Versace-verse: A Look Behind The Brand
November 11, 2019/ Katerina Mangini
While the closest most of us will ever get to touching anything Versace is browsing through the drool-worthy designs online, Riccardo Persona gives us an inside look at the brand through his job as Vice President of Retail and Merchandising across the EMEA. Fashion dreamers: get your eyes ready and your minds open because you’re about to read the true success story of someone deep in the world of one of the most famous high-ends brands in the world.
Riccardo Persona’s career began when he was still attending university at the young age of 20 years old. Starting as a part time sales associate, Riccardo was spotted at work by the head of La Perla — an Italian luxury brand — and was asked to become the store manager of two of the brand’s locations near Rome. Riccardo’s retail journey did not stop there. He went on to work for Apple, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Coach and, currently, Versace.
When you were younger, did you always want to have a job in fashion, or did you have another dream?
“Well, I did not dream about [a] fashion job, but I always loved people and beautiful products. I’ve always been attracted to high quality products.”
Throughout the interview, Riccardo continued to emphasize the importance of being surrounded by people in his work life, as well as his central goal of being a leader. He stated that even as a part time sales associate, his natural inclination was to lead others. Riccardo values the opportunities he has gained from the fashion industry, such as constantly learning new things, meeting new people and being able to travel the world and discover other cultures. Ah, the sweet life! When asked about his fashion inspiration, Riccardo answered “DONATELLA [Versace]! Obviously,” because of her authenticity and ability to “stay so contemporary as time passes by.” Even Riccardo, someone who works directly in her office, is one of her #1 fans, just like the rest of us. Now THAT is a supportive work team.
What do you recommend for younger generations that are interested in following in the same path that you took?
“Follow your gut feeling – always listen to your inner self, [it] will guide you right!”
“Drive for results – no one has ever been promoted without achieving significant results.”
“Be authentic – you will never have a proper career if you are not authentic – this industry is all about people and you need to be able to connect and inspire them and the only way to do it, it’s to be authentic.”
Through using the tools that come naturally to you, such as leadership, organization or creativity, Riccardo encourages those with aspirations to succeed in the fashion industry to do so by staying true to themselves. It might sound cliché, but Riccardo is the perfect example of this motto. He is working as the VP of retail and merchandising at Versace, and is STILL working towards becoming better. A true dedication to his art.
Although Riccardo has made immense strides through his journey inside of the fashion industry, he still has goals like the rest of us. One day, he does not only want to become the CEO of a small fashion company, but he wants to, “inspire employees and customers with not only our product, but with our philosophy of life, our culture and our values.” Sticking to following his advice for younger generations within the fashion industry, Riccardo plans on succeeding to his highest potential through his own personal authenticity and raw passion for people and well-made products.
“I will get there one day.”
Yes you will, Riccardo. And, hopefully, so will we. •
by: Katerina Mangini
graphics: Isabella Droz