More and more talented Italian graduates are leaving the country in search of a new place to start a career. Enrico Scielzo, 25, from southern Italy, defends his country’s fashion records to succeed abroad.
After his degree in languages, Enrico decided to pursue a career in fashion journalism. But not in Italy. Enrico left the country one year ago and landed in London, as well as more than 40% of Italian recent graduates, according to the Italian National Statistics Institute. The Italian brain drain, as well as the Spanish one, is now becoming a common and forced trend, which is seeing a large amount of young people unwilling to content themselves.
In an email interview Enrico opened up himself to tell his story.
How did you get in this field?
As many others, it happened by chance. I’ve always loved fashion, photography and art in general but I had never really thought I would start a career in this field! Then one day a friend of mine asked me to model for her for a photography contest – and I accepted. After the photos were published, a lot of people suggested me to model because of my “natural confidence” in front of the camera – and I had thought “Why not?”.
Then, I was chosen by Les Marteau jewellery for the campaign of their FW11 collection – where I was art director as well – and I guess that’s where I realized that this was what I wanted to do.
Few months later I had the chance to do a photoshooting with Erica Fava – who’s marvellous – and I was published as fresh face for The Fashionisto, Vanity Teen and several other platforms. I didn’t expect so much success, and I’m so thankful for all of these beautiful things that happened!
How much going abroad has helped u in your young career?
Well, I think that going abroad it helped me a lot as a person and – consequentially – as a model. I think that getting in touch with different realities is very important, ‘cause it shows you side of the world (and of yourself) that you would have never taken in consideration otherwise.
I don’t think it’s “vital” – professionally speaking- for a model to go abroad, but I highly recommend it. It gives you more to give. Then I guess it depends on the ambitions that one has: if you aim to an international audience, I think you can’t avoid going abroad, while if you want to stay national you don’t have to if you don’t want. But that’s a limit to me – so go and see the world.
Are you planning to live abroad or remain in Italy?
I don’t know really. I mean, I love Italy and it will always be my home, but professionally it doesn’t have so much to offer. I’ve always dreamt of moving to New York someday – I feel like that is my place – but again, there’s so much to do here and there and so much to see that I can’t see myself setting in one place for good. At least not at the moment.
Is fashion still very strong in Italy? Which are the trends you see?
I think that fashion is still very strong in Italy – and it always will be.
The problem – to me – is that Italy is too conservative and traditionalist. I think it’s very little innovative and experimental compared to other countries, because Italians tend to play on a safe ground and don’t risk too much. This might be due to the audience as well, but it seems that the “new” and the “different” are taboo in here – or let’s say “unfashionable”. Even model agencies told me that I was not “classic” enough: I’m not the average fit guy that you would see on a Dolce& Gabbana or Armani ad. In Italy you have to be a standard if you want to happen. I think they find it more reassuring.Very few people are willing to experiment and follow a different path, because is so much harder, though so satisfying.
What is your advice to other young Italians that want to do your job?
First of all, make sure this is what you really wanna do: it’s an incredibly competitive world, and no one’s there to help you – so you got to roll up your sleeves and work hard.
Second, get some DECENT photos of yourself. You’ll probably have to pay for a good book – well that’s the price to start. Decent photos give you dignity, and people will be more likely to seriously consider you. That’s the only thing you’ll have to pay to start a career as a model, so don’t trust model agencies that will ask you a fee to join them. You make them make money, and that’s all.
Make contacts – which is crucial. You have to be the boss, agent and PR of yourself. Sometimes it seems to much to bear, but if you’re good enough you’ll manage it. Be patient, ‘cause it takes to time for everything in this job (just think when shooting a summer editorial in December and then wait for 6 months for the photos to be published!).
Last, be willing to improve yourself everyday more and listen to those who are more experienced and might give you some good advice. Whether you’ll choose to stay home or spread your wings and fly away to make your dream come true, just be true to yourself and keep your head held high!