Shanahan Studio Session with Maurizio Mauro an Italian Fashion Designer in New York
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small provincial town in southern Italy a few kilometers from the Amalfi coast.
Do you come from a creative family?
I am definitely not from a creative family. My parents do not do any work that requires creativity.
Describe living in New York in 5 words?
Gritty, inspiring, stressful, diversity and evolving.
What made you change careers from Fashion to finance and switch again? Was it difficult changing careers?
I was young, aware of my abilities but I saw fashion as a very difficult world. I felt on an emotional level that I could not sustain certain rhythms and positions. I dreamed of great things, great expectations but I didn't understand that I had to start from the bottom to get to the top. Mine was not a lack of humility but I already felt I could give so much, that I was already up to the level of an established creative. It was not very easy to study Finance because I have always hated math, I am a creative and I cannot love numbers. But I was quite good, I was committed and I studied, in fact I graduated with excellent results.
Immediately after I graduated in finance, a multinational confirmed my job but I stayed little in that office because it was not in my nature. Just then I got a job offer in fashion in China so I dropped everything and landed in China. So I found myself working as a designer again but this time with a great awareness and certainty of who I was and what I could really do.
Describe your design style?
My style is continuously influenced by my personal and professional experiences.
It grows and evolves but remains linked to quality and uniqueness. I like things studied in detail and done by hand. I like to exercise the opposite of what is called a trend, thus creating uniqueness in my style.
I love to enhance everyone's identity and personality and tell it through fashion. Quality and uniqueness must never be lacking. I don't like too many rules. The sandal can be worn with a wool coat in a snow cabin just as a rubber boot can be worn for a boat party.
What does fashion mean to you?
Wow! This is a big question. For me, fashion is culture, it is economy, expression, statement and mood. Fashion tells you who you are but today it tells a lot about who you want to be.
At one time, the status of people was recognized by the way they dressed. Today this is no longer the case. You cannot understand who a person is by the way they dress. But luckily you can guess this from the ways of doing things, from the ways of speaking and from the ways of how he expresses himself. A famous Italian saying says: '' The dress does not make the monk. '' This is how you can try to tell who you want to be with an item of clothing but then your true nature comes out. For me what is really important and above all I advise everyone to wear what makes you feel good and above all tell who you really are by the way you dress respecting your true nature because it is what makes you unique and irreplaceable.
What is the most challenging thing for you as a fashion designer?
This is another interesting question. The stylist is a creative. Like all creatives, they are often not understood by everyone. But I always follow myself. Sometimes it is very easy to communicate with those in the sector, less so with those who are not. Like everyone else, I have a private life that is not made up only of creative people and therefore sometimes it becomes difficult to make yourself understood and above all to communicate with the rest of the people around me.
Where do you get your ideas for your designs?
As I already mentioned in the previous question, it all starts with my professional and personal experiences. The shapes and colors come from all over. There are no limits.
In Italy I have an apartment full of books, photographs and objects which are my main source of inspiration. I walk around with 160,000 photos in my phone. I am very curious and curiosity makes me give life to new ideas. Often what surrounds me undoubtedly becomes an object of inspiration.
Describe your current role?
Designer, creative consultant and artist.
I love painting, I also dedicate myself so much to painting and creating works of art that I exhibit in galleries.
What is your strong side as a fashion designer?
I believe so much that they are my sensitivity and my personality. My sensitivity gives life to new ideas and my personality is able to communicate them and transmit them to the outside world.
Is there something that you would still like to learn about the fashion industry?
I can design and create an item of clothing from start to finish. I have designed accessories but I don't know how to make a shoe. I wish I could physically make a shoe. Being able not only to be the designer but also the craftsman.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Do not waste time and always follow yourself and your path without getting too distracted and influenced by external phenomena. I already did it as a child. I was stubborn and aware of what I wanted, wanted to do and wanted to be. But then you know life is a little unpredictable, you adapt to needs, experiences and you question yourself when you are uncertain, you follow wrong advice or maybe not suitable for your being and your world. This leads you to waste time. Instead you must always follow your true self.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Creating timeless and sustainable fashion that everybody can feel great wearing.
I hope to continue to do my job in the best possible way and above all to learn new things and learn from those who know more than me. I wish I could make as many people happy as possible and create thousands of job opportunities.
Where can people find you online?
My fashion brand: mister-mm.com | IG: @themistermm
My Art website: artspaceofmm.com | IG :@artspaceofmm
Thank you Maurizio for your time, I wish you the best with your future. Hannah x