It’s official, this is without doubt the post which has taken me the longest time to write, ever. It’s taken about three months. I am annoyed at myself for taking this long but I do have a weak sort of defence...first defence: This is the first ‘proper’ interview I have ever conducted, in this case I did not ask the person to type out answers to my questions, I spoke to him, listened to him and wrote down the answers myself. Second defence: I know Adrian and although he is quite an honest, straight speaking person, he has a multi-dimensional character and set of different skills which have made his life within the local fashion industry extremely interesting….capturing all this in words wasn't the easiest of tasks and I can be a bit of a perfectionist....however, at some point you must publish...and with this in mind…
Meet Adrian J Mizzi the founder of our fashion week, fashion awards, Venere lifestyle program and probably the ‘grandfather’ of fashion in Malta.
So, who is Adrian J Mizzi?
Adrian describes himself as an ambitious and determined person, a person whose brain is constantly working, nineteen to the dozen, at all times of the day.
He is a workaholic who barely sleeps and is constantly thinking up new ideas and projects; as you can probably imagine, for him it is not just enough to think up these ideas - they must then of course become his reality.
He also admits to being a bad loser and being unable to accept defeat, he also states that he is not always able to ‘forget’ and whilst he can be immune to many things he knows there are times when something slight can really offend him
Where does your passion and ambition towards the fashion industry stem from?
Interestingly, Adrian’s beginnings were in the realm of beauty contests. He made a bet with a friend that he would organise and produce a beauty contest in aid of cash for cancer, the organising committee started out as three people but two dropped out and he remained there by himself.
The contest was a success and more came after but at some point Adrian started to realise that beauty contests were not going to last forever and he started looking towards other opportunities and areas..and his eyes landed on fashion…to be exact fashion in Malta..which at that time (over 15 years ago) was virtually non-existent
At this point, however, his interest were not purely business but more creative and artistic inclinations. He researched the subject worldwide and in his words ’saw an opportunity to break out of the mould’. And well we all know the rest...
15 years ago the Malta Fashion Awards was born...of course there were many sceptics and a foreign journalist even went as far as to say ... “There is a crazy person trying to organise a fashion event in a country where there is no fashion”
This of course paved the way to his eventual founding of the Malta Fashion Week which is becoming more and more popular every year and showcases both local and international designers.
I’ve heard some people say that for the vast majority, fashion in Malta is a lost cause. Do you agree with them?
His immediate reply - Definitely not. He goes on to elaborate - put it this way fashion as an industry, there is a still a lot of work to be done, however, economically, investment is very strong within the fashion industry. Maltese people are showing a lot more interest in their personal upkeep, even men have now started to do facials and really show interest in what they are wearing. Both men and women are even resorting to Botox and laser for cosmetic improvements.
In terms of Maltese designers, there are many that have a lot of talent but maybe not enough of them with enough guts to take risks and specialise; very few are actually specialising in fashion design.
However again, compared to what there was 15 years ago when the concept of a ‘designer ‘didn't even exist (it was just tailors and seamstresses) we have come a long, long way.
In your opinion, how has fashion in Malta evolved since the inception of the Malta Fashion Awards?
Adrian doesn't hesitate to answer this question either, the words ‘in many ways and it has evolved a lot’ literally fly out his mouth. He goes on to explain his logic - when we started out, there was no real fashion industry, but we created an awards event at which awards were given out based on the work being done throughout the year, so for someone to win they needed to work, which in turn means an industry in which to work in was needed. So basically, we created an event that needed an industry to exist.
Another point is that with a concept of awards there also comes a concept of higher quality and of regulations which is what an industry needs to thrive.
What has been the proudest moment of your career within the fashion industry?
Adrian gave me more than one answer to this question, one of his proudest achievements is creating Venere the TVM lifestyle program, that has had huge local success and has really established itself as a niche program with a cult following and one of his related proudest moments was when it won an award over 30 lifestyle programs across all stations.
He also mentions his satisfaction at being accepted as Full member in the European Fashion Council, and at a later stage became Member of the Presidential Board of same council and last but definitely not least his very recent work in establishing and founding the Malta Fashion Association