Officially based in Milan but actually spending most of his time on planes, Marcelo Burlon trots around the globe as a much sought-after creative director, photographer, nightlife wizard and much more.
Knowing too well that one has to think local but act global, Burlon operates under the moniker County of Milan: a blender of fashion, music, nightlife, extreme beauty, and now a complete clothing line. He has recently produced a capsule collaboration collection with G-Shock, redesigning the G-Shock GA-100 with his signature Navajo snake skin prints, which gave us the chance to talk to him about his creative roots, subcultures and where he calls home.
FLUX: You do lots of collaborations. How do you choose which collaborations you take on?
MARCELO BURLON: When I do a collaboration, I look for something that I wear first. For example, I’m always wearing bomber jackets so I chose to work with Alpha Industries and also the blankets I did with Pendleton in Oregon. Every time I do a collaboration it is something that I wear first, or that is related to my work somehow. G-Shock for example, is a brand that reminds me of when I was a teenager back in Argentina, when I used to have a G-Shock watch all the time. It means we can talk to the same audience somehow.
FLUX: Where in the world do you call home?
MARCELO BURLON: There are two places – actually there are three places. The first is Patagonia where my home town is. It’s a hippy village in the middle of lakes and mountains which is a very special place. My second home is Milan because it is where I grew up and it is the place that allowed me to express myself and become a man. And then Ibiza. It’s a place where I feel at home because it’s a place where I go every year with my best friends from May to October. It’s not just about clubbing, it’s more about going to the beach, smoking good weed and having a nice life.
FLUX: Can you ever separate the different creative genres you work in?
MARCELO BURLON: It’s all one thing. It’s a lifestyle more than a brand and it’s all related, everything from music to graphics to the street.
FLUX: So your own collection and the prints in particular are almost digital goth. Is that side of your design inspired by the party scene?
MARCELO BURLON: Digital goth, what’s goth?
FLUX: So goth is the dark eyeliner, leather trench coats, black hair…
MARCELO BURLON: Aahh gothic, gothic. Yeah, I mean I grew up in the 90s, having ecstasy and dancing house music. Can we say that?
FLUX: It’s up to you, you check with your PR.
MARCELO BURLON: Simply yes, simply yes. I’m my own PR actually [laughter]. So you know that gothic, that dark side of the moon. It’s part of me and part of my people. Maybe part of my generation somehow you know, from the music to the way we dress. I think there is a little dark side and it could also be romantic as well.
FLUX: So how did you go about bringing your style into the collaboration with G-Shock?
MARCELO BURLON: For G-Shock I used the Navajo snake motif, which is one of my classics. It’s a powerful animal which is something that I always work with, and I think the snakes are very powerful and a little dark as well if you like.
FLUX: You’re an international creative, where do you look for inspiration within that?
MARCELO BURLON: Mostly travelling but usually when I go back to Argentina I like to go very deep, from the esoteric symbols of the natives of Patagonia or the club scene, but mostly travelling around. Also my friends are a big inspiration.
FLUX: Where do you like to travel for pleasure, not work.
MARCELO BURLON: For pleasure, Australia was amazing, I went there a couple of times. Tokyo is something that I really enjoy every time. I like to go to the mountains to ski or surfing in Brazil where in the North there are very small villages, like fisherman villages.
FLUX: When and how did you get into party organising? Was it in Italy?
MARCELO BURLON: That was in Italy when I was 16 years old and I used to work in a shoe factory with my entire family. I found the clubs were like a way to escape and that’s when I started working in clubs when I was 16, first on Sundays and then I started Fridays and Saturdays and it became my main job.
FLUX: Was that in Milan?
MARCELO BURLON: No that was in Riccione, a small town in the centre of Italy. All the area was a very famous for clubbing. People from all over the world used to come there in early 90s. Even Jean Paul Gautier or Marc Jacobs used to go there. We used to dress Jean Paul Gautier in the beginning, so that’s where I got into fashion as well.
FLUX: What was the first subculture you became interested in?
MARCELO BURLON: The first subculture was this skate world kind of thing, skateboarding and breakdancing. I wanted to be a dancer when I was young. So that was like the beginning of the first real interest that I had when I was like 10-11, 12.
FLUX: So are subcultures different now for you?
MARCELO BURLON: Subcultures today are…I don’t know if they exist still because they became more global. With internet all the kids now are more quick than before because they have everything and everything is super quick and super-fast so I don’t know. I think today everything is more generic, even if there are people who like certain types of music…I mean today even if I’m not a skater, I go to work with my skates…I don’t know. I think sometimes it’s an odd thing but it doesn’t mean that you have to properly do it or the opposite.
FLUX: Are there any artists, designers or musicians you are particularly keen on right now?
MARCELO BURLON: Let me think. I like so many different types of music from hip hop, Kendrick Lamar or FKA Twigs or Devendra Banhart; three different artists, totally different types of music. I love Argentinian folk music too, almost every day in my life. I grew up in the 90s with the house music so I’m also a DJ and I play electro, sometimes hip hop but mostly electro and deep house and there are so many DJs that I like. I also did a collaboration with David August who is a great producer, a resident DJ of DC10, Ibiza.
FLUX: What about fashion designers?
MARCELO BURLON: Fashion designers? I don’t really like fashion designers, I like the old ones like early Helmut Lang, but the ones today don’t really fit my taste so I’d rather spend my money with street wear and people like Palace or Supreme.