Style - Gear - Life & Work Balance - People - Goods

Alex Feriotto: «Milano System follows you anywhere»

By Marco Cresci
8 min read
alex feriotto

The Milano System modular backpack is a cutting edge novelty created by Alex Feriotto and a young start-up completely Made in Italy: Modula Milano. All-Italian quality, innovation and excellence come together in a one-of-a-kind accessory.

You can support this project on Kickstarter and book your backpack before everyone else. Click here.

Milano System is the backpack that follows you anywhere. We interviewed Alex Feriotto, co-founder of Modula Milano, who takes care of the creative part and product development. You will have the chance to get to know the work of these talented young people more closely.

How was Modula Milano born?

Alex Feriotto: «Modula Milano was born about a year and a half ago as our latest achievement. We previously worked together for another company. We made consumer electronics products related to smartphones, including a smart backpack. During the last fair we attended, we perceived that the most appreciated product was the smart backpack; that is a backpack with special features such as the USB socket to recharge other devices, etc. etc. So, we decided to verticalize production by focusing on the backpack world. However, focus exclusively on the smart backpack felt like a constrain».

You can support this project on Kickstarter and book your backpack before everyone else. Click here.

We had developed the idea of creating a modular backpack and, therefore, also more flexible over time and attractive to a wider audience. Before, we used to design the products in Italy and produced them in China. The follow up was therefore very complicated. We have tried to make our life easier, we said to ourselves: ‘We are a start-up made up of a few people; we don’t have a production site in China: why don’t we try to bring it all closer? With Italian or, at least, European suppliers and manufacturers?’. This is how we had the idea of diversifying and detaching this project from the previous experience and, therefore, from electronics.

We decided to open a new start-up that dealt with modular backpacks in a definite and vertical way. To be more specific it would be better to talk about modular bags in general, because we will also produce other types of products in the future. Modula was born this way, producing flexible modular backpacks made and designed in Italy.

Alex Feriotto

What’s more is that we tried to find a slightly more innovative and different target audience than that before, which consisted of electronics enthusiast only. We have decided to continue with the digital world because it is a very widespread and contemporary concept. We have, however, focused on the digital nomad target; being a modular and therefore flexible product, perfect for certain types of works and lifestyles. So, Italian design and an almost completely Made in Italy product; with 90% Italian suppliers and 10% European ones. We wanted to have a tight control and therefore an ever greater quality in all phases of development and production. A guarantee towards the end user. We must always differentiate between convenient sustainability and the actual one.

Tell me about the team behind Modula Milano.

Alex Feriotto: «I mainly deal with the creative part and product development; then I have two partners, Dario Ruggeri who is the director of the company and Nino Colnaghi who is not operational. We are a start-up made up of young people, around 30/35 years of age: Jonathan Sebastian Pinotti, Product Manager; Nevena Pavloska, Marketing Manager; Gaia Venuti, Administration Manager; Beatrice Cavalli, Junior Designer; Chiara Penasa: Marketing Assistant. We are an Italian but multicultural team, made up of people who come from different parts of the world: Thailand, Macedonia and Uruguay; a team made up mostly of women, among other things. We also availed ourselves of the support of professionals such as Salvo Testa, the strategist with whom we structured the project».

Was it difficult to work during the pandemic?

Alex Feriotto: «It’s safe to say that it was an aruous task! Creating all this, from the team to the choice of suppliers, was a real challenge. Developing such a complex project, consisting of a basic backpack plus 5 other products without an already tested and proven chain of collaborators was tough. The whole team really worked hard».

How is Milano System sold? What is the starter pack?

Alex Feriotto: «Our target is the digital nomad. For the first Milano System collection we dedicated ourselves to its subculture, or rather to the urban digital nomad. The collection is aimed at that digital nomads who live their days always carrying their devices with them, constantly moving; for business or pleasure. The Milano System collection’s target audience ranges from 25 to 45 years of age. From the young graduate upwards, without a real limit. Being an urban digital nomad is a lifestyle».

alex feriotto

You can support this project on Kickstarter and book your backpack before everyone else. Click here.

Why Milano System?

Alex Feriotto: «Because we don’t like to talk about the collection but about the system. It is a systemic concept, where everything contributes to creating a unique product. The starting point is the backpack. Milano Backpack, in fact, is the crucial element to be able to start the modular system of the entire collection.

Our backpack can currently be completed with four other modules. The Milano Laptop Organizer is a kind of portable desk/sleeve. An element that allows you to organize any type of digital device internally. It is the first module we have created and it is the one that users like the most. The other 3 modules, on the other hand, characterize the inside of the backpack.

The first is the Milano Anchor, which is really functional; it is used to anchor to the other modules by means of highly performing magnetic hooks. Milano Everyday Block and Milano Packing Block are the first half of the latter. These are the first two bags we have developed, and can be anchored to Milan Anchor. This is our starting point, but our project is conceived in the making. On the go, like the urban digital nomads, in fact. We have other modules in mind that could see the light by July and three new color variations for September».

alex feriotto

Your product is openly genderless, how will it develop in this respect?

Alex Feriotto: «It will go on being like that. We started with total black. As for the new color variants, however, I can tell you that a couple will wink at the male world and the other two at the female one. However, these four color variations can be purchased by both male and female customers, because they do not have specific features; they are sober, minimal and gender free. We turn to urban digital nomads, as I said, we are not interested in sex, we are interested in lifestyle».

Let’s talk about materials: what is Milano System made of and how important is sustainability for your project?

Alex Feriotto: «We carried out a market research at a European level with a very large sample. It helped us understand people’s needs and expectations towards the modular backpack concept. It is actually something innovative, which people are not accustomed to, because it is not a common object. Several points emerged from this research; more technical, therefore related to materials, including the need to create a very light, super resistant, and flexible backpack; able to contain different moments in the life of the end user.

We usually have a backpack for work and a bag for free time and we tend to keep them separate. Milano System is a backpack that combines work and free time. Passions and work together, on the shoulders, during the day; meeting the different needs of each urban digital nomad.

alex feriotto

We didn’t resort to sustainable materials because we do not follow the trends of the moment, such as nylon made of recycled plastic bottles, for example. We did a research with the creators of these yarns and we were given a very clear answer: ‘If you want performance, you have to focus on new materials; if you want to follow the global marketing wave, then you should use these recycled materials.’ It should also be taken into account that the processes to create these eco-sustainable materials are not always so clear.

You can support this project on Kickstarter and book your backpack before everyone else. Click here.

Therefore, we have avoided eco-sustainable materials in favor of innovative ones; with an eye to the latest frontiers of technical materials, such as nylon, padding, polyurethane, polyethylene foam. We are talking about materials derived from oil, it is true, but they are processed with the technologies and quality of 2021. Therefore, we have very controlled processes that must comply with all Italian and European regulations. We are surrounded by suppliers who adopt the concept of active sustainability.

Our philosophy is not to resort to eco-sustainable materials, but to be actively sustainable; therefore, turning only to certified suppliers.

Our materials are highly performing. That’s because the intention is to have a single product that lasts over time; working on modules is a productive and active approach that goes against waste. Milano System is a potentially eternal backpack and, therefore, sustainable in its very being».

alex feriotto

Which lack will Modula make up for in the world of backpacks?

Alex Feriotto: «Milano System is a backpack that has a business taste in terms of design. It is elegant, simple and minimal in shape, but it combines the technological and performing aspects that the business world usually does not have, but aspires to have. We tried to fill that empty space of the market».

You can support this project on Kickstarter and book your backpack before everyone else. Click here.

8 min read


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