We caught up with local designer Marco Parascandalo, creative designer of the PARASCANDALO fashion brand. First debted in 2014, Marco’s take on street wear is unique, integrating aspects of Maltese culture, politics and environmental issues into his work

Are you self-taught or did you formally study fashion design?

I studied Art and Design at MCAST, where I worked with all sorts of media, including wood, stone, glass and ceramics. Obviously, my favourite lesson was textiles! It taught me the basics about fabrics and sewing techniques. I also studied, privately, pattern making and working in London as a fashion intern definitely helped a lot, too. I guess I can call myself a self-taught fashion designer.

Photo: Kurt Paris

How has Malta’s fashion industry developed in the past few years? Do you think Malta Fashion Week & Awards have helped you and other designers develop as artists?

Malta Fashion Week has helped us a great deal as local designers, giving us a platform to showcase our designs and helping us engage with both local and international customers. Over the last couple of years, the local fashion industry has evolved a lot and now, people are buying into our brands.

What would you say about fashion models, photographers and other designers, active in the scene in Malta today?

The level of professionalism has grown a great deal and the quality has improved. It’s very rewarding to see such change and to be a part of it.

Your debut collection SKANDLU was first shown at Malta Fashion Week, in 2014. How has the brand evolved since then?

Yes, five years ago I had just returned from my London experience. Over the years, PARASCANDALO has evolved dramatically: we launched our online store, we added women’s wear, we started a bags and accessory line and most recently, two shop in shops; one in Sliema at Lee’s Hairstylist and one in Zabbar at The Mad Tatter.

What’s the inspiration behind your latest collection, STAR? How did it come about?

In 2017, I launched the collection VANITY REBELS, which was focused on highlighting how social media has affected us. It’s portrayed in a vain, yet rebellious aesthetic. With STAR, we took the complete opposite approach, where the meaning of STAR was: Start To Acknowledge Reality. It was a message to bring us back to reality and help love the real you.

When you first started out, did you think you would get so far?

I was very ambitious, but at the same time scared that my first debut with Maltese slogans on a T-shirt would not be received well. It was a risk worth taking!

Photo: Kurt Paris

Which of your collections would you consider to be your favourite?

They all have a very meaningful place in my heart, because I design each and every collection to represent a part of my life. I source my inspiration from what surrounds me and what I’m going through.

What advice do you have for other local designers who are trying to make a name for themselves in the industry?

It’s very important to be original and design from the heart. At the same time, make sure you reach your target audience well and market your products effectively. As much as fashion is an art, it is also a business.Therefore, a mix of the two is crucial.

Where can people get their hands on some of your designs?

Website: Instagram: @parascandalo
Shops: Lee’s Hairstylist in Sliema and The Mad Tatter in Zabbar.

Photographer: Kurt Paris

Make up artist: Jennifer Dimech

Hair stylist: Hair Lee’s Hairstylist 

Models: Lara and Giulia (Supernova Model Management), Matthew Lanzon