Marco Castelli, when fashion is a starting point

Originally from Sicily, yet cosmopolitan at heart, Marco Castelli, since he started modelling seven years ago, has seriously trotted the world. Maybe owing the many encounters he made, and the inspirational inputs he got from his experiences in Japan or in the States, Marco has soon shown a desire to do something creative himself. Hence, from model to ambassador of a brand he has helped grow, Ovvo Optics, to designer with an expanding Marco Castelli Collection. All this by understanding the role of the social media, increasing the number of followers, indeed he can now boast the figures of a true influencer. We interviewed him, and found out he is a humble guy, level-headed, with many ideas for the future, both professional and not.

How did you become a model?
I started working as a model by chance, after being discovered on a Sicilian shore by a talent scout, who immediately proposed me to model for Benetton. Since that summer in 2010, a leap into the unknown, and this adventure that took me to Milan and, shorty afterwards, to New York, where I have worked with great photographers.

No longer a model, but an influencer, thanks to the social media and other activities. How did this passage occur, and when did you become a designer too?
Actually, rather than influencer, I have started a business parallel to my modelling career, using the social networks to promote what I do. During one of my travels to the Big Apple, thanks to a casting with Red Models, I met Artur Pilat and his wife Margareta Augustyn, and become ambassador for their eyewear line Ovvo Optics, suggesting photographers for campaigns like Greg Lotus, and displaying the brand on Instagram. In so doing, I contributed to the sales and, most importantly, to the opening of new distributions, almost all over the world and, today, also in Italy. Back from the States, I felt the desire to create something mine, I started with some items, like the two-colour coat, and I instantly noticed the good response from the social networks. Now the project is expanding into a capsule collection and I confess that I am fulfilling one of my biggest dreams, a dream I have cherished ever since I was a child!

Speaking of your world on social networks, how many of your tips and images are honest and not-sponsored?
The social networks are today one of the biggest and most important things, not only for the businesses, but also for most of us, my advice is to communicate in a healthy and honest way, to give more visibility to the contents. The sponsorships are done to reach bigger numbers and specific targets, but if you are not true to yourself and honest, people will not follow you. What really matters is not necessarily having millions of likes, but getting the message across. The best thing is reading comments that make you understand that the followers trust you, that they don’t just see you as someone who simply sells a product. This is really gratifying.

How do you envision the evolution of the social world, and the role of the influencer? How do you envision your profession as a “grown-up”?
As a grown-up I imagine myself with a family, father of many children, so I cannot envision this social status in a far-away future. The future is now! The evolution of the social networks is already in place, indeed, at last, there is no business that has not grasped the importance and the role of the influencers. I strongly believe that a good team makes the difference; the future of social networks is us, what we sow, we reap. In my opinion those who stay true to themselves, will always be successful, real and credible, also when proposing a product.

The downside of your profession, if there is one.
The downside of my profession is that it keeps me away from my family, unfortunately, due to my travels and commitments, there is always little time to go back home. I cannot really see any other downside to my job!

Is there a style tip that you would like to share with your readers?
Be simple, do not overdo it in order to appear at any cost. Be yourself, rely on personal details that will have people remember you. And always buy quality.

Which city, since you have travelled a lot, has stuck to your heart? Is there a favourite place (bar, monument, restaurant) that you would advice?
Every city has given me something, but, at the moment, the first one I can think of is Japan. If you go to Tokyo, you have to visit the fish market, then have dinner at Shou Tsukiji, in Ginza, if you like fish, obviously. You will find many places where they serve ramen, a must, and buy some green matcha tea. You will no doubt cross the busiest crossing in the world, the one in Shibuya, a very commercial borough, but just round the corner I was shocked to see an area of the city where there were homeless camps, it left me speechless. If you love nature, hike Mount Fuji to the peak: an incredible emotion.

Milan: where to eat, where to drink, your favourite hang-out?
In Milan I adore Corso Como 10, not just as a store, I often go to the bar to drink ginger infusions, and sometimes I dine there. I don’t have a name to suggest for the aperitif, generally I hang out in via Moscova, though I prefer the little hidden places, not too crowded and not to hip. I like Baobab’s hamburger with boletus, then I have discovered a place, Lars, via Pestalozzi, where they make a delicious tuna fish burger. But the best place to eat is at home with my granny in Sicily.

Photographer| Ryan Simo
Styling| Stefano Guerrini
Grooming| Susanna Mazzola
Photographer Assistant| Alessandro Chiorri
Stylist Assistants| Verena Kohl, Paula Anuska, Cristina Florence Galati

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