At home with Alessandro Calzoni
At home with Alessandro Calzoni, exclusively photographed by Zeb Daemen.
Who are you and what is your profession?
Who am I ahah, the most difficult question you can ask to a person. It reminds me a bit of the first days at university when in order to impress your classmates or the professor you had to come up with something cool, but at the end you always start with your name and conclude with a clumsy “that’s it ahah”. Generally speaking I don’t like to define myself but I’ll give you few adjectives my closest friends used to describe me, should I consider that cheating ahahah? They see me as an honest person, a loyal one. Extremely stubborn and determined. Too altruist, I usually tend to not put myself first and yes, it can be good but it has its side effects. What I can tell you from my side is that I’m a kind of a mixture between a strategic mind and an aesthete. This caused lot’s of trouble in my life but I’m so grateful to be who I am and to had to deal with this kind of a contrast. It shaped me, it pushed me to explore. I have started university 3 years later compared to my peers, I never believed in it’s entity, in it’s structure. I’m not saying that studying is not fundamental of course. It’s more a critique to the system. I come from a small village in Umbria, Italy, composed of 1000 souls maybe even less. I couldn’t find my way. So at a certain point of my life, 6 years ago, also due to lot’s of health problems that were hitting my family, I decided to leave Italy, I needed to breath fresh air. I didn’t know a word of English. It was my first time taking a flight (I was 19) and I could have lost my hearing due to problems I had when I was a child, so I called my doctor few moths before and I said, “I have to take a flight to go to London”. Of course he was quite concerned but I decided to rick it and.. yeah it was quite painful for 4 days I could barely hear people talking. But that’s another long story. After years of attempts now I’m working at Startupbootcamp FashionTech in Milan while I’m attending my last year at university. I’m focusing on Marketing and Business Development and now you may ask yourself where’s creativity in all this and to reply to that question I will ask the help of a superior entity: Albert Einstein “Creativity is intelligence having fun”. I love what I do and considering that I’m just at the beginning I’m sure it will get better and better every day.
How do you think Covid-19 will affect the fashion industry both long-term and short-term? How do you see the impact of Corona crisis on the general perception of fashion? Do you believe everything will just go back to normal after Covid-19, or how do you see it will be?
I guess there are already lot’s of people heavily expressing themselves on this topic, everyone from Fashion “experts” to politician trying to predict, trying to say something, but the funny thing is that nobody knows what the future will look like I’m not talking about weeks, moths I’m talking about seconds. I don’t want to add another prediction or opinion on that pile. I can maybe tell you what are my wishes, what I will try to sustain in the future through my work and my projects, what I believe could be a great ecosystem to live in. I was walking to meet a manager from Prada 2 year ago and I was listening to the words of Kate Raworth, professor at Oxford University, on a TED talk titled “A healthy economy should thrive not grow”. That morning I understood what leader should do, what visionary leaders do. I understood how badly involved we are in this system built upon consumerism and false values. I understood how dependant we are from growth, financially, politically and socially speaking. I believe now we have the chance to restart from zero. Now that we are experiencing the cracks in our society. Now that we are rediscovering the human value. We should stop treating economy and finance as a science. We should stop depending on growth. We should choose a higher ambition, as Kate R. says: “humanity's 21st century challenge is clear: to meet the needs of all people within the means of this extraordinary, unique, living planet so that we and the rest of nature can thrive”. I strongly believe we need a financial, political and social innovation in order to overcome this structural dependency on growth and instead focus on finding the right balance between us and this planet.
How do you spend your Quarantine time and are you still able to create while being quarantined?
Before the lockdown started I moved back to my hometown, I was going through a though time personally and professionally speaking and I could have never stand the life in Milan. This months have been crazy. Work and my last exams are taking it all, but I promised myself that as soon as I finish my thesis I will restart to dedicate more time to my creative side and my body. I kind of need it.
What is in your planning or was in your planning for this year and how will Covid-19 effect that?
Luckily, my plans didn’t change that much. Apart from the fact that I will have a digital graduation ceremony, nothing really changed. I’m trying to focus on what I have and thankfully I’m surrounded by nature and so when I have 10 free minutes I just get out and enjoy it.
What is your daily beauty routine like? And what beauty products you cannot go without?
Ahaha I guess you will be disappointed by this but, I do not have a specific beauty routine and I don’t use any product apart from lukewarm water 2/3 times a day to deterge my face. I have a close friend that works as beautician and well, she tried multiple times to give me advices and tips but.. still, I toil on.
What is the coolest new thing you have learnt since being quarantined and how did you learn it?
I don’t know if we can define it cool, but.. I’ll leave it to you to judge. As I was saying before, few months ago I started to face quite a though period, but though from my point of view doesn’t mean negative, it’s just part of the game of life. In the past 4 years I have been sacrificing a lot. I never went on vacation and I didn’t get out on Friday nights just to have fun. It sounds surreal and you may not believe me but that’s what happened. I have dedicated every second I had to accomplish good results in my professional career, zeroing my personal life. This past December I was quite exhausted, so I decided to spend 4 days with few friends and my former partner in Corvara in the Dolomites. I promised I wouldn’t have touched anything regarding work or university. So I did. It was good being there, but at the same time I felt more like a “spectator” of the scene instead of “character”. I wasn’t active, it wasn’t me. I wasn’t able to be silly, to be light. I was trapped in the cage of duty. This and other events made me think a lot. …and to go back to your question I guess during this quarantine I’m learning how to balance my professional and personal life. I’m reshaping my way of intending success. I’m defining what I would love my future to look like, but this time including also my personal life. I’m rethinking my way of approaching life.
Tell us something about yourself that isn't on your resume.
Mmmm I guess I have to think about this one. I’m really good at gardening ahaha. Since I was a child I’ve always been close to nature, I lived most of my childhood with my grandparents and they plunged me in their world that was composed for the 98% of agriculture. My uncleenvy me so much because he says everything I plant, even a dry branch come to life ahah. He doesn’t know the trick: I just exchange the almost dead wood with a new one after few weeks that nothing happens ahaha.
What's the first place you'd want to go when it's safe again to travel and go out of our homes and why there?
I guess I will not value the physical place that much. I want to meet again with people I haven’t met in a while. I also hope to meet a special person that lives a bit more far from my hometown. Instead if we want to talk about places I want to visit in the future, I love to go and explore those places where nature is extreme, in colors, shapes and weather. I would love to visit Shiprock, New Mexico – Wadi Rum, Jordan – the Namib desert. But I guess I will have to wait a bit more for all this.
9. What is your favorite song at the moment and why? Do you have a playlist that you would like to share with us?
Few weeks ago I was writing the first part of my thesis and I bumped into an album from Milky Chance, called Mind the Moon. Since then I never stopped listening to it. Go check it out.
What is the first thing you like to do when you wake up, and last thing you like to do before going to bed?
First thing I do when I wake up, even before breakfast, I try to understand how I will split my time in relation to my to do list. So I take a peace of paper and I start to separate it in 3 columns, one is about university, another one about work and the third one is about my IG profile and everything that’s related to that. But if I have to stick to the question “what I would LIKE to do..” everything changes: I would love to wake up, maybe close to someone special, eat something and then workout before the day starts. At night, before bed time, I usually dedicate what’s left of the day, so between 8.30 and 10.30, to my close friends. I’m not the most social person on earth even if I know lot’s of people I have the tendency to get quite close just with the chosen few ahah. These are the people who pushe me to do always better, the ones I’m working hard for, the once I would love to share the best and the wort of my entire life.
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? If yes, describe your experience of Amsterdam in one sentence.
Unfortunately not! But I would love to. Soooo.. I’ll wait for your invitation now.
What is your go-to work-out for staying in shape? What does working out mean to you?
It can have so many meanings. I believe it really depends on the mood and on the phase of the life you are in. Usually for me it’s a mixture of personal aesthetic and a way to get distracted. Let’s say 80/20%. I don’t enjoy it that much but I know it’s important in order to balance myself and given my nature I can’t stand my body falling apart. It’s been 4 years since the last time I worked out properly, consistently.
What is your favorite painting and has it inspired you for any of your work thus far?
I have discovered just 2 years ago this New York based artist: Leonardo Drew. I love his way of juxtaposing materials. It’s exactly what I usually try to express through my aesthetic. I love everything that’s raw.