Cotone offers handmade Italian fashion on the Drag

Neha Aziz

Decorated with a beautiful French-Italian fusion and a touch of Texan flair, Cotone Clothing Boutique fills its walls with ornate signs in colors of rich purples and blues displaying expressions like “La Dolce Vita,” “When in Rome” and “From Italy with Love.” On the opposite side, there are signs that read “Texas” and “Longhorns” in burnt orange to blend in with the UT atmosphere.

“I did a lot of research, I was in Los Angeles for a few years and I wanted something new that was in a cool eclectic city with young people. I looked into the scene in Austin and found that it had this unique culture of bars, art and music incomparable to anything else,” owner Alex De Mola said.

Some businesses located on the Drag have suffered from a dwindling number of customers and high cost of rent. Notably, Wish Boutique shut its doors last summer. Opening a business in this area for most is very risky.

“I was confident with the students and the brand and what I wanted to pursue. I was scared a little by the location due to businesses closing down, but overall I was excited,” De Mola said.

Cotone, the Italian translation for cotton, opened in early August and sells handmade clothing from Italy with very few clothes made in the United States. The store has racks of off-the-shoulder tops, loose-fitting tanks, cable-knit sweaters and skirts. The clothing is unique in that all pieces are cotton-based and most are one-size-fits-all. Cotone also has an assortment of jewelry ranging from chunky to delicate bracelets and necklaces.

De Mola said his interest in fashion traces back to his grandmother, who worked as a seamstress in Milan and whom he spent time with while she worked. After his cousin got a job working for clothing designer Valentino, his interest in fashion increased.

De Mola’s wife, Morgan, who helps decorate the boutique, saw that local clothing styles were notably disparate.

“I noticed that there was this kind of style gap. I would see girls shop at either Forever 21 or Neimen Marcus. We wanted to find a medium between the two and give girls more options to shop. We wanted to fill this style gap with easygoing and trendy clothing,” Morgan De Mola said. “We come from Italy, but we are looking for American college girls who live their lives, experience style and most importantly feel comfortable with who they are.”