When we turn to the future, there’s a vast array of things Rocco is excited about. They’re planning to open up the basement of their studio as an archive/material library. He also might want to use the space for retail purposes in the future.
“Project wise, I'm working on courting more fashion houses to do sampling. Making an effort to steer the business into more consulting and sampling. And having a space that celebrates that is what's most exciting for me right now.”
They’re working on some merch for Korean popstar B.I. with a brand called Ojeito. “It’s been really fun. We embroider all kinds of stuff, but it's mainly sweatshirts and ball caps. So exploring their silhouettes and turning a pop star's branding into merch has been fun.”
When I ask Rocco his favorite thing about what he does, the answer flows naturally. “I think that's easy for me to answer. It's a skill that is the perfect blend of digital, mechanical, manual. It has a bunch of different components of a skill or a craft. It's still exciting to watch the thing sew, after you've meticulously sequenced your file and drawn the shapes and all, to see it come to life,” he says, and I can tell he means it.
I was curious to hear if Rocco and Arena have any intention of creating pieces of their own. “We don't have a brand, but we have fun,” he chuckles to me, before going on to tell me about an immensely silly project: a thread gilly suit they produced for an advertisement in a magazine called LILY PAD, helmed by Bergen Hendrickson, an artist in the Arena Embroidery universe.