There was a time in my life when I would regularly visit Milan. These weren’t your regular tourist visits. Moments passed there involved secret warehouse DJ sets with the rich and famous, popping over to the apartment in Rome, Paris St Germain or the villa in the countryside, and reminiscing about an old life in Portofino.
These people owned famous fashion labels, publishing companies, made movies, directed theatres and curated shows for the Triennale. Their apartments looked like they belonged in Vogue magazines.
One day, with a friend who belonged to this world, I went shopping.
We were walking down the streets and almost instantly my friend was stopped by a fashion blogger who took her photo for her page. My friend was wearing a khaki, soldier-inspired jacket with leather detail from some famous brand, which was a popular look at that split second in time.
We then went on to visit her friends at an exclusive store that sold the latest and even pre-releases of the big labels. She was organising to collect a set of trousers made of Scottish tartan material. Lo and behold! These became fashionable the next week.
She showed me necklaces so heavy with colourful precious stones that they look like they could crush a child. She already had one of those. I saw them in Vogue magazines a month later.
For this group of people their entire focus, their passion and their livelihood was based on creating a new look every five minutes and staying ahead of the game. Milan has long been at the world’s epicentre for design and fashion and to be honest, I don’t know how they do it! I often wondered where they find their inspiration in a place that isn’t so beautiful to look at (in fact it’s ugly and often covered in fog) and how they keep up the momentum and energy.
I soon realised that they have a creative electrical current running through them. They are constantly on the look out for beauty, inspiration and the new flavours in fashion and design. They feed off each other and propel each other along this tsunami of creativity until they ride their wave of success.
Once the tsunami breaks, there is a lot of destruction left behind. Think: sweatshops, child labour and environmental degradation. These people aren’t stupid, they know what they are doing.
Consequently, something is changing in Milan. Perhaps it’s because it is hosting the Expo Milano 2015 with the theme of: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. Take a look at it here http://www.expo2015.org/en/index.html. The creatives of Milan have gotten together and have shifted their thinking to take into account sustainability and the impact of their actions on humanity and the environment.
Perhaps they could also design an epiphany for those who don’t think sustainably and continue to ride the tsunami.