Catalina Albertini is a Restoration Specialist.
How did you get into restoration? I got into restoration with this job actually. I was always on the design side of the business and found this other side of fashion and thought it would be a fresh progression for my career.
Before joining The Restory I was working in Argentina in a well-known Womenswear brand as a Fashion and Accessories Designer. After that, I moved to London to take the Fashion Artefact Masters (Accessories) at London College of Fashion. Since my background is in Fashion design - both academic and professional - I wanted to learn the craft of leather restoration and broaden my skills.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? Researching and developing new leather techniques in order to restore and extend the life cycle of new products with new materials is definitely the most rewarding part of my work. Also, the positive feedback from clients that appreciate the craft and are happy to receive their items in a better condition is always satisfying.
What is the most challenging? Each product, colour, type of leather and finisher is different from bag to bag. Managing unexpected leather or colour reactions is certainly the biggest challenge we face in the atelier, but again finding a solution is most rewarding. We receive many iconic bags that we have now mastered how to work on, however, there are always new designs with unexpected craft elements which poses different outcomes.
What advice would you give somebody that wants to learn the skill of restoring? Being knowledgeable about different materials, colour theory and how products are built and designed is a really good starting point. But I would just say to go for it! It is a skill that is constantly being developed so as long as you get started with testing, making mistakes and trying again, there is room to grow your skills. Start with an introduction to techniques and materials and then jump into testing your own items. Also, be ready to exercise your patience!
Describe a typical day: Working for a start-up there’s always new projects we can delve into but a typical day involves assessing, organising and restoring items scheduled for the week. I also spend a lot of time researching and sourcing new products, materials, hardware and fittings from all over the world.