Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Interview: Marcelo Burlon


Ahead of the launch of his second collaboration with G-SHOCK, I caught up with jetsetting jack of many trades Marcelo Burlon to talk about how he went from PR and one of fashion's favourite DJs to Creative Director and global fashion influencer.

RR: Let’s start by going back to the beginning. How did your first collaboration with Giorgio di Salvo, and the birth of your brand County of Milan, come about?
MB: Giorgio is a close friend of mine. He’s a graffiti artist, in Milan the fashion kids and graffiti artists came together. We were a big group and we started a party.
When I wanted to start the label, I went back to Argentina to do my research. I came back and spoke to Giorgio and he translated by vision.

He is very important to the creative process. With the G-SHOCK collaboration, we met and discussed ideas…exchanged information. We used our design signature, the snake. It’s a power animal.
 
RR: In the last few years streetwear has gone from the fringes of fashion to being a key aesthetic. How have you found that it’s evolved in the 4 years since you launched County of Milan?
MB: Streetwear is the new wave. We have great brands like Hood By Air, Off White, Nasir Mazhar. Now, it’s luxury streetwear and we sell next to the big houses, it’s like a revolution. I started in PR then putting parties together for these big designers and now I’m a Creative Director. Virgil [of Off White] comes from an architecture background. We have lots of space, we’re allowed to create.
Fashion is a mix now, now you see A$AP Rocky in Gucci. Even Gucci is more street. It’s down to how you style it. We really have to compete with the big brands, it’s not just about the image and what it looks like, the product must be high quality as well. I partner with other brands like Off White on their products; we use the highest quality leather, embroidery, jersey. The tshirts for County of Milan take 2 hours to print, it’s artisanal.


RR: What was it like showing at Pitti Uomo as a streetwear brand?
MB: It was amazing. Even though the brand was a couple of years old, it was like a proper debut and everyone knew about it then. Before that, I worked with designers on parties, I DJed for them. My friends flew in from all over the world and walked in the show, it was like a celebration, a party. All of the people I love and were involved in the process were there. Pitti is known for its suiting and everything is made in Italy so it was special that we were there.
 
RR: County of Milan has been seen on the likes of LeBron, Pusha T, Drake and ASAP Rocky. Who would you love to collaborate with?
MB: I’m really lucky that everyone has actually bought my pieces, we haven’t gifted anything. We had a lot of support from stylists and personal shoppers. I’ve worked with great artists - I worked with Future on the creative direction of his album artwork, I worked on a collection with Pusha T for his tour and right now, I have a collaboration with Tyga.
But I think real people are more important. My work helps me to discover new people; that’s how I met Lebron [James] and we ended up collaborating. In the beginning, when we first started I met a guy at a party at Opening Ceremony. He worked with some artists and athletes and wanted to work together, but we just started and we couldn’t gift anything at that time. Then a few months later I saw Pusha T’s video and he was wearing one of our tshirts. I knew him from Clipse but I didn’t know him as an individual artist then. He wore one of my wings tshirts in his video with Fabolous, it was a big moment for us.


RR: How did your collaboration with G-SHOCK come about?
MB: We first collaborated two years ago. Normally, brands come to me for collaborations but I actually approached them. We worked on a watch, which was released in 2014 to the Italian market – we were still a young brand so they didn’t really believe in us. They know that, you can put that in there. We only made 500 pieces but they sold out in 4 hours. We had so much press in Japan.


G-SHOCK wanted to do a second collaboration and it took us 2 years to build it. I worked with Giorgio on the design, it’s snake print but also kind of camouflage. The watch is 3D printed and our snake print and if you scratch the strap you can still see the print, it’s printed through the strap not just on the surface. It’s a really special watch, very luxury for G-SHOCK.


RR: You’re a self-described jack of many trades, where do you get your inspiration from?
MB: At the basis, I want to share where I come from. I love Argentinean culture and power animals, like the snake. Most of my designs are a mix of the symbols of Patagonia and rave/club culture. It’s an unusual mix but it’s my life and journey.


The G-SHOCK x Marcelo Burlon watch is available to buy on the G-SHOCK website.

 
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Reena ♥

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