The pandemic, it turns out, was the pause that Atelier & Repairs co-founder Maurizio Donadi needed in order to begin to convert his collection of more than 8,000 garments into an e-commerce trove of vintage gems—inventory, photography, product descriptions and all.
The result is Transnomadica, an online marketplace for vintage, used and archival pieces from denim, military, sports, fashion and iconic 20th century styles.
The business venture is in line with Donadi’s mission to reduce excess garments and to extend the lifecycle of textiles. It is also indicative of how he is applying his more than 30 years of fashion industry experience to help revive upcycling and vintage for a millennial audience. With Atelier & Repairs, Donadi transforms leftover stock into new styles. Transnomadica, however, is about presenting vintage and archival styles in their original state without any alterations unless done by the previous owner.
“In continuing in my search for the most responsible business practices, I see recycling as a natural step,” he said. “My experience with global brands has allowed me to see that good design is engineering solutions with beauty.” Transnomadica, he added, “provides a stage for objects that are beautiful and well-made” and have acquired more value over time.
Early Evis jeans before the brand became Evisu and pairs of rare Levi’s 501 jeans from the 1920s and 1930s are among the denim treasures shoppers will find on the Transnomadica website. The selection also includes styles from iconic American brands like Ralph Lauren (pre-1993), early Gap, Filson, Eddie Bauer, L.L. Bean and more, as well as a curated range of military jackets.
While many of the garments do not satisfy Donadi’s definition of vintage—garments that predate 1979—styles from small Japanese brands produced in limited quantities will be the “future of vintage,” he said.
While Donadi describes curating the selection as a complicated, humbling and fun exercise—and at times admittedly nightmarish—the experience, he added, sums up the highs and lows of shopping for vintage.
“The beauty of selecting and shopping vintage is that it’s an emotional journey,” Donadi said. “Finding that item or object you love that happens to be in the right size can be a tricky task.”