SOAPOPERAFANZINE

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SOAPOPERA MEETS THE STYLIST’S WARDROBE

// A new reality is here to stay

AN INTERVIEW BY AMANDA LUNA BALLERINI

In enter this bright studio on a weirdly free Friday afternoon which feels almost spring.
The weather is warm, everybody is out in the streets enjoying a quick gelato before going back to work.

I’m welcomed by Federica, a joyful and friendly person with a lot to say.

The space, as she explains me later, was completely ideated by her and Monica, the other half of ‘The Stylist’s Wardrobe”.
A deep ocean kind of blue is the color that was chosen for the walls, elegant tones of gold and browns for the furniture.
Most of the objects in the studio are crafted specifically for it by the founders, which shows me how much love there is behind this project.

A place of co-working, events and above all the first reality in Europe which offers the service for stylists to leave the garments needed for shooting in a safe and monitored room.

I chat with Federica for one hour, and her welcoming and light Apulian accent immediately makes me feel at home.
In a land, Italy, where beauty and issues live together on a daily basis, creating something like this for two young women can still be a struggle.

Here is the project, and the reality, of Federica and Monica and what they created.

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Amanda. Which are your backgrounds and how did you meet each other?
Federica. I came from fashion photography freelancer madness life, this was the thing all started from, real problems, in a real word, with people that were in my team. Me and Monica met a while ago now, in one of my first workplaces in Milan where Monica used to work too.
I was really young, I had just completed my study in photography, I was shooting some tests, and also working for a few days a week with her. I’ll quickly stop working there, but we stayed friends.
Monica. Milanese by adoption, I came several years ago to study photography in this city and I started working in the sector.
I had the pleasure of meeting Federica because we did some photographic works together. from there a nice friendship was born and we decided to realize this project, combining mine and its ideas.

Amanda. How did your project started and how were you able to support it in a chaotic and saturated reality like Milan?
Federica. For different reasons we had this desire of building something personal, that would also help us in our personal photography business, something special and unusual for the industry, affordable but REALLY good. A place where each and every fashion figure, at any stage of their learning or carrier path, could come and enjoy some help. Neither of us had ever done business at this scale before, but the really radicate belief that we were doing something unique, original, with lots of services, and therefore streams of income, got us through really quickly. We have supported the space just for the first few months.
And by the way, everything looks way more expensive than what it is. We did lot of research, and the 70% of decor and furnishing, we made ourselves.
Monica. The project was born from the idea of wanting to create the first and only space dedicated to professionals in fashion, giving them the opportunity to use a space for exclusive use and a series of dedicated services.
Knowing Milan and the sector, where you always go fast and the time is never enough, our aim was to facilitate their work, especially stylists, with the possibility of renting a wardrobe space where they can keep their collection, taking care of the return and clothes on the sets, leaving them only the task of taking care of the creative part, which is actually what they are supposed to do…

Amanda. What weren’t you satisfied with when you had the idea to create ‘THE STYLIST’S WARDROBE’? Did you have someone supporting you at that time?
Federica. I wasn’t satisfied with anything really. I found this sector deeply wrong, in a very old fashioned way, and things have never changed since the beginning, probably. If you think about it, the process of collecting, sending, picking up and so on has been the same almost forever. Despite just emails and mobile phone maybe. Support? I think it depends on what you mean as support. We had a very enthusiast crowd, of family, colleagues, friends and beloved ones that cheer for us of course, but business and decision wise, I have Monica, and Monica has me. That’s it.

Amanda. How did you started promoting your work and making people understand how needed it was in the Milanese scenario?
Federica. The first thing we did, back in the day when we barely had a couch, was inviting a stylist just to give us feedback. We sat down, having a really long exchange of opinion, talking really about the ”politics” that sit behind wardrobe, clothes, client, cost and managing staff, and the struggle that comes with it. We really wanted to share with them our mission. For promotion, we started with Instagram obviously, emails, and people really started calling us just by word of mouth.
Then website and SEO of course.
Monica. We started to promote our space by inviting people from the sector who we knew could appreciate our services.
We made the space known through social media and I must say that Instagram for us was a good showcase. Then the word of mouth, the various events that we hosted during this period and the curiosity of people to know a new reality like ours.

Amanda. How is the styling scenario in Milan? What is working and what could work better?
F./M. The styling scenario In Milan.. hard question. We love Italian stylists, we have great talents, but in our personal opinion, there is a really strong conditioning. You need to do ” what it works” , in order to make this a successful career. You have to comply to a certain kind of aesthetics. We would love to see the same boldness, the same freedom, we spoil ourselves with, when shooting independent foreign magazine, kind of.. always.
This is at the same time, what’s working and what’s not.

Amanda. You have now your own space.
Which were the biggest struggles in creating your own? I can imagine the importance of having a space which can be used for press days and other activities.
Federica. First of all the biggest struggle was to find it. Milan has really high demand for this kind of spaces, from various industries. We didn’t have a huge budget, but a good list of needs, and we wanted a perfect match. We know we couldn’t settle for anything less than perfect, because we had to satisfy a really picky audience, in a very competitive niche. Then of course, as two young women, we need to earn the owners trust, which is something still hard to find in 2019. Crazy right?
Monica. Me and Federica have been very attentive to details during the creation of this space.
We wanted it not to be the usual location, but to have an air of home, a warm and welcoming atmosphere. A functional space for our customers but also aesthetically pleasing. Luckily we had many ideas and taste in common so this has helped us a lot. We are really proud of what it has become today.

Amanda. Which kind of events or talks you dream to hold in your space?
Federica. Oh so many. We get along surprisingly well with the beauty industry, especially for press releases. I Have to say we have already worked with some of the biggest names, but we still have so many dream clients, especially fragrance wise. This year we are on the hunt, especially for home and lifestyle clients.
Other than commercial clients, we would love to work with young, independent creators, both for fashion and design, we are already developing some projects to achieve this.
Monica. We already had the fortune to host very interesting events and people and I think it would be nice to create collaborations with emerging companies like ours that help with their ideas to improve the work that revolves around the fashion industry. We are always ready and very interested in any kind of news. We would like new and young designers to use our space as a showcase but also that stylists already navigated in the sector could appreciate the services dedicated to them.

Amanda. Which are your favorite realities (small or big) in today’s Milanese scene?
F./M. Some of our favorite realities are, with no doubt, belong to two girls pals, who are both amazing at what they are doing, and accomplishing. Carolina Molossi with Book A Look, and Giada Graziano with Glam Observer.

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Photo courtesy of The Stylist’s Wardrobe.
Meet them here and here!

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