Throughout the twentieth century, the evolution of technology brought considerable ease and convenience into our lives. It flooded every sphere of knowledge, transforming our way of doing – and conceiving – industry, design, fashion and everyday living. Alongside major developments in the world of business, which has conquered and redefined its internal mechanisms thanks to technologies increasingly geared to shaping what is new, for some time now the business scene has veered towards the reappropriation of important (and today financially necessary) methodological tools which reinterpret the archaic in order to project it into contemporary networks.
In the field of fashion, the reinvention of new technologies is today a modus operandi for the repossession of ancient crafts, trade secrets, good taste and valuable skills. And this is exemplified by the recent manifesto put forward by three young Italian entrepreneurs (Stefano Sarti Cipriani, Silvano Minelli and Stefano Minelli), who not only highlight the importance of Made in Italy products in the world, but also outline a creative journey which gives a glimpse of a small Italian miracle, offering new jobs and focusing on concepts such as elegance, personality and uniqueness. FEB31st is actually a brand born to combine the specific technologies of ophthalmology with those of a design approach which is returning to attention to detail and the codes of exclusivity, refinement and preciosity. “The secret ingredient of FEB31is called ‘Flexy Soul’”, reveals Stefano Sarti Cipriani. “it’s an ultra-fine layer of resistant, flexible material which is inserted into a sandwich of 13 layers of FSC-certified wood. Once this has been pressed and finished by the FEB31st experts, the wood sandwich becomes extremely tough and allows us to make frames of minimal thickness, difficult to achieve even with acetate”.
With a range of exquisite frames in wood (including Kauri) – frames which inhabit the face, redesign it and transform it by the artifice of their presence, their shine, their elegant, seductive lines – FEB31st takes care of clients and environment alike. On the one hand the firm produces bespoke glasses, made to measure for individual faces – clients can choose not only the colour options, but also the calibre of the frame, the type of nose pad, the length of the arms or the acetate earpieces (“for a Cubist slant” it is even possible to “combine different coloured sections of wood, for visual deconstruction, either vertical or horizontal”, say FEB31st) – to fulfil the task of providing (and giving) work which is selective, accentuated and unparalleled. On the other hand, “FEB31st is truly eco-friendly”, the trio claim, “because it has identified a source of waste and eliminated it: there is no warehouse. The firm produces extremely fast, solely to order”. In terms of its maximum respect for our living environment, then, FEB31st is a 31 February miracle which marries engineering and mechanics to the know-how of intelligent craftspeople. And it achieves this by retracing the story of an accessory: eyeglasses (consider inevitably those worn by Petrarch or the round-framed spectacles, still cracked, that Gabriele D’Annunzio was never without during his exile in the shadows of the Vittoriale), glasses that travel through time, characterise us and never cease to accompany us on the fragile and restless journey we call life.