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For our latest resident spotlight, Eat Work Art chat to vintage fashion curator Gennaro Boccia, founder of PEZZE, to hear more about his Hackney Downs Studios shop-front, Italian roots, and what's to come in 2023.

pezze portrait

First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how Pezze first came about?

I moved to London from Italy when I was 19 years old back in 2011 and started to work in a shop on Brick Lane. A few years further down the line I was managing the place and going on buying trips abroad. I used to give 100% to the shop to the point that I started to think; why not put the same amount of energy into my own project?

So in 2018 I started PEZZE. First online, then I opened the first shop by London Bridge, Vinegar Yard which is still there now. In 2020 I moved back to Italy and opened another PEZZE on the outskirts of Napoli.

PEZZE when translated to English means “Rags” and is the name used in Neapolitan to identify second-hand clothing. The PEZZE logo symbolises the shipping container through which most second-hand clothes are moved around the world.

The combination of the name and logo were part of a process that strengthened my thought of representing clothes in their raw state. No label makes one better than the other, they are all PEZZE after all.

pezze logo

What sparked your love of vintage clothing?

My family has a 6th generation retail history so I've pretty much grown up around clothes. My great grandpa's shop is a tailoring institution in my hometown and my dad had a boutique shop that used to stock designers back in the 80s up until 2015.

I started to sell my dad's dead-stock jeans to my school friends when I was a teenager, then when he ran out of them I started to hang at the second hand market in my hometown. I was not only buying jeans but I started to familiarise myself with fabrics zippers and other details that made clothes from the past so interesting to me.

I started to really get into military and workwear - functional clothes. When buying, I always ask myself questions such as why a certain fabric has been used or why a patch where placed in a certain area of garment.

pezze 3

Having launched your Hackney Downs Studios shopfront back in November - what brought you to the area?

My family has been dressing up people from my hometown for almost a century, and when I moved back to Naples to open my shop I realised how nice it is to see the very same clothes that I personally sourced on people in my neighbourhood.

I want to do the same thing here and I believe that Hackney Downs Studios has the right community vibes which are very hard to find in a big city such as London. Since I opened the shop in November I've made so many friends - fashion victims, vintage heads, dads with strollers, dog sitters and other HDS members.

I believe that in order to be accepted and recognised in a community you have to give something to the latter. I try to stock up PEZZE every Friday with new gems and be very reasonable with what I offer. I am already starting to see my outfits when I walk around Hackney Downs so I think I consider that a success so far!

pezze shop

Join PEZZE for an evening of DJs, free drinks and a brand new collection launch / Friday 23rd February / 6-10pm @ Hackney Downs Studios.

Keep up with more Hackney Downs Studios residents here.

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