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When Christina DiPierro decided to move to Italy after college, she didn’t know she would have discovered there what later became her biggest passion and job: a love for Italian textiles and designs.
Christina, whose family is originally from Bari, is the founder of Adea, a fashion brand for underwear and under-layer apparel based in Massachusetts, but completely “Made in Italy.”
“I lived for many years in Italy, outside of Florence, and for a while I taught English at the Wall Street Institute,” she says.
“I started my company when I was still there, in 2001. I used to bring Italian fashion products at home to family and friends as a gift, and my mother once told me that they were beautiful, and I should have discovered more about them.
“So I started researching textiles — I was teaching English to many people traveling for the textile industry by the way — and I ended up finding this beautiful fabric.”
Christina shows me a camisole by Adea, made of a microfiber called Meryl — soft, machine washable, which breathes and doesn’t wrinkle. Very comfortable and extremely stretchy.
“This fabric is from North Italy, while our products are manufactured in Puglia. Back in 2001, we started with an handful of pieces — this camisole is one of the firsts.”
Through the years, Adea’s products evolved into a full collection of lingerie pieces and layering tops, with the recent additions of Italian jersey pants, dresses and skirts.
“Each season we bring new clothes trending for the following one. This fall, we will launch a collection with metallic sheens and richer colors.”
Adea’s items are sold primarily online, to American and international customers. “We sell mostly in the United States, but we have many costumers also in U.K., Canada and Australia.
“We decided to have our products manufactured in Italy because they’re so talented there, as I could test first hand when I was living in the country, and this results in the manufacturing of very high quality products. I think being “Made in Italy” gives us a huge advantage, and our costumers really appreciate that.”
Once a year, Christina and business partner Jackie Durkee go to Italy to meet with their manufactures. When they’re in the country, they can’t fail to notice that “Italian women dress up every time they go out, they really care to look nice, even when going to the supermarket. That makes us really appreciate the importance of how you look everyday, and not only in special occasions.
“In Italy women would more often invest in high quality pieces that will last… This is the philosophy behind our “everyday luxury” products. Our camisoles, for example, last for so long. You really get what you pay for.”
Christina lived in Italy for more than seven years, before deciding to permanently return to live in the United States, and she misses “Italian cheeses — she jokes — but she especially misses the way Italians interact.
“There is a personal intimacy among friends that here is not easy to find. In Italy, friends can sit around a table and talk and laugh for the entire night. It’s very jovial and fun. I miss that.”
Adea is involved in numerous charitable organizations and events. In support of breast cancer awareness month, each October the company donates 10% off all online proceeds to the OctoberWoman Foundation for breast cancer. Besides, each year Adea supports a team of athletes in the Greenway Challenge race, to promote recreational quality of life in the Blackstone River Valley in Central Massachusetts. And finally, the brand donates camisoles and tops to “Dress For Success”, whose mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women.