Facebook Launches “Care” Emoji In Light Of Coronavirus Pandemic

As the world continues its crusade against social disruptions, Facebook has recently launched a website to make it easier for people to share their support and unity.  

The app has added a new emoji to its wide collection: A “caring” symbol hugging a heart. Messenger users, similarly, can activate a pink-purple heart by pressing onto the existing heart icon. With lockdown measures actualised across the globe, Facebook is now an important communication platform to check on loved ones. 

“We know this is an uncertain time, and we wanted people to be able to show their support in ways that let their friends and family know they are thinking of them,” tweeted Alexandru Voica, Facebook’s EMEA Communications Manager for Engineering. Weeks to come will see Facebook showing warning messages in News Feed to users who have liked, reacted to “harmful” covid-19 information, announced on April 16. 

Canadian Outerwear Brand Nobis Pledges To Kickstart A Donation Of Online Sales In Response To Covid-19 Crisis

Canadian premium outerwear brand Nobis has announced a three-week global initiative, whereby 100% of online sales will be donated to help frontline health medical workers who continue the battle against the scattering of the pandemic. 

From April 10 to 20, 2020, the pre-tax purchase price from all online sales of the brand will go directly to support hospitals and healthcare workers around the world responding to COVID-19 in urgent need of supplies and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). All global sales will be directed to the Red Cross COVID-19 to enable Red Cross and Red Crescents around the world to support Covid-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities. 

In Canada, the list of recipients comprises the CanadaHelps Covid-19 Healthcare & Hospital Fund, which supports over 90 hospital foundations across the country, and five local Ontario hospital foundations – Headwaters Health Care Foundation, Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation, Scarborough Health Network Foundation, Toronto General, & Western Hospital Foundation and William Osler Health System Foundation. 

This program is being implemented in addition to the commitment made last week when brand donated $100,000 to local hospitals in Ontario. Customers making purchases on Nobis’ website between April 10 to 30, will be able to direct the donation funds to the organisation of their choice, by selecting the hospital or organisation name at the time of check out. For the full list of benefitting foundations and additional details on the initiative, please visit Nobis’ community resource page: Nobis.com/pages/community.

A recent statement saw the label’s Co-Founder and Vice President Robin Yates commenting: ““Nobis, Latin for ‘us’, has always understood the importance of community, and we are incredibly proud of and indebted to our frontline healthcare providers whose bravery and selflessness are a beacon of hope in uncertain times. There has never been a crucial time for us to further our community support. This is why Nobis is doing everything within our means to recognise and support the incredible sacrifice being made by these outstanding individuals in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.”

Instagram’s New Food Service Features Drip In Choices

Instagram has recently updated its App with some new features that aid restaurants and food services amid Coronavirus crisis. Business accounts can now add stickers and buttons that allow users to order food and buy gift cards. 

One of the App’s latest updates lets users buy gift cards from a business. It’s an approach adopted to help organisations to boost their business, and customers will be able to shop with the funds once the shop doors reopen again.

Another feature is a sticker that allows users to order food directly to their door from the app itself. Stickers can be added to stories, and buttons to profiles. According to Instagram, the update was created with the intention of helping organisations facing hardship amid the pandemic: “Small businesses are an important part of our community, and many are facing immense challenges during the COVID‑19 crisis.

Today, we’re making it easier to discover gift cards, online food orders, and fundraisers on Instagram so you can support the businesses you love.”

Apple And Google Join Forces In A Tech-Savvy Rejoinder Against Covid-19

As the current global circumstance continues being disrupted by the turmoil of the pandemic, Apple and Google have joined forces in developing a technology that tracks and reduces the spread of Covid-19.

A recent statement saw both companies remarking: “All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems. Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments and public health providers, we hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life.”

Bluetooth will alert users if they have been in contact with someone who has been infected by the virus. The companies aren’t designing an app for this purpose, but rather they’re drawing a framework that could be later evolved into an app for ioS10 or Android.

The release of this feature is still yet to be revealed.  

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MoMA Lands Free Art-Driven Courses

The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) has recently launched a series of free online courses. From boosting your competence in modern art to deepening your photography skills (to make you a pro), topics are predominantly art-focused and tailored to be gripped by a wider demographic. The courses are: “Fashion as design,” “Seeing through photography,” “In the studio: abstract post-war painting,” “Modern art and ideas,” and “What is contemporary art?”

“Seeing through photography” will aid amateur photographers to grasp a variety of approaches to photographic methods, the context and shifts of our perspective of an image, and the role of photography in today’s world. Furthermore, the “Modern art and ideas” courses will help interested learners to understand modern art through audio interviews with artists, designers, and curators alongside readings and interactive exercises.

View the full list of courses provided by MoMA on its website.

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London-Based Retailer Browns Launches “Family Affair” Enterprise To Champion Creative Community

London-Based retailer Browns has launched its new “Family Affair” Initiative. The project is intended to provide a platform to creatives, including a series of guest editors to curate and commission content alongside their own friends and regular collaborators. 

The project will involve the likes of creatives deriving from a variety of backgrounds: models, artists, activists, producers, stylists and activists. 

As well as launching “Family Affair” to support creatives during this difficult time, Browns has acclaimed its support for the BFC Foundation Covid Crisis Fund. A recent statement saw Browns CEO Holli Rogers remarking: “More than ever connectivity, collaboration and unity are key. For this reason, we are acutely aware of the economic pressures these smaller brands are under and in an attempt to help minimise the impact of these uncertain times, we will not cancel orders. The team and I at Browns are here to talk, listen and find solutions with all of our brands.”

Browns’ “Family Affair” project will take place on its website and on its multi-channels.

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London’s Original Print Fair Turns Virtual

The London Original Print Fair has pledged its plans of creating an online version of the event in May, due to the Covid-10 outbreak. Originally scheduled to take place at the Royal Academy of Arts, the event will launch a digital version which aims at comprising a “browse and buy” selection of works.

In addition, viewing rooms will enable visitors to view and purchase prints spanning five centuries, while number of exhibitors will host themed exhibitions. A multimedia map will give visitors the opportunity to dive into a number of stands.

Being London’s longest-running art fair, London Original Print Fair online will host 51 print dealers, galleries and publishers cross-globally, providing resources for collectors to showcase prints on the current art market.

The list of exhibitors includes numerous galleries across the countries, encompassing the works of artists that span from Rembrandt to David Hockney.

The event will launch on May 1, and it will be shown live at London Original Print Fair’s website for the whole month.

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Nike Shuts Largest Circulation Centre As Employee Contracts Coronavirus

On the 2ND of April 2020, Nike sharply closed its largest distribution center in Frayser, Tennesse after an employee tested positive for Coronavirus. The 2.8 million-square-foot facility is where most of the brand’s sneakers are shipped out of and is now implemented with a scrupulous disinfection process.  

In an official statement to MLK50, Nike remarked the following: “The health and safety of our team is always our first priority. We have temporarily closed one of our Memphis, TN, distribution facilities. During this period, we will be conducting a comprehensive disinfection process. We are targeting to reopen at 6 a.m. Sunday, April 5.”

According to the report, employees were informed that one of them had tested positive for the virus, leaving such case with a decision to shut down facilities after a Meeting of that same day. Workers were informed that they would continue to be paid during the temporary closure and were handed a hotline number to seek for further assistance.

The North American Logistic Campus in Frayser is Nike’s largest in the world and one of the most crucial locations of the brand’s online commerce operations. It remains to be seen how this temporary closure will affect Nike’s distribution worldwide. 

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Burberry Supplies Vaccine Research and Converts Its Unit In Aid Of Global Covid-19 Crisis

Burberry dedicates its resources to support global efforts in combatting covid-19 outbreak. The brand has pledged to hep fund University of Oxford’s research into a single-dose vaccine and has planned on donating to various charities to help tackle crisis in food and poverty across the UK.

“The whole team at Burberry is very proud to be able to support those who are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19, whether by treating patients, working to find a vaccine solution or helping provide food supplies to those in need at this time,” stated Burberry’s CEO Marco Gobbetti.

However, the philanthropic move goes on. On top of distributing 100,000 surgical masks to the NHS, the company has also pledged to repurpose its iconic Yorkshire unit to manufacture non-surgical gowns and masks for medical workers and patients cross-globally. 

New Balance Manufactures Face Masks In Its U.S. Unit – Everything You Need To Know

New Balance has began producing face masks in response to the current covid-19 crisis. The footwear brand made it clear via an Instagram post, showing an image of a mask and the call out “Made shoes yesterday, Making masks today.”

The Boston-hailed label has teamed up to join brands such as Nike – which has commenced prototyping personal protective equipment (PPE) – in the coronavirus relief effort. It has also recently pledged $2 million to support efforts made on local, regional and global levels, mainly affected by the pandemic. 

“We are producing prototypes for face masks in our Lawrence, MA manufacturing facility,” the footwear brand has said in a press release, adding, “and [we] hope to scale production using our other New England factories soon.”

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Zegna Group Donates €3 Million In Aid Of Coronavirus

Italian luxury menswear association Zegna has joined forces in the fight against Coronavirus. The Zegna group, together with the label’s senior management have pledged a 3 million euros donation to Italy’s Civil Protection (Protezione Civile), which is aimed at helping doctors, nurses, researchers and volunteers on the front-line. 

The news came after The Zegna Group pledged to reshape part of its production facilities in Italy and Switzerland into manufacturing labs for masks. The group is set to make a direct donation to several hospitals, in order to purchase ventilators and masks. 

“At Zegna, we believe our actions today will shape our tomorrow,” remarks Gildo Zegna, CEO of Ermenegildo Zegna, in a statement. “The pandemic we are all facing is a call for people around the world to take action. Each of us must do our part, in every way possible, to stop this global emergency.”

Further luxury brands converting production facilities to supply medical equipment and gear comprise Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Ferragamo – among others. 

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Prada Has Extended Its Intensive Care Units To Italian Hospitals

Prada has donated new intensive care and revitalization units to three main hospitals in Milan, as reported by Corriere.

In a brief statement, Prada announced that it donated “two full units to intensive care and resuscitation to each of the following hospitals in Milan, Italy: Vittore Buzzi, Sacco, and San Raffaele.” The donation was made by head Designer Miuccia Prada, CEO Patrzio Bertelli and Chairman of Prada SpA, Carlo Mazzi. 

Prada’s philanthropic gesture comes as a consequence of a series of donations ushered by Italian labels. Armani has donated millions of euros to four Italian hospitals: Luigi Sacco, San Raffaele, and Istituto dei Tumori (in Milan), counting the likes of Rome’s institute Lazzaro Spallanzani. On the other hand, Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital also received a six-sum intake of $220,000 in donation from icon Donatella Versace. 

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French Conglomerate LVMH Drops In Revenue As Affected By Coronavirus Calamity

Luxury conglomerate LVMH reported a recent downfall in revenue (of 10%) to (20%) in comparison to the same period of last year, allegedly revealed due to the office closures and shoppers desisting from purchasing during Covid-19 pandemic. The company is slated to disclose first-quarter results on April 16. 

LVMH’s reduced revenue earning is a tail now shared with the rest of the luxury world. Kering SA, company which owns the likes of Gucci, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent, on Friday March 27 revealed its sales and revenue fell of nearly 15%, with Burberry Group Plc. Noting on March 19 that its retail sales dropped between 40% and 50%, in comparison to the previous six weeks.

 “In a particularly uncertain environment, the Group will maintain a strategy focused on the preservation of the value of its brands, supported by the exceptional quality of its products and reactivity of its teams,” LVMH shared in a statement. The “[outbreak’s] impact cannot be accurately calculated at this time without knowing the timing of a return to normal in these countries.”

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Chanel Pledges To Produce Face Masks For Lack of Prevention

Chanel is the latest luxury household to pivot to face mask and protective gear manufacturing in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

In a recently released statement, Chanel observed: “[T]oday we are mobilizing our workforce and our partners […] to produce protective masks and blouses.” The storied fashion maison is currently developing prototypes, which will be sent out to relevant health organizations once approved by French authorities.

The brand also remarked that it would not be laying off any of its 4,500 employees as a result of the pandemic. 

Chanel is an anomaly among fashion labels for not being held by luxury conglomerate such as LVMH or Kering S.A. However, Chanel steps along rivals Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, and Prada to ensure there are enough medical supplies to prevent lack cross-globally.  

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Vogue Italia Lands A Blank Canvas For Its April Issue

Vogue Italia’s April issue was recently released, landing a blank canvas as a response to the development of Covid-19 crisis. Emanuele Farneti, Vogue Italia’s Editor-in-Chief, confirmed on Instagram that though the April issue was already in the works, it was shelved quickly to make a more appropriate response to present circumstances.

Farneti also remarked: “to speak of anything else – while people are dying, doctors and nurses are risking their lives and the world is changing forever – is not the DNA of Vogue Italia.” Farneti says the white colour epitomises respect, rebirth, the uniforms of health of medical workers on the front line and a blank canvas for new beginnings. 

As Vogue makes it clear, fashion upholds major risks and crisis with this pandemic, with independent households forced to pivot in production and protective gear, to step towards a final downfall of the virus. 

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Giorgio Armani’s open letter to fashion

Published this week on WWD an open letter by the pen of Maestro Giorgio Armani to the world of fashion. After being one of the very first one leaders to recognize the danger of the pandemic, showing his new collection behind closed doors during Milan Fashion Week, donating 2 ml euros to the local hospitals for research and cure, Armani also converted his manufacturing facilities in Italy to produce single use-disposable gowns, leading by example in this global fight against COVID- 19.

Giorgio Armani Julian Broad

The reflection explores, in Giorgio’s words this “absurd” current state of affairs exposing a world where fashion industry has fallen in “a criminal nonalignment between the weather and the commercial season” in a frenetic pursue of fast fashion.

The decline began when we pursued fast fashion

He continues on stating that the slow down forced by the pandemic is bringing to light a necessary redemption of value to the work and world of designers, which would ultimately bring the customers to the understanding of the value of fashion and its collections.

“The decline of the fashion system as we know it began when the luxury segment adopted the operating methods of fast fashion, mimicking the latter’s endless delivery cycle in the hope of selling more, yet forgetting that luxury takes time, to be achieved and to be appreciated. Luxury cannot and must not be fast. It makes no sense for one of my jackets or suits to live in the shop for three weeks before becoming obsolete, replaced by new goods that are not too different.”

Luxury takes time

Giorgio Armani’s creations as we know them are the indisputable symbol of timeless elegance. This pause is giving the world a chance to renew the pace of proposing ideas to the world especially giving the chance to refocus on production cycles and seasons, allowing to a more livable and therefore quality-driven fashion. 

It is a moment of reflection that calls for a more ethical approach to fashion.

Timeless Elegance

“I don’t work like that, and I find it immoral to do so. I have always believed in an idea of ​​timeless elegance, which is not only a precise aesthetic code, but also an approach to the design and making of garments that suggests a way of buying them: to make them last. For the same reason, I find it absurd that, in the middle of winter, one can only find linen dresses in the shops and alpaca coats in the summer, for the simple reason that the desire to purchase must be satisfied immediately.”

Who buys an item to put it in the closet waiting for the right season? None or just a few, I believe. But this, driven by department stores, has become the dominant mind-set, which I think is wrong and needs to change.

This crisis is an opportunity to slow down and realign everything; to define a more meaningful landscape. I have been working with my teams for three weeks so that, after the lockdown, the summer collections will remain in the boutiques at least until the beginning of September, as it is natural. And so we will do from now on.”

Slow down and realign

“Special events should happen for special occasions, not as a routine.” The expense of a grandiose show far surpasses and is no longer justifiable especially when, according to Armani, it carries just a mediocre message. The letter denounces a scenario where too much is spent on “vulgar” displays of “mild ideas”; the designer reinforces his invitation to focus on slow-paced high-quality measured communication adding on to the message of focusing on authenticity to “regain human dimension”

“It is nice to see that in this sense we are all united. For retail, this will be an important stress test. I want to send my heartfelt encouragement to the American fashion operators for the difficult weeks they will face ahead. United, we will make it. But we have to be united and operate in unison: This is perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from this crisis.

United we will make it

Giorgio Armani

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Ralph Lauren Provides $10 Million In Donations To Combat Covid-19 Crisis

Ralph Lauren donates $10 Million to help in combating coronavirus crisis. The sum, extended via the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, will go towards the company’s employees in need, as well as global communities impacted by the pandemic. 

The recently-turned knight, together with the Foundation’s president Patrice Louvet, declared the pledge to WWD. “We believe that no matter who you are or where you are from, we are all connected. That is why we are taking significant action to help our teams and communities through this crisis,” Lauren remarked.

“We recognize that this is an unprecedented multifaceted crisis that demands different responses for different needs in different places,” Louvet continued. “That is why we are funding multiple activities to support our teams, our partners and our communities around the world.”

$10 million has reportedly been planned to go towards various programs, from financial grants for Ralph Lauren employees to the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Fund. In addition, Lauren has committed in supplying medical equipment such as 25,000 isolation gowns and 250,000 masks. 

Elsewhere, the company pledged that it will be closing stores and hospitality locations in selected countries until further notice. The wellbeing of our teams, friends, and family around the world is what matters most right now.” The announcement has been shared via a few Instagram posts, featured below. 

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Brooks Brothers Responds To National Call For Supplies To Aid Medical Workers (And Wider Demographics) In Need

Brook Brothers (also known as the “Company”), America’s oldest retailer, announced its response to the urgent call from the White House and other state leaders for medical supplies.

The Company is in the process of converting its New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts factories from manufacturing ties, shirts and suits to now making masks and safety gowns. Brooks Brothers plans to utilise these facilities to produce up to 150,000 masks per day, on a continuous basis to help increase protective gear for medical workers and wider demographic battling the spread of Covid-19, both at the nation’s hospitals and other facilities. The company pledged to be soon producing gowns. 

Over the past two weeks, the Company has been in direct contact with Federal and State officials, task forces, several hospital systems and other municipalities and organisations.

As part of this effort, Brook Brothers has built an extensive liaison with Stop the Spread, a coalition of volunteer CEOs working in Washing D.C. and around the U.S., to legitimise and support government actions in relation to Covid-19. 

The company has also teamed with leading universities recognised as centres for excellence for both textiles and technology in order to develop prototypes. Brooks Brothers has been working hand-in-hand with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration service to expedite the approval process. 

For over 200 years, Brooks Brothers has been at the forefront of tackling some of the nation’s most critical issues – from its support o he Red Cross society in 1898 – to crafting U.S. military uniforms from the Civil War through today. The Company currently supports numerous national and local charities with a focus on health and welfare. 

“We consider this a duty, and part of our DNA at Brooks Brothers, remarked Claudio Del Vecchio, Chief Executive Officer. “These are challenging times that are impacting us all. We are deeply grateful to the medical personnel at the frontlines who are fighting the pandemic, and we are honoured to do our part and join our peers in retail to provide protective masks that our health care system critically needs.

I also want to thank our dedicated manufacturing employees who are returning to work as we reopen our factories to make this possible.”

Adding up to the 150,000 masks crafted per day, Brooks Brothers expects to begin producing protective gowns. And for marking the product start, Brooks Brother’s factory personnel are set to return to their job this week following a two-week precautionary self-quarantine.

The company is closely following public health guidance and will enforce federal guidelines for sanitation and social distancing across all facilities to protect the welfare of its staff members. 

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Italian Luxury Label Gucci Donates €2 Million To Facilitate Support For Coronavirus Pandemic

After the entire fashion world has placed major shifts towards supporting and backing Covid-19 turmoil, Gucci is the latest fashion house to pledge a lump-sum donation to battle against spreading coronavirus.

Based in Italy, where the epidemic has implemented huge havoc, the luxury label announced a 1 Million euros donation to the Italian Civil Protection Department (Protezione Civile) in partnership wit Intesa Sanpaolo and an additional million-euro sum to the United Nations Foundations Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Gucci solicits its consumers and followers to join to help in raising financial backing to combat the pandemic. Those interested can help donating to the Solidarity Response Fund for WHO through the “donate” feature on Gucci’s website.

Moreover, Gucci is offering its social media accounts, owning over 70 million followers, to the World Health Organization to tackle public health information that could protect the health of the community. 

Gucci’s President and CEO Marco Bizzarri and Creative Director Alessandro Michele remarked: ““This pandemic calls us to an unexpected task, but it is a call to which we respond decisively, advocating the selfless work carried out by health workers, doctors and nurses on the front lines every day in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in Italy and in the rest of the world.

Their generosity and courage light our way forward in these difficult days. By supporting each other and helping those who are most vulnerable among us, we will be able to overcome this crisis: united, even more than before.”

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Apple Tackles Covid-19 Safety Through A New App Launch: Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Apple has launched a new app and website for users in the United States, in order to deliver accurate and reliable information regarding the Covid-19 condition.

The digital portal allows users to answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposures and symptoms for both themselves and their beloved ones. In turn, they will garner recommendations on steps that follow, together with guidance on social distancing and self-isolating measures, how symptoms should be monitored, whether or not a test is suggested, and when to contact medical wellbeing.  

It should be feasible that Apple remarks that the program is designed to be a source for individuals and does not replace instructions from medical providers or guidance from public health authorities.The Apple Covid-19 website and app were created in partnership with the CDC, 1 the White House Coronavirus Task Force and FEMA. Click here for more.

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“Beat the virus with creativity” 8 Questions to Mauro Porcini

Mauro Porcini joined Pepsi in 2012 as its first ever Chief Design Officer. Living in NYC and Italian native, he shares with us his experience during the Covid-19 epidemic. Mauro is an expert in design as well as global branding, a supporter of the Made in Italy and Italian style.  We have asked his view, experience and a message for businesses and individuals during this global pandemic.

  1. Who has been or is inspiration and reference for you? 

First of all my parents, though I may sound pretty obvious, probably for many. I took for granted for a long time. They taught me the importance of culture, of knowledge and of learning with curiosity. Culture was the most important thing in my family, and they passed on the love for it, leading by example. They studied, they read and they were interested in anything that was relevant. They were in owe of and loved people with culture: University teachers and people in television that somehow were showcasing that level of culture. 

One very important value they taught was the need of being a good person. They are devoted Catholic, very Christian, very religious. My father is an architect and a painter, so I was surrounded by paintings in my house. So that was a great inspiration for me on the art side, and as a kid, I could draw very well. So it was really fun for me to draw with him and learn all kinds of techniques. 

My mother instead was in love with literature, writing and reading and she loves writing poems with religious backgrounds and content. 
Still today they work together to publish daily paintings and thoughts online. You know, my parents are totally non technological but they figured out how to create a blog. They self-published different books, paintings, sketches with poems. They have been such an inspiration all my life.

2. Your personal definition of design and how did you apply it in your professional experiences?

Design is all about people. It’s all about understanding the needs and wants of people. Therefore, understanding what is important, what is relevant, what is meaningful to people, and then creating solutions. It could be a product, a service, a brand, an experience: all solutions that solve those needs and those wants, those desires and dreams. This is what designers do.

To do that, we need to understand three dimensions. One is the world of the human beings, psychology and anthropology. Semiotic and semantic, hence understanding people. Second dimension is business: how to do branding, distribution, how to work with your customers: it is important because once you understand those needs, you also need to find a way to create solutions that can be sold. Third dimension is technology: the one of the product, to manufacture the product. 

The product needs to be feasible, sellable and you need to have the right technologies to do all of that. The connection between people, strategies slash business and technology is the key to create solutions that are meaningful to people to their needs and wants. Design is all about people and is all about fulfilling those needs, and those ones in a meaningful way. 

3. How do you live in New York and how does it influence your work? What are the other places that inspire or relax you?

I deeply Love NY, I define it as the capital of capitals. People all around the world come to NY to do business, to create and inspire. There is a density of unbelievable people with great ideas and unbelievable drive to change the world that you cannot find in any other city in the world. This makes NY an amazing “piazza” where people with ideas meet people with resources to make things possible.

Having this density of people with amazing ideas, drive and energy to make things happen is very inspiring, but at the same time could be draining. You always have the desire to be out and join and meet these people that can inspire you. 

To balance this out I have a house where I can escape in nature 2 hours away from the city, in the Hamptons. I love waking up and seeing deers in the garden and the sound of the fireplace crackling. In my life I have always been in a sort of suspension between two worlds: on one side a full energy of the city and on the other the full energy of nature, I love them both and a balance of two is what I feel comfortable with.

4.  How are you facing the coronavirus situation and which stereotypes or preconceptions would you like to fight?

Mauro takes a deep breath and sighs, and I know he is gearing up to deliver his honest opinion with most empathy. If you follow Mauro on his IG account you already know his posts are often filled with social involvement messages and human sensitivity. The impact of coronavirus issue, the healthcare shortage of staff and gear, the impact that this pandemic has on our country and the others, is one that he has deeply at heart.

The Corona virus situation is absolutely mind blowing in so many different ways. Nobody expected it. Nobody understands how to face it: it’s scary and difficult to understand. The problem is that many people are underestimating the magnitude of this crisis.

As an Italian living in New York my message is “Wake up! This is not just something happening in Italy”. 

Italy has the second-best performing healthcare system in the planet according to the World Health Organization. The US is far behind: there are by far less hospital beds per person than Italy.  

My thoughts and my prayer go to all the families and all the individuals that have been and will be impacted by this. We need to make sure we are safe as individuals, families and if we have teams and companies is necessary to prioritize the safety of our people. We also need to find ways to maintain the basic business needs, in specific industries in particular: healthcare system, food and beverage, production and delivery, the production of any safety equipment, as well as information and entertainment.

The solution is to stay home. Many of us will need to be in the front line fighting this virus. Some of us may be able to work remotely, while many other will not.

Try to better yourself, to do something to grow: You have an amazing opportunity to invest your time. “Beat this virus with creativity. 

In my case: I’m reading multiple books that I was planning to read and I never had time for, I started drawing again. I’m also writing my book. Actually, I’ve been writing this book for years. But now I am full on dedicated to it.

My goal is to grow and become better as a professional and also as a human being. So this is how I’m reacting to this virus and how I’m fighting it.

5. Your message of solidarity and energy to overcome this moment 

My message of solidarity is: Beat the virus with Creativity. 

As I mentioned already, we are living a tragedy with a very heavy death toll, but we also have the unique opportunity of getting time back in our life to slow down, invest on yourself and grow as a human being by learning new things. Read as much as you can. In brief do something that you always wanted to do, but you never had the time to.

This is how we’re going beat this virus from an emotional level. Obviously, you know, we still need to fight obviously this virus in a more practical way and contain it.

Let us use creativity to better ourselves, to grow and eventually share it also with others in order to inspire as many people as possible in this moment of difficulty.

6. Let’s talk about Made in Italy, of which you are a big supporter, and specifically how the role of the designer in future business in a world where the impact and physical interaction seems to be less and less prevalent?

A designer is a creator of meaning. A designer is somebody that understand the needs and wants of people and creates solutions. In the past those solutions were often material, and the material we were working with was wood, metal, or leather. These materials will stay in the future as well, obviously, you know, as there will always be a place for physical things. 

Today, there is a new material that designers can play with and need to play with and it is bytes and gigabytes of information that you can translate in so many different ways: videos, digital content, all those megabytes of information the fly in the air.

As yourself: how does communication among devices work? what is the user interface and how do products connect with each other creating dialogue with each other? how do human beings connect with those products from their smart thermostats to wearable technology to their smart phone or device of the future that will interact with their home and their clothing and car. We design the connection of all these devices. Even when is intangible we design the way you interact with them and how user friendly, intuitive, simple to use it is. We design something that at the end of the day can be synthetized and defined as an experience and therefore there is a physical component of it and there is also an intangible component of it

At the end of the day, however, we do exactly what the designers of the past were doing. We understand people, their needs, their wants, and we create solutions that are meaningful for them, where material is not just wood metal or plastic but also intangible as bytes and the intangible experience of people with these contents made of bytes and these physical products that some how carry, receive or send the contents away.

7. Have you traveled the world to educate brands and their professionals on best practices : an advice to brands in this moment of stalemate and crisis?

My recommendation to any brand around the world right now is to be sensitive and be part of the global conversation. Create a content that is authentic. It needs to be aligned to your brand promise, to what you stand for. It needs to be relevant to your target audience. Be part of the conversation, have a specific message that invokes energy and positivity or offer solutions that can be informative or entertaining. Offer value to your audience in a way that is informative, entertaining and authentic as possible, aligned to your promise, to your positioning and with the tonality that is typical of your brands.

8. Last but not least Mauro let’s talk about YOUR SHOES. you left NY temporarily to stay at home in the Hamptons, to stay at home, retreat and to contribute and rightly follow the guidelines dictated by the concept of “Social Distancing” as a weapon to combat the spread of this terrible virus. Are your beloved shoes (from you and us) now in quarantine?

My shoes, I miss my shoes in New York! I have my emergency collection you know, Here in America some people have collections of tomatoes and flowers and cookies and chips to use this in case of catastrophes, I have that and my shoes, about 50 pairs of them. It is you know My emergency collection!

 “In this way,you know, while the other pairs, stay in New York resting and being safe, I will just as safely, enjoy this smaller collection here. “ 

He jokes about it, but truly Mauro is a lover of shoes and he has a collection of approx. 350 shoes, 50 of which now in quarantine with him, the rest back in his apt in NYC.. 

We wish Mauro to be safely reunited with his beloved quarantined shoes soon, curious to see what he will design next, and we wish all of you to stay safe, stay in and work on a better future by utilizing Creativity to beat the virus! 

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