Maybe you haven't heard her name before, but that's probably the way she likes it. Still, Cara Campagnoli has had a hand in some of the most daring, covetable knitwear to come off the runways in recent years. Whether she’s working for TSE, Alexander Wang, or Calvin Klein, she creates something stirring and unique — a design sensibility that could almost be likened to outsider art.
Instead of hewing to the stylish and successful, Campagnoli helps fashion brands take gambles, looking to the abandoned, unsung, and downright tacky for inspiration. Some of the pieces that she’s assisted with create the illusion that they’re about to fall apart. Others harken back to styles the mainstream would rather forget. But, perhaps most notable is the fact that she’s able to do it all within someone else’s vision. The ability to execute a brand’s aesthetic and push the envelope of knitwear? No wonder designers love her.
How I’m changing the game
“I’m constantly looking for things to put into new contexts. They could be things that aren’t out in the market or ideas that have been discarded. I love taking something that’s considered tacky or unappealing and reinventing it into something new and appealing. It even carries over to my material choices — like chenille!”
The biggest challenge I've ever faced
“As a designer, you’re constantly put in a decision-making process where you have endless possibilities. There’s always a different design option. To move forward, you really have to remain confident about whatever direction you’re taking.”
The biggest risk I’ve ever taken
“Obviously, moving to New York without a job is pretty risky. I was in New York a year before I got a job working at TSE. Before that, it was pretty tough — just a patchwork of odd jobs to put together some sort of income. But, viewing it as a challenge, making up my mind that it was something I had is what enabled me to stick it out. Oh, and honestly, I think I wanted to prove something to my parents.”
When I feel most glamorous
“When I’m wearing something I’ve had a hand in making, something I’m proud of.”
Alexander Wang Sweater; The Row Navy Trouser; Dries van Noten Black Buckle Shoes; Jewelry, Campagnoli's own.
Hair by Bethany Brill; Makeup by Ashleigh Ciucci; Styled by Laura Pritchard