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The Cagli Media Project
Institute for Education
in International Media
Andrew Ciofalo, Director

by Katie Koepfinger

Home to Roberto Cavalli, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, Italy is drenched in expensive name brands. But in one small corner of the country, a mild-mannered fashionista is sporting a style all her own.

Daniela Barzotti, founder, owner, and operator of a shop in Cagli called Kahdija, says she has been interested in the sort of bohemian-style clothing displayed across her storefront since she was a child.

A trip to India at the age of 24 inspired her to open the shop, which sells shoes, clothing, jewelry and other items imported mostly from India and Thailand.

As promised in its slogan, this store truly is “a little corner of the Orient.” Jewelry and scarves in a lavish array of colors adorn the walls, transporting visitors to a Middle Eastern world far from the cobblestone streets of Cagli.

Unique knick-knacks and figurines of mythical creatures sit crowded together on shelves stacked up to the ceiling. Tribal masks stare downward from every wall. Iridescent wind chimes jingle and clink. What may seem like clutter to some fits together perfectly to accent the brightly colored, handmade clothes that are the essence of this little shop.

"My clothes are timeless, not in and out with the fads,” Barzotti explains. With little concern for expensive name brands and popular designers, she has introduced Cagli to a different definition of fashion. Kahdija manages to bring international influences to a rather isolated small town.

“I am just happy to be able to keep the doors open,” says Barzotti. A native Cagliese, she now lives in a farmhouse on the outskirts of town with her husband and 7-year-old daughter.

For someone without a college degree, she considers herself to be lucky to be able to do something she enjoys so much. And after enduring 12 years of factory work, she truly appreciates her current, relaxed lifestyle in which she has much more time to spend with her daughter. But she didn’t just stumble upon this success by chance.

“At first it was very tough because my store targets a small group of young people,” says Barzotti.

For the first three or four years of its existence, Kahdija attracted only a very small group of unconventional Cagliesi. However, now the boutique thrives, offering an unusual shopping experience for a range of patrons.

A different look at Italian fashion

“Sometimes even older people, like women in their fifties, will come in looking for something out of the ordinary,” says Barzotti. Her clientele is about 80 percent women, but she does sell some clothes for men, and they can also buy ethnic masks or other home decorating items.

“People who wear my clothes are more open-minded and care more about the world around them,” says Barzotti. In its 12-year lifespan, the shop has attracted an eclectic group of consumers from all over the Marche region of Italy.

“It’s like a little Indian bazaar,” she says. “If you come in with one thing in mind, you’ll leave with ten because we have a little bit of everything. There’s something here for everyone.”

Photography by Lea Faminiano
Video by
Kate Lacey
Web design by Melissa Traynor