We sat down with Federica Potenza, a self-professed traveller (she is Italian but has grown up in Switzerland), creative and aesthete. Though she has a keen interest in fashion and photography, Federica is not your conventional admirer of fashion. Instead, she aims to discover her own style by observing her environment, gathering inspiration from travelling, art, architecture and/or intriguing individuals around her. Whilst managing her Liberal Arts degree at King’s College, she also juggles two jobs at a shop on Savile Row and Abercrombie & Fitch and is a photographer for the King’s College London Fashion Society.
What’s your ideal Friday night out?
I’m not exactly the classic ‘clubbing’ kind of person. Depending on the weather, I would rather gather my closest friends together, order takeaway and drink Baileys’ milkshakes, or have a BBQ at the lakeside of my hometown, with music, fire and cold beer. I absolutely love dancing, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t really care where I dance the night away as long as I’m with the right people. The Cuban club in Camden is always a good laugh, and so is Bussey Building in Peckham, although I have had some great nights in Mahiki, too. If I end up clubbing, a fun cab ride home or a cup of tea with my friends before bed are an absolute must.
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A hooded, black leather onesie – definitely.
What’s the most precious/sentimental thing in your wardrobe?
My grandmother’s engagement gifts – they’re all classics.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Everyone is fighting a tough battle you know nothing about; be kind, always.”
What’s your guilty pleasure?
There’s definitely not enough space here for that!
If you could be successful in any other profession, what would it be?
I would love to be abel to save lives. From my perspective, being a doctor is one of the most honourable professions. Apart from that, I’ve always wanted to become a successful Egyptologist, but that was before my creative vein took over.
Tell us the most surprising thing that people may not know about you:
People are always surprised when they realise how sensitive I am. I cry when I watch movies, always, even during comedies. If it’s not the story that makes me cry, the soundtrack most certainly will. This is one of the reasons why my best friends refuse to take me to the cinema, and if they do, they make sure we’re sitting in the back!
Have you always had an interest in fashion?
Not at all. When I was a child, I actually rejected anything related to fashion. I started to develop a strong sense for aesthetics at a very young age, always following my own style. I remember driving my mother crazy sometimes! She always knew the trends of each season (she still does), whereas I’ve genuinely never cared. I’ve never bought a fashion magazine, and you will probably never see me carrying one. To me, fashion is synonymous with perception and experience. You won’t be able to read fashion off of a magazine, since you need to see it, discuss it, feel it. Fashion is something you are confronted with when you observe street style, or disagree on colours, shapes and/or emerging brands. To me, fashion is all about the individual and the reflection of the innermost workings. It has been part of my identity for as long as I can remember.
You’re studying Liberal Arts, but most of your Instagram feed is architecture, but you also like fashion, so is that just a separate interest, or is it something you want to get into?
Yes, that’s true. However, there is a common denominator, and that’s my passion for aesthetics. My feed is not aimed at architecture or fashion per se, but rather it tries to capture the perfect composition, the perfect lighting, colours or the balance of silence and vibrancy. My idea of aesthetics is always related to the beauty of/in the moment, the juxtaposition of past-present-future, or in other words, the timelessness of time. Liberal Arts is the perfect course for that, since it equips me with all the skills needed to read my environment as thoroughly as possible in search of universal beauty and balance. To me, architecture and fashion are hardly distinguishable, and I’d love to pursue both in the future.
Describe your style in three words:
Edgy, semi-glam but totally dark avant-garde?
What emoji are you?
The mushroom. Don’t ask, it’s strictly flatmate banter.
Who, dead or alive, would you most like to have dinner with?
God or Alexander McQueen, though they might be one and the same person, actually. Either way, I’ve got some issues that need discussing.
What interests you most about fashion?
I’m mostly interested in the creative and ingenious minds behind the industry. It’s fascinating to see how rapidly fashion changes, and yet we’re still able to recognise designers’ signatures. Their work is timeless. Keeping your own identity in a world that changes day by day already seems like quite a challenge, but creating a whole new identity and convincing people to copy/share/wear it? That’s a mystery and the most fascinating part for me.
Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck?
100 duck sized horses!
Would you rather walk around fashion week in a black bin liner and have everyone think you’re serious, or delete your Instagram?
Black bin liner for sure! Are you kidding?! How great would that be?! I’d love to see their faces…thanks for the idea, I think I’ll give it a go next season.
What is the staple item in your wardrobe right now?
My vintage fringed black floral-patterned velvet kimono.
What are your aims and goals for 2016?
I definitely want to become a better human everyday. I’d like to figure out my next academic/career step, travel and make my friends and family proud and happy. Apart from that, I really need to start going to the gym more regularly and get better at replying to text messages.