to bundle the multitude of topics that define you as a collector. And each of these topics is in breathtaking scope and attention to detail and to complete entire historical contexts. Do you think you know where this passion and energy came from to finally fill out a huge warehouse with this kind of collectibles?
It all started by chance approximately 25 years ago when I began visiting my first antique markets around Europe with friends. Back then I already had a passion for watches and focused to look out for them in these markets. But it was the vibe and the experience around these markets which led me to think differently about the watches as I found way more around them:
How was the man or woman that used to own this watch dressed back then? Did they dress differently on certain occasions? When they were traveling, what kind of suitcases did they use? And their homes? With what kind of objects did they decorate their homes? And what about their kids? How did they dress them and what kind of toys did they play with?
All this stirred my great curiosity and always pushed me higher and deeper in my research to achieve more knowledge of various eras and cultures.
I see my own collector identity as some kind of wardrobe. A large closet where I store all my knowledge and if of necessary I open my wardrobe, I rummage inside and get dressed in what I need. And finally, this ended up in a warehouse full of unique items that I can literally step in and walk around comfortably.
A breathtaking selection of antique Native American silver jewelry*
Universal Geneve military tools signed A.Cairelli*
Rare antique Louis Vuitton Canvas Bag with early oversized multicolor V Logo*
As we can see, your range of collectibles is very broad. Of course, we are particularly interested in watches. In addition to the classic must-haves such as Rolex or Tudor sports models, over the years you have focused on chronographs and military watches from the middle of the last century. How did that happen?
Regarding watches, I was always a big fan of Chronographs. I was very fascinated by measuring time because engines and cars have always been my greatest passion.
Later, and with greater interest in the people's life behind their watches, I focussed on military watches. Watches that have been worn by soldiers on planes, in tanks in the trenches. I was fascinated by the unique and important role they played.
Last but not least I fell in love with Diver watches. Which turned into a real obsession, thinking about what depths they could achieve and the simple fact of being a real tool for the divers in their daily work fascinated me.
And I followed the rabbit hole even deeper to finally focus on brown dial variations. So-called Tropical dials, dials that changed their colors and look through the years and turned every watch into a real unique piece.
Some highlights from Angelos collection...
Eberhard Pre Extra-Fort Chronograph*
Rare Universal Geneve Wig Wag*
Oversized Lemania Monopusher with swivel lugs*
Art Deco Vintage_Longines_Doctors_Watch*
ZRC 300MT with Tropical dial*
Dodane Type 21 Chrono with super tropical dial*
Tropical Duo Rolex 1675 and Tudor 7928*
Awesome shot from a campaign shooting*
A great picture from one of the latest campaign shootings. We see you standing on a surfboard, but knowing you better we safe can say that you're the last one riding any trend waves. How do you feel when especially your little niche interest turns mainstream and more and more people suddenly like what they initially disliked?
If you ask my wife: "What kind of guy is your husband?" She always replies: "a special one!"
And in this short answer, there is a very precise interpretation of myself.
The people around me have always perceived me as a stranger.
Since my youth, I have always been particularly extroverted and my curiosity and love of experimentation have made me what I am.
An individual who is who he wants to be, who is at peace with himself but at the same time is different from others.
It's not about compulsively being different or consciously offending other people. But that's how I am.
I don't want to and can't please everyone, and that's a good thing for me.
I focus on the people who are on my wavelength.
And time usually proves me right, because those who in the past thought that what I bought and collected was just nonsense are now on the hunt for these now coveted and fashionable items themselves!
The great thing about our "I am Bulang."- series is the opportunity to create something for our customers with our guests. This time we were inspired by a pair of pants that we wear and love from Angelos label. His unique craftsmanship, extraordinary materials, and understanding of the needs of watch fans have led us and Angelo to a unique creation of three variants of a watch roll, which are inspired by the material mix of these trousers.
Please tell us something about the material and the manual labor behind this.
In particular, we focused on three features in this project:
First of all, it is the outer material used for the rolls. Only Japanese denim of the highest manufacturing quality with the well-known selvage hem was used.
Different variations of shades and compositions such as organic cotton and linen are the absolute seal of quality and at the same time, they guarantee a unique look.
The 2nd characteristic is the material used for the lining as well as the bands. I processed original vintage chambray fabric that was already used by the Italian Navy in the 70s and 80s. Combat shirts of the forces used to be made of exactly this fabric and it is characterized by its durability that is soft and comfortable at the same time
And last but not least, the most important thing is the made in Italy seal that makes these rolls so great.
Each one is hand-cut and sewn in our atelier by the skilled hands of specialized craftsmen.
And those who have read the interview carefully up to here, all three characteristics stand for what I do and what I am.
Dear Angelo, thank you so much for your time and especially for the great project on these watch rolls. See you soon in Parma...
If YOU like the watch rolls, just follow the link and you will find all details and extra pics in our shop
* All pictures courtesy of Angelo Gallamini Facebook & Instagram account