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Born in Naples, emigrated in London; a gypsy soul and an introverted traveller. Giotto Calendoli is sophisticated and effortless in everything he does and harbours the epitome of Italian style. Known for his modern and gritty approach to the classic aesthetic and after founding his blog, it wasn’t long until he established himself in the fashion scene working alongside the biggest luxury brands as a content creator – something most people only dream of.

Boasting over 130,000 followers on Instagram, ICON caught up with the creative following his first art exhibition. Taking place in Milan, its success went hand-in-hand with the launch of his first label “Handle with Freedom”. In other words, the guy can’t be stopped.

ICON: Giotto you are a free spirit and it is strongly expressed into your style and art. Have you always been like that or did something shift in your vision?

Being free is the key to expressing yourself.”

Giotto Calendoli: “Being free is the key to expressing yourself. It took a while to understand it, but as in everything, things take time to evolve but, above all, you should never cease to analyse yourself and love yourself. That’s how I started to discover who I am and what I really want to do in my life.”

ICON: You recently hosted your first art exhibition. What did you intend to communicate through your art? How do you expect your viewers to react to it? You incorporate a lot of life “quotes” and I can see myself in lots of them, like they are connected to past experiences…

GC: “Yes, I hosted my first art exhibition during the Milan design week. The exhibition was called ‘Hajime’, meaning ‘BEGINNING’ in English.”

“The concept of the exhibition was just the beginning, the beginning of an inspection of the new generation. Selfishness, fears and prejudices, memories of a past that can often cover your wings. So I wanted to enclose everything around us in one word, the society we live in with all the pros and cons and also personal experiences in which we all can reflect ourselves throughout canvases, installations, inspired by my last trip in Japan. What a trip! I can’t wait for the next one…”

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ICON: Do you have the ultimate spot you would paint. The “dream spot’?

GC: “I would love to paint an entire building! I don’t have one in particular, but I would certainly do it in a classic building with a typical Milanese courtyard. Now I’ve made myself want to do it. F***k, they will arrest me…”

ICON: I know that these days, coming up with something fresh is hard considering how crowded the market is, but your vision is so effortless and balanced. Your motto, “Handle with freedom” is in everything you do basically and now in your first label. When did you start planning this? What is the biggest obstacle you found on the way?

“Simplicity is the most difficult thing, as much as we take it for granted.”

GC: “As you said, today considering the market is full of everything you could possibly want, the thing that has always pushed me to create a brand is due to the difficulty of finding something simple. Simplicity is the most difficult thing, as much as we take it for granted. But that’s my message, the story behind the brand. I don’t want to be one of the many, who follow the trends of the moment by selling clothes without a soul. I want to tell a story, I want to take the customers by the hand, accompanying them in my world, a free world where you can feel free to express yourself at best by getting out of the flock of sheep that pursue what the market requires to follow. What’s the root of my brand? A brand that doesn’t follow any trend, a no-gender brand, a brand for those who dare to wear their own trend. Maybe this is the biggest obstacle to face, but if you believe in what you do, you can do it. It will take time but I can wait.”

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ICON: Artist, luxury content creator, fashion designer. Is the work balanced or is there something you would like to focus more on?  

GC: “At the moment this is enough since I was also a consultant for different brands but I had to stop. I believe in doing more than one thing but doing it at the most. One day I will resume my passion for cooking, who knows. I live in the present by continuing to walk my way, trusting and blindly believing in destiny.”

You can follow ICON’s Street Editor, Roberto Malizia on instagram