Stefano Guerrini – when fashion meets the soul

There are some people you meet along the way that leave a strong impression on you, and it seems that they will always have a place somewhere in your heart. This is for us one of our ex-teachers.

by Lucio Aru
by Lucio Aru

His name is Stefano Guerrini and from the first moment we met him we were fascinated by him and his passions that he easily transferred on to his students. He has taught us a lot about fashion magazines, people in fashion, but the most important thing is that he taught us that you can be in fashion and still be modest and humble.

He is  fashion stylist, fashion editor, teacher but most of all a wonderful human being.

We had the opportunity to ask him some questions and the answers just reminded us of why we love him. So take a coffee, pull a chair and start being fascinated. It’s worth it, we promise!

 

  • You have a rather interesting background for someone who works in the fashion industry; would you care to tell us more about it?

I studied medicine. It was something I always said I wanted to do and when I approached university I haven’t yet realized I could do something else. Then fashion came my way. I was always curious. I was a Duran Duran fan, I was reading that they were having dinner with Warhol and I had to discover who this Warhol was, I was fan of Madonna and reading she sang for friend artist Keith Haring made me go and discover Haring. So I arrived to supermodels, thanks to Duran Duran and to designers. Then the video “Freedom 90” killed me. It was heaven. That was my world! And then the Dolce ad campaign with Tony Ward and Linda, another love at first sight. I began going at the shows as a simple fan, sneaking through without invitation just to see the supermodels. I fell in love with all the creativity and that world. Thanks to life which is always happening when you are planning something else, I had to face family problems and to finish school. When I was doing my social services after University, that I did instead of military services, I met people who kept asking why I couldn’t go back to fashion but in a more planned way. I began writing in small local magazines…and so on!

  • When did you hear fashion calling you and which was your first big project?

As I told you, my life was always very complicated and I had to have my feet in two shoes, trying to find a balance in a not so balanced day life. So fashion was my dream, my escape. I remember studying but having Vogue Italia behind the University books! My first big break came when I began a collaboration with an independent small magazine called Label, done by students at Politecnico in Turin, that magazine ended up being sold in newstands as one of the first Italian bilingual quarterly magazine, sold also abroad. And I was the magazine’s fashion director!

  • Which is your biggest dream related to your career?

I had an interesting career in independent magazines and now on the web. But I’m still learning. I don’t think I have ‘arrived’ there or something. I always spend an amount of time reading and studying and planning new things. So I always try to look at the future, not at what I have behind, and that sometimes is frustrating because you focus on what you haven’t done, yet without realizing what you have achieved. I’d love to have more space in the mainstream world. I’ve always considered myself a sort of rebel/outcast, doing what I liked and that doesn’t always pay in terms of recognition and money. I was a contributor for a couple of important magazines, but they were just passing moments and I’d love now to have a small space, a monthly column or something. But it’s just a small dream that I don’t know if it will ever happen, so nowadays I try to think about my projects, my personal websites ( We believe in style), my blog and the collaborations I have (like Da Passerella, Pitti Fondazione Discovery and The Knit Journal). Another big dream could be writing a book. So many times people told me that and each time I thought that writing a book take ages and at the same time who could be interested in reading a book of mine? Maybe it sounds too modest…

I think that magazine will become a sort of work of art. Different covers, different kind of papers, unique experiences, with a strong online following.

  • We know you love magazines, what do you say when people tell you “there will be no more printed magazines in the future”?

I don’t think it will happen, at least not in the next years. Even if I am a big fan of the web and working in it, I think magazine are fascinating, the way your fingers flip through the pages, the smell of them. But I think that magazines in order to survive must change. I don’t think that in the near future it will be so satisfying for readers to have so many mainstream magazines, with screamers, products… I think that magazine will become a sort of work of art. Different covers, different kind of papers, unique experiences, with a strong online following. Magazines like Self Service who are coffee table books or like Love, Acne, who experiment a lot and are expressions of our pop culture are examples of that.

  • If not fashion what else?

I studied medicine; I have a bachelor degree and a specialization. My passion then became my work, but it’s still my passion! I’m a fashion writer, I’m a stylist, I worked for magazines, I work for the web, I became a teacher, a discovery that changed my life! What more can I do? I swear: I cannot cook and I don’t have a green thumb!

  • Who is your biggest idol and why?

I always say that in life you don’t have just one love. You have many. So I idolize so many people for different reasons. If we are talking about magazines I love people like Grace Coddington for her true passion for fashion, she is a smart lady, with strong beliefs as seen in “The September issue”. I simply adore Fabien Baron, you may remember that in class I call him God, because I think he is to me, a person who has worked for so many important magazines, who is now editor in chief of a magazine I simply adore – Interview… He is definitely someone I look at a lot. I love Katie Grand for her strong ability to express perfectly the zeitgeist of popular culture mixed with fashion. Outside the fashion world I have always admired Madonna for her ability to transform herself, but staying always true to her art/heart. I adored Andy Warhol, he simply understood the way we live now, 30 years before everyone else, a lot of things are related in the art/fashion/entertainment world to what he told us/ did. I loved Gianni Versace so much, I think he and the supermodels of his era shaped the way I see fashion, alongside Steven Meisel and Dolce and Gabbana in the early 90s.

  • Which is the advice you always give to your students?

That in the fashion industry, but not only, are important two things. The first is something you can work on, but it is a lot related to being in the right place and the right time. You have to be lucky and sometimes luck must be helped and in our time you help it with connections. And connections are a lot related to social networks, promotion of oneself, but also be out there, be seen. There is also a second thing that I love the most and that I prefer: culture! The world is full of wannabes, of people who believe they are supercool and that what helps to succeed in the business is to have the latest Givenchy T-shirt, but you must study a lot, be focused, motivated. Humble people, who know their goals and work for them. Be curious, go from link to link, and learn for yourself, not for a school, not for a mark!
Apart that: be brave and find new ways!

“I consider myself a pop archaeologist, a committed fashion enthusiast and a style searcher”

  • What is your motto in life?

Don’t think I have one. Quite often I say “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt”, it was something that Alexander McQueen once said, and I loved his work so much, that those words stayed in my mind. Once my blog had as a subtitle “I consider myself a pop archaeologist, a committed fashion enthusiast and a style searcher”, I think these words represent me well.

  • Would you change some turn you took in your path that got you where you are today?

I think that in life in general is quite easy to say: “If I could turn back time…if I haven’t done that…if I had done that thing…blah blah blah”. But why spend so much time in regretting? I must admit I’m a very melancholic person, but I must always remember to look at the future. What I did in the past is part of who I am today, if I didn’t do certain things I would not probably have met people I love or done things I liked to do.

  • Which are the websites you follow on a daily basis?

I search for things on Tumblr a lot and love Instagram a lot also. Web sites? Too many to mention, but as for other things I have big loves for certain periods, then I go on! I could say Sartorialist and Jak and Jill. I follow some friends’ blogs (I could suggest you Velum by Giuseppe Damato, My World in a bag by Giuseppe Di Rosalia, FrizziFrizzi, FashionPolitan by Lucia Del Pasqua, The Chic Beat by Elisabetta Marzetti, Jeoffrey Romano’s blog and Stefano Mastropaolo’s for which I am editor at large). I also like a lot Federico Rocca’s work as fashion editor at Style.it and I read every day style.com and often fashionologie.com and The Cut.

  • How do you feel about fashion industry nowadays?

In a way I think that everything’s too speeded. We seem to be always in a hurry and that we don’t want to go behind the surface, ‘cause we don’t have time. Everything is eaten and digested in a very brief time and things are going like crazy. But talent needs time to develop and to be nurtured. Our 2.0 time is good with communication, I love social networks and I think they can help a lot new creativity and connections, but we must slow down a bit, we need more time to go back and study, learn, be ourselves, and not only in fashion. I think that there are a lot of talents. In Italy, where I live, there are a lot, but we tend to always watch abroad and that is not always good, we need space/economic aid to make these designers grow!

  • Nowadays everyone thinks that they can do fashion design; what do you think that separates the good fashion designers from the wannabes?

It’s another tough question. Many big names are in strong positions but that doesn’t mean they are better than others. As I told you, sometimes it’s due to being in the right place at the right time. I think in general the better are the ones who are focused, who know well their target and work for that. Some seem to have the ability to understand well what our desires lead us to, and often it’s the team you are working with that is good on that. The designer doesn’t leave in a golden cage, works with talented people who can help him a lot. Sometimes the big names are big because they are surrounded by amazing muse, cool hunters, and assistants.
Above all, the good ones have a vision. Wannabes are just good in advertising themselves…and I have a couple of names clearly in mind.

  • How do you see the future of fashion?

A very tough question. I would be rich if I knew the right answer! But I think that we will see more of two things. Since rich will be always very rich, and the others could not afford that much of luxury items, I think that we will always see amazing fashion as work of art, for who can afford it, and the success of high street fashion department stores selling for less, to a client who wants to be in fashion without spending that much.
Something that I’ll love to see is the success of GLOCAL stuff, small brand, doing stuff in special places, items that represent their local specialties, but selling them online around the world. I’d love to see craftsmanship preserved and nurtured, because if we lose that, in some way we lose what we are.

Doina

Co-founder of The Smoke Detector, social media manager, writer, art lover, dog-petter, music listener.

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