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How I got here - Silvano Vangi

Luxury etailer Luisa Via Roma’s head womenswear buyer puts his success down to hard work and humility.

What does your diary look like today?

I’m taking a train to Milan [from Florence where the company is based] where I have six appointments scheduled and lunch with womenswear designer Fausto Puglisi.

Which meeting are you most looking forward to today?

Our appointment at the Alexander McQueen showroom. Sarah Burton, the head designer, has managed to find the perfect balance between the late Alexander McQueen’s incredible creativity and what is required of the brand in order to attain commercial success. It’s always a pleasure to see clothes that make women look so beautiful.

Which meeting do you wish you could postpone?

None of them, because the truth is that I love what I do. The problem is that I just need a 48-hour day in order to fit everything in.

How did you get to where you are today?

Through a deep passion for aesthetics and the world of fashion, a lot of hard work and a sizeable dose of determination and humility.

What has been your career highlight?

The launch of the new collections each season is always a highlight, as it’s the moment when you get to see months and months of hard work materialise and take form. Another was the creation of the Pug Dogs for Happy Kids charitable project. Luisa Via Roma, Unicef and historic German soft toy manufacturer Steiff collaborated to create a collection of 20 one-of-a-kind pug dog toys, each one customised by a different designer. Having the opportunity to listen to the feedback from the designers who took part in the project was a priceless sensation.

If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?

I’m really pleased with the way my career has progressed. However, in my experience I’ve not always been lucky enough to find trustworthy people … c’est la vie. 

Who is your mentor?

It would have to be Andrea Panconesi, the chief executive of Luisa Via Roma. He is a great teacher. His professionalism will stay with me for the rest of my life.

What was the best piece of advice he ever gave you?

To make your work a source of fun.

How do you see your career progressing?

I’ve been closely involved in the growth of over the past 10 years, and I’d like to continue to have fun and take part in the expansion of the company.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

To be very passionate about the fashion industry but in an objective way. Appreciate its ability to balance between a form of art and a powerful business. Start by working in a store to gain insight into market trends, seeing what and how shoppers buy.

If you could work in another area of fashion, where would it be?

It would be advertising and communications. I’ve always loved the aesthetics of photography and marketing, and because of this one of the most enjoyable parts of my work is working on Luisa Via Roma’s special projects.

Salaries for this position range from £75,000 to £90,000 (estimate provided by Freedom Recruitment)


2006 Head womenswear buyer, Luisa Via Roma

2003 Assistant buyer, Luisa Via Roma

2003 Sales and visual merchandising, Luisa Via Roma

1995 Sales person, visual merchandiser and assistant buyer, Lori fashion group

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