It didn't take Massimo Giorgetti very long to achieve global success with MSGM.
Part of an exciting generation of new Italian designers, he delivers an upbeat and inspiring message.
You have a commercial background and worked in sales before launching MSGM. How did it affect your perception of fashion?
In the second year of accounting school, when I was 16, I had already figured out it was the wrong thing for me. The math books and banking were a real nightmare. I waited impatiently for Saturdays to come and go to the newsstand to buy all the fashion magazines: Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, etc.. I wanted them all. And I read them all. The year after, I was asked to be a fit model and learned all the technical aspects in a few months, such as stitching for instance. Once I was done with my exams, I started out as a sales assistant in a close friend’s boutique. From retail, I moved into showroom sales. Two years later, I was already dealing with the problems and responsibilities that come with leading a product design department within a large fashion company.
You were young, but already had precious experience.
I had the chance with the Paoloni group to find people who believed in me from the start, and I was already managing two clothing lines at the age of 24. At that moment, I realized that maybe this was going to be my future. The MSGM adventure began in 2009. My past experiences helped me a lot: when I imagine our collections, I visualize them in the showroom first and then on the shop floor.
Italian fashion is fixated on names and the cult of the designer figure. Did you want to challenge this?
In Italy it is hard to become a successful young designer because there are still a lot of big and important family firms where the family members are taking care of the creative direction of the brands. For MSGM it was different, we built a new brand from scratch, and success came almost unexpectedly. I think that our label is the proof that something is changing, and that Milan is becoming more open, without losing its uniqueness.
Would you say your style is bold and optimistic?
If I had to choose one word to describe MSGM, I’d say “modern”!
How does your studio operate? Is it like a collective combining different talents?
Teamwork is essential to get the best results. It’s very important to have a team specialized in several design areas that can often surpass your own knowledge. Our creative team is made of 10 people who are all between 25 and 35. We're all curious of what the others do and quite close to each other; even though I think that now the time has come to have older people with more experience as part of our team.
Eclecticism, color and graphic contrasts are some of your trademarks. How would you summarize the essence of your brand?
MSGM is modern, cool, fresh and 100% Made in Italy. The brand is ironic and also colorful.
You launched MSGM in 2008 and social media has had a profound impact on the industry ever since. Are you hopeful about its future?
MSGM anticipated trends and offered something new to the market. In 2009, presenting a collection with psychedelic prints made digitally and in fluorescent shades was the secret to the brand's instant success. Right from the beginning we wanted to create a contemporary collection, which wasn’t something very common in Italy at the time, while communicating this directly, bearing in mind the impact social networks were having. I think the market was waiting for a product like ours; many young people were already getting more ideas from the Internet than from magazine pages. MSGM is made for a trendy audience that adores fashion but doesn't want to be slaves to designer labels. Every season, I want to offer them something new.
Do you try to control social media sometimes?
Recently we asked people not to post images on social networks during our show. The request was not compulsory, but we wanted to invite the audience to watch the fashion show with their own eyes. The decision was taken mainly as a commercial necessity: I wanted to support the stores that publish images of collections available to sell. A lot of clients go to the stores asking to buy outfits they just saw on the runway, which creates a lot of confusion. I wanted to try to 'clean it up' a bit.
What do men and women expect from fashion today? Products or stories?
I think they both want desirable pieces and well-made products that suit them. Buyers are more focused on stories behind the products now, so it’s key to work on these aspects.
Is there something you absolutely love about your job?
The most exciting part of my job is seeing real people on the street wear our brand.
You've talked about music as one of your cherished sources of inspiration. Which bands and artists are iconic to you?
Music has always influenced my clothes, starting from the band that inspired the name of our brand: MGMT. I like to think that my collections are a material interpretation of that sound: music for your eyes! My favorite artists are MGMT, Strokes, Blur, Radiohead, Oasis, Björk, Nirvana, Florence and The Machine. I listen to them constantly.
What makes MSGM an Italian brand?
I was born in Rimini and grew up by the sea, just like Federico Fellini who was a Rimini native and grew up there, too. The seaside landscape and its elements have always struck me as a child and teenage boy: umbrellas, stripes and bright colors. The very first MSGM collections were directly influenced by Italian culture, which is the culture I know best. It informs our silhouette, designs, business strategy and desires.
Did you really expect to be that big so fast?
We started MSGM as a joke, and the success was a surprise. I guess we came up with the right proposal at the right time.
Any hints for young designers starting out? What would be your best piece of advice?
Be humble, curious, and always stay focused on your own goals.