Fia is sitting in her favorite Little Havana restaurant in the heart of her adopted hometown of Miami, attempting to encapsulate her wildly peripatetic past. "Dramatic, unpredictable, often crazy."
Fia's deliciously irreverent sense of humor and intensity of personality is never far from the surface - it's easy to believe she once sported fuchsia colored hair and pieced her own nose (twice!) with a handy safety pin. "I'm just as free-spirited today as ever," Fia contends. "My design approach may be more refined, but I never fail to express myself as unreservedly as I have in the past."
This up-and-coming handbag designer, and the label she runs, goes by the diminutive of her given name, Fiammetta, literally "little flame" in her native Italian.
After spending years designing accessories for private label brands, Fia felt compelled to break free and launch a line of handbags that captures the irrepressible spirit of fearlessly independent women everywhere.
She's come a long way from her past as a rebellious teen. At age fifteen, she opened fire with an M-16 in the Middle East during a grueling week of training alongside an Israeli army unit, a wholly unexpected part of a youth camp excursion to the frequently volatile region. "My father, who had suddenly converted to Judaism, sent me to Jerusalem as a sort of disciplinary measure," explains Fia, chuckling in bemused disbelief at the memory. "And really, what better way to tame a rebellious teen than to send her to a foreign land where she learns to shoot an automatic assault rifle?"
Many adventures followed, and saw Fia self-publishing a fanzine in Madison, WI, playing bass in a San Francisco punk band, modeling and acting in Manhattan and residing for a time in Texas near the Mexican border. But amidst the chaos of this period, one aspect of Fia's life took clear shape - a love for fashion design dating to her childhood in Northern Italy now became the sole focus of her abundant creative energy.
Upon returning to South Florida, Fia would, quite characteristically, dive headlong into the fashion business using the breathtaking diversity of her life experience as a bottomless reservoir of inspiration. "I'm endlessly fascinated by life's dichotomies, "Fia admits.
Today, with over a decade's worth of comprehensive industry work experience at her disposal, she begins the most exciting chapter of her story, the establishment of her very own design label.