I have been in Italy for the last year working with 1000% Made In Italy small luxury brands. We all live the same frustration. Why do people buy into big brands like Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent? Where every woman is wearing the same bag mass-produced globally?

Why do women always gravitate to the same global Dior, Loui Vuitton and Gucci brands that are the same quality as the artisans?

jordan purple trainer Venice 2021

I have always wanted to stand out and not buy into luxury brands. It’s a tough choice not to be seen in top brands. But wearing a luxury brand does not mean you are rich.

Let’s face it. That is why we choose to wear posh brands. To show the world we are rich and unique. Those days are gone. Anyone can own an LV bag like above because they are made in the masses and can be bought on the fake market too.

In the world of Louis Vuitton, you will never get this on average. You are walking out with the same bag as everyone else.

Go Red Hiking Boot

Walking any cobblestone cities are harsh on one’s feet. Hence I created an Alta Moda pair of red hiking boots. To keep me on the GO without compromising my street style.

These GO red hiking boots are 100% Made In Italy in Tuscany. The journey to be part of these artisans way of creating is an experience that no luxury brand or fast fashion brand can offer.

fratelliborgioli.com Gracie Opulanza GO red hiking boots 2021 Made In Italy (2) fratelliborgioli.com Gracie Opulanza GO red hiking boots 2021 Made In Italy (2)

But in comparison to this bag below.

Handcrafted by Michele De Fina here in Venice. The Aragosta Bag.

Michele De Fina Venzia Rialto bridge 2021 leather orange bag made in Italy (1)

Artisans Frustration

I own a few bags from artisans in Italy in the last year. These artisans use to work for Gucci, Prada and Valentino to name a few. What I love about meeting them is they are honest about how the top brands made in Italy are all using the same, leather, resources and skills to get the luxury bag onto the market.


This hand-painted bag founder worked for one of the biggest household fashion brands in Italy. His knowledge is why he creates few bags and top quality minus the luxury brand price. It’s just as good as a Yves Saint Laurent bag, worth thousands. Most luxury leather bags come from Italy and made in Italy, using Italian leather.

This makes sense as Italy is one of the top countries in the world that still makes fashion, leather goods, Murano glass and homeware in Italy. It is their strength that many artisans have been reminded that they need to recapture and gain back the Chinese market.

One Thousand Percent Made In Italy

Talking to founder leather artisan Michele from luxury handbag designer Michele de Fina Venezia.  His handbags are in his own words.

1000% made in Italy.

From the leather to the zipper to the cloth. His challenge is to get the bags noticed outside Venice.

orange handbag

This bag is made using the same leather as top luxury brands we all know.

Aragosta Michele Da Fina Venice luxury leather one handle bag orange (2)

Micheledefina venezia Orange One hadle handbag Made in Italy (1)

There is nothing more rewarding than buying from a brand that you met the creator itself. Where Michele took the time and explained the made in Italy process. I know that Gucci makes some of its items in China. What a joke, lie and deceit to read this.

Micheledefina venezia Orange One hadle handbag Made in Italy (1)

Everything I am wearing here is made in Europe. The bag is 100% made in Italy. I know with his trademark I won’t be seeing it in the masses let alone in the fast fashion shops.

Micheleda fine leather printed bag made in italy.

This is a leather digital leather print and the bag is so unique and can be purchased as a made to order.

Artisans In Italy

It is very common to see individual artisans workshops throughout Lucca, Florence, Rome and Venice. As I write I can hear an artisan making curtain rods for hotels and individual shops. This is a rare find these days in other places around the world. Venice as I walk around I see jewellery being made out of Murano glass. The artists are lovely to watch and keep to teach and guide you in I want a bespoke item.

Gracie Opulanza crotchet dress wearin

This Murano item below is stunning and not created for the masses. Art during lockdown increased in value. But to be able to get a made in Italy and specifically to my taste is priceless in itself. This is why I encourage anyone to support the minority.

Murano Glass art butterfly venice italy (1)

Why Buy Bespoke

A jewellery maker yesterday was so frustrated. how can we convince people to buy from us as opposed to Gucci?

Our products are not catered to the masses and the buyer can get a niche item made specifically for them.

st marco square venice 2020 summer

This necklace is individually crafted and made to order. No two are the same. In the world of Dior, you will pay so much more and so much less love, time and care compared to the artisan here in Venice. This is sold on San Marco Square in Venice. The buying process is so much more exciting. As one works with the designer to create their own niche one-off jewellery.

Made In Italy - Luxury Brands Versus Artisans

Would you not prefer this buying experience as opposed to a bespoke item made from a luxury mass-produced brand.

Less Is More

Less is more is so hard to define and recapture what once was in the world of fashion. I see the same mass Chanel black bag everywhere I go. I always get noticed as I wear my own items that are small designers and most of the time not even online.


I am always quirky in my style and like to wear handmade accessories that define me. The below are all made by Nakibirango London.

NKb London gold plated acessories Gracie Opulanza Florence sitting on a wolf art.

This DROMI, the ring is my favourite to wear. I can wear it as a ring or a necklace. This ring makes me feel safe, secure and protected. A perfect gift idea for your loved one.


Souvenir For Life

Getting an individual item made in Italy is a great sustainable gift idea to myself or to someone else. For example, this Pucci print was bought by me and designed by Angela. I love it, people adore it. Yesterday in Venice I heard a lady talking about my Pucci outfit. That is why I inspire you to buy from individual designers.

Gracie Opulanza Pucci print playsuit venice 2021 vintage (2)

This outfit screams out, I am unique, niche and don’t support fast fashion. No one in Italy has this outfit let alone the globe. I know that because we designed the playsuit ourselves with a twist. It looks fabulous no matter where I wear it. Even exploring Tuscany in a classic car.

Leather Goods

I am a big fan of leather and I know it all comes down to personal choice.

For me wearing individual items from small designers is the real message of wealth, style and uniqueness.

Venice - Florian Coffee House 2021 Gracie Opulanza italy (2)

No one I know owns this bag. The reason why is it is a limited edition just made now. So for a long while, I am very niche and rare to be seen in this olive green bag. I certainly know the artisan who made very few. Less is more and mass production is a waste of resources. it is actually the very opposite of why artisans recreate items. They do it to express their individuality for themselves as well as the buyer.

Olive leather bag made in Italy Gracie Opulanza (2)

Made To Order Crochet

I know that I am the only one in the world that owns these two crotchet items. The reason I know that. I designed them and used a fabulous skilled artisan to create them for me. We chose the colour together. I walked in Dolce & Gabbana the other day wearing it. I knew they were eye it off and chatting about it. That is why I want to inspire you to support artisans. In this world of saturated fast fashion.

The real stylish icons are people that hunt and find individual items that no one else dares to wear.


Being an individual and not buying from Prada is tough. We all want to be seen in brands we all know and state our worth. But fashion was created by artists in the past who were all about individual design, not mass production where everyone is wearing the same ZARA top.

Don’t be fooled to think that buying Versace means you are buying quality.

The best quality items to date for me is artisans in Italy and vintage.

Yves Saint Laurent Vintage and 2021 collection

The bag on the left is 2021. The vintage bag is on the right is mine made in the 1980s. Which one do you think stands out from the masses?

Yves Saint Laurent Vintage bag Gracie Opulanza Venice