Though its polished branding and esoteric sobriquet may suggest otherwise, Rome-based bespoke men’s accessories specialist Huitcinq 1988 is, says founder Federico De Peppo, “a one-man band — I’m not only the craftsman, but also the designer, the photographer, the PR, everything.” Launched by the couture-trained De Peppo in 2014, this artisanal producer of finely crafted bags, wallets, card holders, ties, iPhone cases and watch straps (all hewn from carefully selected, top-quality cloth, leathers and exotic hides, and all handmade by De Peppo) primarily focuses on bespoke commissions, with a small selection of ready-made items sold via Huitcinq 1988’s own website, two highly respected Roman storefronts (Sartoria Ripense and Cruciani & Bella) — and, we’re proud to say, through The Rake. Here, De Peppo discusses his motivations in creating the Huitcinq 1988 brand, his inspirations as a craftsman, and explains why his products are truly a cut above.
Why did you decide to launch Huitcinq 1988, and what prompted you to concentrate on small leathergoods and accessories?
I didn’t really decide from one day to another to launch Huitcinq 1988, it was more of a natural step on my creative path. I started designing women’s bags in 2011, but I often felt unsatisfied and frustrated dealing with shop owners and clients. Plus, I couldn’t find artisans able to make my accessories with the precision and attention to detail I requested. So I started studying how to make them by myself. Not an easy task, but fortunately I have good manual skills and an haute-couture background. Then I understood it was easier and more satisfying for me to design and create something I could wear, too — classy everyday essentials with a luxury twist, made from precious leathers and most importantly, totally handcrafted from A to Z by me. And that’s when Huitcinq 1988 was born.
What has been the greatest lesson — not necessarily of a technical nature — that you’ve learnt on your journey as a craftsman?
As a craftsman I learn a lot of lessons every day, and they’re all technical. It’s a non-stop learning process, I think that there’s always a greater lesson to learn tomorrow. However, since Huitcinq 1988 is only me, I’ve had to learn how to interact with clients, with technical suppliers who are unable to respect deadlines, shop owners who always want to pay less and so on. And all that resulted in strengthening my patience and zen approach to everything. So I feel that this is the great lesson or gift this experience gave me.