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The crisis of Coronavirus through the eyes of Italian creatives based in London

Interview to 7 Italian creative talents based in London

The crisis of Coronavirus through the eyes of Italian creatives based in London Interview to 7 Italian creative talents based in London

Everybody's talking about it: Coronavirus has defeated the world. This is a historical event with no precedents, especially for the digitalized world. In order to face the emergency, almost every Country's Government in the world is adopting the “Wuhan Model”,which is a model of quarantine that almost stopped the contagion in Wuhan (the first city ever reached by the virus). The consequences are - and will be - very serious, even for the creative industry. For example, Anna Wintour decided to postpone the legendary MET Gala, whilst Thierry Fremaux suspended the Festival de Cannes set in May, so it's happening to sports. It's not possible to predict the economic damages, though some brands (as Nike and adidas) say that it's going to be an enormous loss.

The problem is global. Right now, we're living in a world "with closed doors" (all the flights have been temporarily suspended). In this picture, there are a lot of young creative Italian professionals still living abroad: many of their projects shut down and they have to face the emergency while they're far from their families. nss magazine (virtually) "met"  some of them who are based in London and asked them how they're struggling with this crisis.

The reaction of Boris Johnson

Jessica Daolio, a stylist working between London and Milan, was in Italy when the Government first declared the quarantine. “Unfortunately (or maybe not) I was in Italy when Milano became a red zone in quarantine. Going back to London was stressful, I feared that my flight was going to be canceled or that I could have problems at the English border. I've been surprised seeing that in the UK they were not worried. I could have temperature and be sick, but they didn't care: there was no control at all.

In fact, the English Government was the last one to admit that the problem was real. Until a few days ago, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was skeptical about the decision of Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, while some TV "doctor" assumed that this was all an excuse made up by Italians to have a "siesta". This skepticism almost convinced Francesco Cucchi, DJ and producer also known as Nan Kolè (founder of the record label Gqom Oh!): “I'm always critic when it comes to Italy. My colleagues had the feeling that it all was an exaggeration: there is this stereotype that Italians always act a little more dramatic than them. But in the end, we all had to face the truth: English people have become greedy for toilet paper and potatoes, too.

The first measures adopted by the English Government were very different from the rest of the world, as explained by Martino Palamidesedigital entrepreneur: “Johnson's answer has been less crucial than Conte's: in the first time, they wanted to follow a herd policy, for which there wouldn't have been any restrictive obligation and that was conscious of the eventuality of somebody's loss. It was tragic, but he thought that the solution was to let the virus spread in order for our bodies to develop the antibodies by themselves. As the days went by, he finally understood that we needed extreme measures, too.

This is not going to be an easy solution, as pointed out by photographer Glauco Canalis: “In the beginning, Boris Johnson just closed schools, not any other activity. He suggested to stay home and to not go to pubs and discos, but it was up to us to decide whether to do it or not. Many of my friends canceled their plans just because they have good sense, not because they were forced. In that way, workers of every industry will not be covered by assurance and they're going to loose a lot of their money.

"Time is a luxury"

Self-isolating, I realized that I've lived in quarantine for a few years now!”, he jokes; “That made me doubt about my mental stability. I think I'm going to exercise at home, listening to some music and finish all he little projects that I've lately abandoned. That's my motto: mental, spiritual, and physical order.” Canalis is not the one trying to look at a the half-full glass: Daniele Coluccifashion designer and graphic teacher at Istituto Marangoni, is convinced that “this could become a helpful time to look into ourselves and find some peace”, while Francesca Foschi – storee manager at A.P.C.'s - thinks that her life would absolutely be different, “but not necessarily in a bad way. Time is a luxury.

Though in Italy there's been a real "exodus" of all the workers and students who live far from their families, none of these creatives has thought about coming back to mom and dad: “The only one who wanted it was my mamma!”, joked – but not so much – Cucchi. Federica Brunettihealth coach, was on the same spot: “Honestly, I never thought of turning to Italy. My father suggested me to do it, but London is my home now. Furthermore, it's important to remember that any travel in this time is very dangerous.

The consequences on the creative industry

It will be a hard time for freelancers: even in the UK there are no privileges or helps for people working like us”, said Canalis. And so said Palamidese: “I was about to launch my own startup about sustainability, but with this economic situation and the quarantine it will impossibile to go on with the project.” Daolio points out some important details about the future of the fashion industry: “For sure, a lot of the 2020 Resorts will stay unsold. That means that all the plans about Spring/Summer collections will be canceled, as well as the buyer's activities for 2020/21. There will be huge losses both for the boutiques and the brands, and many emerging designers will fail. I doubt that we will be even able to do the Fashion Week in June.

Brunetti is a little more optimist: “I don't want to have bad thoughts, on the contrary I want to believe that - once this epidemic is gone - we'll be more careful about our freedom, art and all of the little things and experiences around us.

"That splendid feeling of being bored"

I've always thought that our generation forgot the splendid feeling of being bored. When I was a teenager, from my boredom have born some of the most interesting things I've ever done, things that I lately turned into passions and work. Since we've started to massively use social media and smartphones, we entered a dimension full of stimulation and interactivity, but we forgot that we still have to possibility to stop for a moment to breathe and think about ourselves”, said Canalis.

In other words, the show must go on. “The worldwide web will be the main source for everyone of us who work with creativity”, said Colucci; “In the past few days, I noticed that Vogue Italia for the first time opened its archives for free: this is an incredible choice, that could be really helpful for most of us.” Cucchi also remembers that music can be a good company, too: “I'm listening to music to literally help my immune system and my emotivity. we're so lucky to have so many beautiful music, let's use it!

"Art is salvation"

Art feeds itself with tragedy, too. I'm thinking about Boccaccio's Decameron, set during the plague...”, said Foschi; “Art is always evolving, in search of creativity; it's always been a salvation for the human being, and it will be.

Among the impressive pictures of empty streets and places all over the world (Roma, Milano, Napoli, Parigi, then New York and San Francisco), Canalis turns puts on his photographer's mask and he notices that you can also “[...] see fishes finally coming back in Venezia, and dolphins swimming in the port of Cagliari. These images shattered my point of view.” He goes on: “After 09/11, I think that this will be the most significative event of our times. It will change everything. I've thought a lot about documenting it. My bike is ready to take me out and I want to explore the city.

I just hope that this time of crisis will give people the opportunity to stop and look at themselves, encouraging them to take their lives back on their hands with a more human perspective”, said Daolio; “In the end, money will come back.