Sustainable fashion brand Gaâla appoints their newest Creative Director

French fashion brand Gaâla, is known for its classic pieces and focus on sustainability. Meshing the owner’s French and Belarusian backgrounds to create items that are timeless and one of a kind, each product is a labour of love that aids their founding principle of being environmentally conscious and practical.

We had the opportunity to speak to their newest named Creative Director: Paola Cossentino. An

Italian lifestyle photographer and content creator, Paola has 195k followers and a desire to merge her two loves: fashion and film. Have a read of our interview below.

Paola in the Noelle dress (£225)

S: How did you get your start in content creation and photography?

P: I grew up in beautiful Sicily – a place where time seems to have stopped and where space seems to have a soul of its own. This raw and ancient beauty I was surrounded by started to form my vision of beauty. From a young age I felt the need to capture all this beauty, in the intent of making it eternal. This then led me to start taking photographs. I knew I wanted to work in an industry that shared beauty with people, so I decided to study communication, media and advertising at IULM university in Milan where I’m currently based.

S; You’ve cited auteur cinema as one of your biggest inspirations, how do you incorporate your passion for cinema in your work?

P: As a teenager I really got into auteur cinema and the visual arts. My biggest dream was (and still is) to direct my own movie. For Gaâla’s new pieces we created a cinematic shoot that I hope people can see was inspired by the 60s films from the “nouvelle vague”.

S: Where do you get your style inspiration from?

 P: I watch a lot of movies from the 60s. I love the glamour and timelessness of the fashion in these classic films. I also trawl vintage markets to spark style inspiration. My favourite places are Milan, Venice,Sicily and Paris.

Paola in the Lena blouse (£154) & Isabelle pants (£117)

S: How do you manage being sustainable as a fashion content creator?

P: In the past I saw sustainability as an “extra” quality, now it is one of the most important questions I ask myself before deciding to collaborate with a brand. I will also only accept gifts if I know that I will wear them for years to come- I don’t want to advocate throw away fashion.

S: What three principles matter the most to you when collaborating with brands?

P: I look for uniqueness, quality, a timeless design and more and more a sustainable approach to the production of a brand. I will also always choose to collaborate with a brand with which I can identify. There must be a personal connection there.

S: You have so many creative outlets like painting, photography, filmmaking etc. What do you want people to gain when they experience your work?

P: I want people to feel, to find themselves or to get lost in a different reality. I want to touch their most intimate memory and the most restless one. I want them to doubt. I want my work to be “the axe in the frozen sea within us”, as Fakfa said.

S: How did the appointment as Creative Director of Gaâla come about?

P: Kelly, the founder of Gaâla, believed in my creativity from the moment she discovered me. After our first collaboration on Instagram, she proposed that I directed their next shoot and that I joined the team as the Creative Director.

Paola in the Rebecca dress (£162)

S: What creative processes do you undertake when preparing for a shoot or campaign? 

P: Ansel Adams perfectly expressed my creative process, “You don’t take a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved”. I have a very holistic approach to creativity, which I think creates more rounded and emotive campaigns.

S: As an Italian woman now working for a French-Belarusian brand, how do you represent all cultures and styles in your work?

P: My vision is imbued with Italian aesthetics and culture, but I was always fascinated by different cultures than my own, especially the French one.

S: What are your favourite pieces from the new collection?

P: The Monroe dress in red and the Paola coat in rust. The perfect feminine and cinematic look for autumn.

S: How do you think the fashion industry can work towards being more environmentally conscious?

P: Minimizing the waste of energy and fabric.

S: What can we expect from your role as Creative Director as Gaâla?

P: I hope that people can see that I love a sophisticated, and classic style with a twist for future campaigns. I would love for people to be inspired by the endless ways you can style Gaâla’s clothing. I think Gaâla’s offering is so versatile; take the Gaâla Monroe silky dress, for example: for the day-time pair it with the Bénédicte Trench Coat and for the evening mix it up by adding a blazer, a red lip and a pair of vintage gold hoops.

Paola in the black Monroe dress (£207)
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