Raimondo Rossi (aka Ray Morrison) was born in Perugia, in-between Rome and Florence in the Italian countryside, to a very traditional family.
In-person, he is an honest, warm, friendly, open-minded and down-to-earth person as his art.
He has been photographed by GQ, Rolling Stone, Vogue and The New York Times some of the world’s leading magazines and he is known for raising questions about perfection, and for giving visibility to beauty in every form.
Celebrity Raimondo Rossi is among the Hollywood A-listers at fashion shows.
American rapper Cryptic Wisdom reached out to Rossi to style one of his videos.
He loves Asian labels like Juun J. From the international legends, Rossi has a deep admiration for Alexander McQueen, whom he says connected with his emotions, and expressed these in his designs.
He’s fond of Greece and often visits it. He loves Greek cuisine, especially Moussaka, Tzatziki, Mezes and Baklava, which is difficult to find in Italy. He loves and reads Greek literature. He calls himself a philhellene. The Greek magazine Lifo featured Raimondo in an article about best-dressed men.
Is there fashion today?
I'd say it's a really interesting question. I would say definitely there is, as long as the fashion industry and turnover are growing, it means that fashion understood as an industry, is still very present and influential. I wouldn't say that I like it, I've always taken an independent position toward fashion and the messages and stereotypes it has always transmitted. But despite the fact that I don't really like the values that have been transmitted for decades, this does not detract from the power of this thriving industry. If instead, we think of fashion as creativity, I think it is increasingly rare to see designers who create collections that are born from the bottom of their souls. During the training period in fashion schools, there is always an eye to feasibility, insertion and positioning in the market.
Are men well-dressed or do they don’t follow fashion at all?
Men, fortunately, exist a bit of all type: those well-dressed and those who care less about the way they dress. Certainly, the place and the city where we grow up influence our relationship with fashion and everyday clothing. Four years ago, I directed a video in this regard, entitled “The Emotions Of Fashion”, which is visible on YouTube and talks a bit about this relationship between human beings and fashion that invests us from an early age. So somehow, I think both well-dressed and less well-dressed men still have a relationship with fashion. Who of love and who of annoyance, who of indifference and who of interest. Among those who feel interested or love, I would say that some men are very creative and interesting in their attitude. Personally, I love the ones that can play with multiple styles and not the ones that fit into one repeating style.
Tell us about the qualities that make you unique as a person.
You should ask this question to those who esteem me either in my work or in my personal life. What I am personally happy with is that I have always been and still be very independent of the obscure mechanisms that sometimes lie behind fashion and photography, and by obscure occult mechanisms I mean favouritism between friends, acquaintances or recommended ones, and I am happy to be a person who remains himself and is very available to everyone, whether I am in a city station and talking to the homeless, or I am at an important fashion event in front of some celebrities. I like to treat everyone with the same respect and be ready to listen to everyone.
What’s your perspective on fusing fashion photography with more personal in-depth photography?
I was terribly bored doing fashion reports talking about clothes or taking classic photographs with alluring poses after a year. From there on, my interest in behind-the-scenes stories was born, in the stories of the guys who went to walk for the fashion shows and then back to school, in the imperfections of the models before entering the scene. That's where I fused fashion and raw reality and formed my reportage style and photographic style. Fashion for its own sake leads nowhere.
Where did you draw your inspiration from for your most recent and last book titled “I don’t think the way you do”?
As I said just now, the passion for the truest stories and models' imperfections was born after doing classic fashion reportages. All this was combined with the episodes of bullying I had suffered as a child since I was very shy and chubby. From there came the idea of composing collections of portraits that showed how important it is not to follow stereotypes and at the same time to have good self-esteem and self-confidence. It doesn't matter anymore if we are thin or fat, transsexual or straight or gay, rebels or not; we all deserve to feel strong and respected.
What are some of your exceptional collaborations?
I would say that those that have been most exceptional for me are those that came when I was still starting to make myself known but I was just starting out. So, I would remember an artistic direction for the collection of the “Accademia di Costume e Moda” in Rome, which is one of the most important in the world, and the work with the American rapper Cryptic Wisdom, a niche rapper with a very interesting personal story and that I followed from long before he contacted me to take care of his styling for his new song. He contacted me and I was very happy; life brought me to know a person whose lyrics of his songs had helped me in my dark moments.
You’re an inspiration for many men around the world. How does it make you feel?
This makes me very happy because it means that the message I wanted to send has been received. I have never followed the “fashion of the season”, I went to an avant-garde event dressed in a classic way, or I went to Milan Fashion Week, which is usually very “modern”, dressed in a classic dandy style. This makes it clear that we can all create interesting styles without thinking about the moment's fashion. If this message has been partially received, this makes me very happy.
What were some of the challenges you had to face and managed to bring about?
I think the most important difficulties have come from within the world of fashion and photography. When a new person arrives in Italy no one is welcoming you, everyone is afraid that the new person might take away their job or somehow overtake them. So, there is a lot of backbiting and they all discourage you. No one sends you positive vibes and says “bravo you can do it” or “bravo your ideas are good”. In fact, maybe they try to steal them from you. These are the things that create the most difficult for those who passionately start something new in their life.
Do you have any plans you would like to share with us?
I can say that I am looking for the right place to be able to settle a little more in California and a little less in Italy, where I really like the sun and the dry days that accompany that place. I would also like to dedicate myself to portraiture outside the fashion world, and I don't mean only for celebrities but also for street reportage that brings me back into contact with very hard things. An imminent project, on the other hand, is a new collection for a very discriminated category, which will turn into a new publication, a new book.
Society has changed rapidly. Does it have lost parts of its aesthetics by creating other forms of necessities?
Undoubtedly society changes rapidly, but I believe that certain importance of aesthetics will always remain. It is true that needs a change, but if we think that in the metaverse there are cities where the houses in the most important neighbourhoods have all already been bought, it makes us think that aesthetics and appearance will continue to be important. Money is spent on buying a house in the metaverse near celebrities and going shopping in the metaverse with them. I also see this as a form of aesthetics and a frivolous appearance that human beings will continue to need. Luckily there is a part of human beings that cares less about aesthetics and thinks of more spiritual paths, but that's another story. Thank you Vassilios, it was nice talking to you. Greetings to all of your readers!