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Hating, Loving and Succeeding in Fashion - a Talk with George Serventi

"It doesn’t come as a surprise that he predicted the blank cover of a Vogue issue on his Instagram on the 23rd of March, just for Vogue Italia to later announce that their April issue will be all white."

Recently written about by Vogue, Paper Magazine and Elle, to mention a few, George Serventi is the young, award-nominated fashion journalist behind #HomeCouture, SKIP Dinner, and a treasure of avant-garde fashion memes. He is a breath of fresh (and daring) air in a fashion industry he considers to take itself too seriously. It's fair to say that Serventi is unafraid of controversy and of speaking out.

We talked to him about his unique attitude towards the industry and what he hates about it, but also about how to succeed as a fashion writer and why these quarantine times could be the perfect moment for newcomers to enter the industry.

Serventi went from being a lazy student of fashion design - who came to London just to go clubbing -to graduating from a Fashion Communication course and becoming a successful journalist. George Serventi’s relationship with the fashion industry is a love-hate one all the way, and one thing is for sure, he is not putting fashion on a pedestal.

- I hate that people are so obsessed with being cool. I hate that people spend too much money on clothes and I hate the nepotism. A lot of people who are working in fashion are doing so because their parents did, or just because it’s a “cool” industry, without having any real interest in fashion.

Although Serventi has published multiple intriguing works focused on said downsides of fashion, the current reason he’s on everyone’s lips is his hashtag #HomeCouture, which has sparked creative recreations of haute couture looks from quarantined people all over the world.

Serventi himself impressed the masses with his recreations of a stunning Molly Goddard dress, a Comme des Garçons look made entirely of inflated plastic bags, and a charming John Galliano paper doll style piece. While some people find it hard staying inspired in isolation, Serventi is clearly not one of them.

- I was just at home, thinking ‘what would be a fun way to bring people together?’ I can get quite crafty, so I thought I’d have a go with recreating some haute couture looks, and it worked out pretty well, he says.

If you scroll through his Instagram feed (@skipdin), be prepared to spend some time glued to your screen. Besides the reposts of captivating #HomeCouture looks, you’ll come across straightforward and unafraid humour at the expense of all the big shots in the fashion industry.

Whether it’s Virgil Abloh, Donatella Versace, or Chanel’s lack of imagination that takes a hit, Serventi doesn’t hesitate to air his opinions in a sharp and merciless way. The same approach can be seen in his own magazine SKIP Dinner, which he reveals got its name from the Carrie Bradshaw quote ‘When I was totally broke, sometimes I bought Vogue instead of dinner. I just felt it fed me more’.

- I think I have definitely lost jobs because of my tone on social media and in SKIP Dinner in the past. Some people don’t like it and don’t want to work with me because of it, he confirms when asked if he’s afraid of offending people in a way that will affect his work.

- A lot of people don’t like it and a lot of people do like it. It has opened doors for me as well as pissed some people off. That’s what it’s about anyway – it’s my honesty. I mean, if you’re not going for it, then there’s no point.

Filled with satirical content, the platform SKIP Dinner is enriched with thorough articles and interviews, featuring both up-and-coming and well-experienced people from the fashion field. It aims for the ‘young fashion insiders’ as its audience, putting certain aspects of the fashion industry under a magnifying glass, while also being interactive, Serventi explains.

At SKIP Dinner, not only can you browse through Serventi’s own illustrations and read fascinating fashion stories – you can also find out through a test if you’re a “fashion perv”, combine fragments of iconic fashion looks into something new with the tool ‘Swipe right’, or cure your writer’s block with a headline generator. The latter might be something useful for those striving to succeed as fashion journalists, which we can undoubtedly say that Serventi has done. Along with regularly having his articles published in i-D, Dazed, and LOVE Magazine, in 2019 he was rewarded with a nomination for the British Fashion Council’s NEW WAVE award. When we talked about how to make it as a fashion writer, he underlined the significance of doing something unique.

- I think it’s important to have a niche and something about you that stands out. Personally, I work a lot with humour, and I also do illustrations, which is something not a lot of people do in fashion journalism. It goes hand in hand with my writing. Some people might have a really in-depth fashion history knowledge, or even just a nuance take that makes them special. But underlying all that is hard work. Trying new things all the time and push your boundaries, but most importantly don't be afraid to fail.

Serventi continues to express what he thinks mainstream fashion journalism is missing, and what he is trying to contribute with.

- I rarely read fashion magazines, they haven’t really been pushing the boundaries in the last few decades. I try to do something that people are actually interested in, something opinionated, unafraid, original and exciting.

That is what he considers to be the key to success, and what has made it possible for him to work in a role he is passionate about. Moreover, due to the state of the world, he unexpectedly sees a big opportunity for newcomers to get their breakthrough in fashion journalism. Due to the coronavirus and quarantine, big productions and photo shoots, that are usually the core of established fashion magazines, will not be possible to carry out. Thus, space is suddenly created for innovative people who want to start out in the industry.

- If fashion magazines can’t be filled with photos in a few months like they used to, they’ll have to work in different ways and find new kinds of content, Serventi argues.

Although a lot that Serventi says should be taken with a sense of humour, his advice is to be listened to, and his accurate portrayals of the fashion world (through both mockery and praise) are mesmerizing. It doesn’t come as a surprise that he predicted the blank cover of a Vogue issue on his Instagram on the 23rd of March, just for Vogue Italia to later announce that their April issue will be all white. Serventi thinks more special editions are to come, which will open up the playingfield for newcomers to get their work published and make their grand debut in the fashion world.

- This, he says, is the time!

Cornelia Falknäs

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