Getting to Know Massimo Giorgetti, the Creative Director of MSGM

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Photographed by Emilio Tini

In 2009, the world was in the depths of an economic recession, but one man saw fit to defy the status quo by launching his own label. Italy’s Massimo Giorgetti is the Creative Director behind MSGM, a brand that is wildly popular with the youth brigade for its affordable price points and technicolor prints. The rapid success of MSGM happened not only because the clothes were stylish, forward-thinking, and consumer-friendly, but also because Giorgetti has been a brilliant captain at the helm of the brand, working constantly to expand its reach around the world. With the designer in Dubai to explore the potential for his brand in the Middle Eastern market, we took an opportunity to tap into his immensely infectious creative energy and find out what makes him tick both personally and as a Creative Director for a soon-to-be-major fashion label.

One thing that lies at the heart of Giorgetti’s passion for style is his love of music. Prior to becoming a fashion designer he was a DJ, and though he cites DJing as a hobby, it has come full circle to inform his collections. Fall/Winter 2014 was inspired by influential performers like Björk, Radiohead, and Portishead, and Giorgetti sculpted his materials in interpretation of their sounds. It could be said that the MSGM line is an example of art imitating art, which could explain why it’s so popular with the hip street crowd. Get to know the delightful and driven designer behind MSGM by reading Savoir Flair’s exclusive interview with Giorgetti below.

Photo: Courtesy of MSGM

How did the idea of starting MSGM come about?
I started MSGM in 2009 during the recession, and I realized I wanted to do something very recognizable and I decided to have a message. The first collection had a phrase, “Never look back; it’s all ahead.” I wanted to look to the future, so I wanted MSGM to give out an optimistic and positive message. So I started to work with colors and prints – not black or gray because fashion is supposed to be fun.

I wanted to look to the future, so I wanted MSGM to give out an optimistic and positive message.

You have previously said that MSGM was born out of music. Is there a specific music genre or movement that generally influences your designs?
Ah, music always inspires MSGM and me! I love contemporary music. For example, I grew up with Radiohead and Nirvana, but now I love indie music. I’m a fan of Julian Casablancas, The Strokes, and Vampire Weekend. I think the indie groups are very similar to MSGM, because indie music captures a mix of classic, rock, jazz, and punk and I think I do the same – I capture classic and mix it in a contemporary way.

So what’s currently on your playlist?
Right now there is the group from Paris called La Femme – I used the soundtrack for my last show. I really love Psycho Tropical Berlin. A month ago, in September, La Roux’s album was released – amazing, really amazing.

Do you have Soundcloud?
Yes! Arctic Monkeys, I love. At the same time, I also love pop music – Coldplay, Beyoncé, Rihanna – but for the gym. It’s the indie music that inspires me when working on my collections.

Would you say fashion influences music or music influences fashion?
It’s like a dog chasing its tail because music inspires fashion and fashion inspires music.

Which do you have a greater love for, music or fashion?
[Long pause] I think… It’s my dog. My dog is a year and half old. He’s a Jack Russell Terrier and his name is Pane, which means ‘bread’ in Italian. [Searches his iPhone for pictures of his dog] I have a lot of pictures of my dog, but my phone was stolen one week ago.

Are there other forms of art or any hobbies you are interested in?
I run a lot. I run for one hour, three times a week, in the park or gym. I also love snowboarding and sailing.

Your Fall/Winter 2014 collection was inspired by Björk, Radiohead, and Portishead. If you were to collaborate with an artist or band – dead or alive – who would it be?
Ah, interesting. I would like to collaborate with Sofia Coppola. I know she’s not a music artist, but I love the way she sees the world. She has a contemporary mind.

I would like to collaborate with Sofia Coppola. I know she’s not a music artist, but I love the way she sees the world. She has a contemporary mind.

It seemed like you had your life figured out when you (and three other friends) started MSGM in your early twenties. When you were dealing with all the adult responsibilities, others were probably going through quarter-life crisis. Did you ever go through that phase?
It was very difficult; there was a lot of pressure. I think it’s strange because I think the pressure is better when you are young. It’s manageable. Now at this age, sometimes on a Monday morning I would cry – it’s true – because it’s not only the collection; you also have to think of the sales and the entire business. Sixty percent of my day goes to managing the business and things like answering e-mails.

What’s one piece of advice could you give to the 20-somethings who are thinking of starting their own line?
My only advice is to be coherent with the brand’s message and aesthetic. You have to work to be recognizable. If you have a message, you have to stick with it and continue with that message. For example, MSGM’s first collection had fluoro, prints, and colors, which I’ve been doing for three years. Now, it’s time for me to evolve and change just a little.

You debuted your bag and shoe collection earlier this year. What’s next for MSGM?
We are working on opening more boutiques – in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and a corner in Galeries Lafayette at Paris, Harrods, and Bergdorf Goodman.

And I believe you’re looking into expanding in the Middle East?
We are working and meeting today about that [laughs]. The sellout here is incredible – also in Bloomingdale’s.

You entered the fashion industry at age 17 as a fitting model and also worked in different areas of the industry after that. After almost 20 years of being in the industry, is there something you learned recently that surprised you?
It’s completely different now, because of Zara and H&M. Twenty years ago, there was no fast fashion, but I think it has become a good thing for us. It’s a fight for everyone. We have to create something that’s more desirable than fast fashion.

So how do you deal with imitation?
Sometimes when I see my sweater being imitated by retailers, I’m happy because it means that I’m on the right track. It’s a way for that young, teenage girl who buys that sweater from a fast fashion retailer to aspire to the real thing when she starts working in her twenties. I hope.

MSGM’s Fall/Winter 2014 collection is available at Bloomingdale’s, The Dubai Mall.

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