NICOLA FORMICHETTI FOR WETHEURBAN 6: THE FORMICHETTI FORMULA
*Photography: Kevin Amato
WeTheUrban Issue 6 has officially landed! Check out the full issue online here.
In this exclusive interview (with Rachel Schwartzmann), creative mogul Nicola Formichetti discusses his inspiration, projects and successes and shares his advice for the next generation of innovators looking to break into the enticing world of fashion:
Can you tell us a bit about your artistic endeavors?
I haven’t actually stopped and thought about it, you know for me it’s always a continuation of one project to another… So I don’t even have time to think about it. Also I don’t really like to analyze anything, for me I just like to go with the flow, and with so many deadlines I have to fill, and so many ideas I have to come up with, I’m just like “Aahhh!” So no, the only time I can think like that is when I sit down like now and have to think about it. I don’t really like to think about it that much.
What is the first word, image or idea that comes to mind when you hear the word, “inspiration?” Have you found that overtime what inspires you has changed?
It comes when I’m not thinking about it, and when I’m trying to force myself to think about something it never comes… So I always let my mind wander, and when you’re not trying you know that you’ve got it. It’s interesting because I’ve been thinking about how creativity works and where it comes from and I’ve found that basically what I’ve been doing since I was little is daydreaming— Just kind of looking at anything. Yeah, that’s my inspiration and from it I can let myself go.
What is your earliest fashion memory?
My mom was very glamourous in my eyes. She’s Japanese, and we lived in Italy, so she was the first one to introduce me to clothing and shopping. I used to go with her to the Italian boutiques like Armani and Versace and she was also the one who introduced me to Italian Vogue. It’s funny, my dad always thought my mom and I were crazy spending all of this money on clothes!
Fashion is becoming the new “it” career, what advice do you have for those looking to attain “the fashion dream?”
I really encourage everyone to work in a store, that’s where I learned everything and met everyone. You work firsthand with clothing, do the windows and interact with customers and I think that for me personally, that environment really allowed me to enter the core of the fashion community. School is also very very important, and it’s where you get to meet other people like you and communicate. [Also] just keep in mind, if you’re into becoming just famous, fashion is not the place— It’s the wrong way to go about that sort of thing. I never wanted to be famous or anything, I just wanted to be behind the scenes - that was something that really never crossed my mind. People recognize me on the streets and it’s so weird! But I of course I try to be nice to everyone, because those people who come up to me - I was once like them.
Things aren’t always fun, it’s hard - We don’t sleep, it’s hardcore but we do it because we love it and are passionate. [If you have doubts] I think it’s better to do it, than to not, so if you’re unsure just do it. It’s important to not think in one day you’ll become really really famous. It’s not really about success, I enjoy doing it- if I wasn’t famous, I’d still be doing what I do. I’d be doing what you’re doing now, I’d be putting myself and my work out there.
How have you made your dreams into realities? Did you intern anywhere- what was your first fashion job?
I knew I wanted to be doing something with fashion, I just didn’t know what. I’m kind of a late starter, I went to study architecture, but I didn’t really like it that much, so then I just went clubbing for three years and I realized I had to start really working in a store to pay for rent and the necessities. I was about twenty two years old when I got my first retail job as I said before and that’s how I went into a fashion environment. I met so many people that I identified with style-wise, and they were like “Yeah you look cool too.” So meeting those people opened up opportunities, like beginning work with Dazed & Confused - that’s really how I got into the magazine world.
I mean honestly I didn’t know what I was doing. I wanted to look cool and meet other people who liked clothing and style, I think you just have to be passionate about it. For the first few years I didn’t make any money and I didn’t really care and I just needed money to buy the basics, but I would do it again because it was so much fun, we were just creating and making fun things with friends.
We now live in a digital age, where ultimately everything is a click away. Do you think this accessibility has changed the way people perceive fashion? The internet and fashion have become integral, does technology serve as an appropriate medium for self-expression?
I’m obsessed with digital anything, for me it’s my only way to progress and I completely embrace it. I think it’s changed everything, and we just need to go for it. It’s about communication, I don’t believe print is going to die, but digitally you’re able to have a different experience. I think there are so many possibilities, and things we weren’t able to do before all of this. You know if you look at fashion shows [and technology] for example, there are live-streams and some people argue that enabling that is not keeping the mystique or exclusivity. But I’m always very open and I’d love for everyone to have front row seats! I mean for the first MUGLER show I did everything live: Backstage, before the show and even two days before and live-streaming the showroom fittings— everything and the response was incredible. I was asking the viewers their opinions and I felt like I had millions of stylists with me!