An early summer day with a soft drink in an exquisitely charming location frames the setting for an offbeat, highly enjoyable chat for I am Fashion. Our subject: understanding the very strong relationship that has come to be forged between one of the most important sectors worldwide, namely that of fashion, and today’s digital world. I’ve arranged an interview with the internationally highly-acclaimed web manager Mauro Perrella, who for some years now has divided his life between the beauty that is Italy and the pragmatism that is America.
Hi Mauro, so what do you think of this inseparable bond that now exists between fashion and the web?
“A very good day to you. I think that the world of fashion is very much ahead of many other sectors and so possesses the ability to identify changes even before they take place, anticipating trends and creating a consumer need. For this I shall be eternally grateful to the golden world of fashion, for having given worldwide credibility to the true power of web communication.”
Would you say fashion has the edge over other sectors as regards online presence?
“If we think in terms of media impact and ability to unearth new trends, absolutely so, yes, but also sectors such as Tech and Tourism have made great headway and nowadays globalization is a great equalizer for any new trend, rapidly spreading it worldwide.”
What support can web communication offer the world of fashion?
“A significant contribution in terms of constant visibility but, above all, in terms of an acceptable degree of message redundancy. Repeating an ad on the web doesn’t create that irritating “inflation” which is the case with other media. Social networks enable all of us to approach any product or any information in a democratic and free manner, without imposing anything. And fashion, mirroring the frivolity that we all possess, has realized how much the web can amplify the reach of its advertisements.”
So the role of web manager is of great help in this sector?
“If today people are talking about web marketing, Digital PR and web management it’s due in a large part to the world of fashion, since it’s thanks to icons such as Olivia Palermo and Cara Delevingne or to geniuses such as Federico Marchetti (the father of Yoox – Net a Porter) and Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist) if millions of people have gotten to understand new worlds such as online.”
Mauro, do you consider yourself at the forefront in your sector, adopting techniques which are advanced with respect to the Italian market which is still ripe?
“I’ve “travelled” a lot in my life, both in the real world and the virtual one, and I’ve strived to exchange ideas with many colleagues, challenging them in bouts of skill, of preparation, things that we web managers do online in closed and reserved communities. It’s only by means of having fair disputes, lively debates and healthy competition, in addition to constant dialogue that one can hope to improves one’s skills and hence perform outstandingly for our customers.
Having said that, I think I have acquired a great capacity to adapt to the current requests and needs of the players in this complex market. As regards Italy, on the one hand it’s behind with respect to the so-called G-20 at the web level, but on the other hand it also turns out singularly talented people such as you Simonetta, capable of becoming unique points of reference in their own sector and of “laying down the law” at an international level.”
Your words are lovely, and strike me as those of someone who knows what he’s talking about, who has a never-ending desire to keep learning and never quite feels that they’ve made it, right?
“Exactly. Every day for me is a launch pad. Working above all in the area of fashion and luxury, I notice on a daily basis how important it is not to think you’ve “arrived”, how fundamental it is to demonstrate simplicity and humility to customers, and how we are in the midst of a full-scale industrial revolution without really realizing it.”
An industrial revolution with Fashion as the X-Factor?
“Precisely – a digital revolution in progress, enduring, and seemingly never-ending. It started when Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet and will finish who knows when, since man needs to be incessantly in contact and to share continuously. The web has grasped this perfectly, that very web that reflects our needs, behaviors, ambitions and hopes.
And thus it is that fashion, and close behind, many other product sectors, have worked out how to proceed, constructing their own success right where a great revolution was starting to bloom.”
Do you maintain that in the magic world of luxury and fashion there is still so much to express at the web level or that by now we have reached saturation point?
“I am strongly convinced that there are still great margins, margins of understanding of people’s needs, of highly-targeted advertising, of total involvement of the client potential towards his or her buying experience. And the web giants from Google to Facebook right through to Amazon know this very well, they were the first to understand, and now they are equipped to decide how, where and when some new trend coming along ought to work.”
And do they perhaps use the world of fashion as a guinea-pig or rather is it a privileged testing ground?
“Certainly the second option, I’d say. Fashion is something unique, a world apart, one that manages to predict trends, to create a perfect union with the web, bringing with it a range of new businesses and new entrepreneurs. A new scenario has opened up and it attracts the curious by their millions, who dedicate much free time to inundating the social platforms and search engines with thousands upon thousands of “likes” and comments.
You talk about the world of the selfie-addicted, of rampant narcissism where “everyone can become famous and powerful.”
This observation – intended to stir up the pot a little – really deserves a detailed answer, but all the same I’d like to answer briefly and personally. From time immemorial, humans have needed to communicate, share and express their emotions. Social networks do no more than give this opportunity to everyone without discrimination.”
And does the role of web manager help people to navigate this “new world”?
“That’s exactly right, with the aim of providing a service that’s not only efficient and near-perfect, but also one that aims to train anyone who wishes to study in-depth this new and essential medium.”
Our interview’s drawing to a close, but I’d like to ask you one final question. From what you say it clearly comes across how deeply you love your work, right?
“I am embarrassed to answer because I’m so in love that this question, which is a perfectly legitimate one, almost touches on my private life and not my public life as web manager. I have always been in love with the web, with my profession, and I think from today’s answers that’s plain for all to see.”
I can definitely say that you, my dear Mauro, are fashion!