Adrian Bianco Talks Hype, Stone Island and Biancissimo
“Bianco” doesn’t fit into one category. Although years of pinrolling lie behind him, he’s not your average sneakerhead. He’s a true subculture nerd with a particular set of interests that spans from Stone Island and football culture to Anime and Japanese food. Some of his interests are loosely connected, others just through the fact that he’s one person that shares them. Adrian Bianco dives deep into his subjects, always without drowning in them. For the sake of his own sanity and our reading pleasure, the Berlin resident has established his own blog, Biancissimo. It’s a true creative outlet and completely driven by his own interests, which is a rare thing in our time. We visited Adrian Bianco in his home borough and asked him to bring some of his favorites with him.
(Note: This is a shortened excerpt – read the the full interview in Sneakers Magazine #36!)
Bianco, why are you not a sneakerhead? And what are you?
I still do love sneakers, I have way too many of them and I still keep buying them. I just don’t really feel at home in that do-or-die German sneakerhead scene anymore. I have way too many interests to talk only about sneakers and to make them my number one priority in life. I am a Biancohead now, which makes me a much bigger nerd and I’m happy with that.
Where does your diversity come from?
I’m actually just always been interested in a wide variety of topics. From anime to food, from streetwear to photography and everything else I consider as “culture“. I’m a big nerd and Biancissimo is my hub for that. So Biancissimo actually is not so much my way of spreading my knowledge, it´s a way for me to find out things for myself and then share it with my audience. And the reason why I go so deep is that I’m a little bit bored with so many blogs that actually just share release information, or news about the latest Yeezy colorway.
Then again, there are a lot of very well done magazines that go really deep into topics. But contrary to the Hype blogs, these magazines sometimes feel more like school books instead of enjoyable pieces about the stuff I like. So I’m trying to go deep but still stay low-key cool, and a little bit dirty. That’s basically me and Biancissimo.
Besides the ever-present Stone Island, you’re really into discovering smaller brands. What does a brand have to have to get your interest – and things in general, to get your interest?
A brand needs a good story, a vision, interesting characters involved, and – of course – bloody good design. In a time when a shitload of young people are discovering streetwear for themselves, they still just stick with the two or three big brands. And that’s just sad. On the other hand, they use Soundcloud to dig for the dopest new cloud rappers or producers. So why aren’t they showing the same interest in smaller fashion labels as well? Biancissimo will always cover interesting small projects, and I would love to see some of them getting more recognition, because brands like UMTC are basically the shit. Please check them out!
We already mentioned Stone Island and there’s no way around it in this interview. Please describe how you first got into it.
That’s easy. The biggest impact came from my good friend Constantin Tran, a real genius and the smartest person I know. He was 15 when he continuously told me about the glorious garments and technology that Stone Island and especially Shadow Projects were creating. You have to understand that I was 25 at that time, and becoming increasingly impressed by it all. Besides all the technical details, it was the characters and subcultures around the brand that really got me excited. From the terrace and casual culture to the UK vintage scene and some crazy Russian maniacs I got to know – the brand managed to cross the line to become a culture instead of just a manufacturer of smart garments, and once you start digging into the brand’s history you probably will feel the urge to get a badge of your own pretty fast.
You dropped a massive amount of content on Stone Island recently. How did all your insights change your perspective on the brand?
I think this series was the perfect example as to why some people are so dedicated to brands. Sure there is hype around some brands, but there still is a group of people that are much more invested in a company rather than just having sheer hype for a piece of fashion. If anybody ever asks why you are so dedicated to sneakers, Supreme, or especially Stone Island, just show them some of these characters and then hopefully they will understand that we are not all just interested in shoes and fashion, we are interested in culture, communities, like-minded people, and stories.
Three favorite SI pieces you own?
Number one (right now) is my TANK SHIELD MULTILAYER Jacket. It such a low-key boss piece, and it took me some time and the help of a good friend to finally get it for a reasonable price. Again, there is a story attached to that jacket so that’s why it’s even more special. The rest? I really cannot decide cause I love them all, and behind almost every piece there is a good story, friend, or lovely hunt.
You also have a talent at exposing some of the lesser-known people. Like the Russian plug Nick Prishchep or the Techhunter Crew. You are into the not so obvious – why?
I’m into nerds, subcultures, and all that things and people you won’t really find on the mainstream side of life. Being different is the new cool, so thank you Kid Cudi.
Despite working in the epicenter of the hype industry, you’re kind of against hype in the traditional sense…
Hype can be a good thing if it is done right. For example, I couldn’t care less that Pharrell Williams is now designing for G-Star, but at the same time Aitor Throup is the creative director of the brand now and this guy did amazing things for both Stone Island and C.P. Company (Consti told me that, again). So be hyped about him and his Raw Denim Research rather than your favorite pop icon putting some designs on some clothes. The essence of my “Narrative of Hype” article is that Nike is focusing on the product with this ACG line and on a guy – Errolson Hugh – who puts the perfect product first in line, not marketing moves and strategies.
Do you see yourself as an influencer and how does that feel?
Even though so many people and articles have given that term a really bad vibe, I still don’t see anything bad about it. I’m actually very happy if I get people to buy some nice Air Force 1s, or to spend some money on a small brand from LA rather than a big one from NY. On the other hand, I don’t earn any money with all the time and love I invest in Biancissimo – and it really is a lot. So if along the way some brands reach out to me to give me some free stuff I am more than happy with that – as long as I like those items. I see it as a reward for my hard work and as recognition from these brands for my work and my Influence on youth culture.
How important is status to you and how do you define it?
I won’t lie. I do like all the likes and shares or whatever, but at the end of the day I’m a real-ass person and I want people to know that. So yes, status is very important to me, but even though I’m no stranger to the art of Instagram flexing I’m a generally nice and decent guy. Trust me.
How did arrive at where you are in your life? Can you give us a few chapters and the decisive moments that shaped you?
Looking back at my last ten years of making mistakes and saying “no” has always helped and shaped me. Most important was probably quitting law school at about 80% of the way through, even though I passed every test quite easily. Moving to Berlin, starting from scratch, and getting out of my comfort zone was definitely my best move. I basically left my old life, a lot of friends, and my girl behind and jumped into the unknown. From this day on I’m no friend of the comfort zone anymore, because my creativity needs movement and steady challenges.
When did you realize that you have potential.
When I started to work for Virtue (the creative agent from VICE) my very first big client was adidas Originals. I became head of an adidas magazine there and took care of all the creative output, ideas, texts, shootings and so on. I quit law cause this was exactly what I saw myself doing, but when I actually got the job, I really pissed my pants, because at the end of the day I still have insecurities, every day and every night. So after releasing two or three magazines I started to realize that I wasn’t wrong to leave the law for creative crimes. Realizing I was able to create lovely stuff and the day when I passed probation time at VICE were probably my happiest moments in a very long time.
Something striking about you is that you are in love with cultures that you don’t really fit in 100 % – whether in football culture or even when you speak to Stone Island collectors. What’s it about being in love with being “lost in translation”?
I am a romantic guy and an outsider at the same time. Sometimes I just like to watch and look instead of getting directly involved. It’s just such a good feeling to dip into different genres but always have the freedom to move on to another topic. At the end of the day I like real things and real stories, so that’s why I’m so into stuff that is not necessarily 100% me, but absolutely 100% real.
Where do you feel at home? Describe a few places that really are 100 % Adrian Bianco.
The streets of Tokyo at night, Kreuzberg at any time, the Viktualienmarkt in Munich with a “Leberkässemmel” in my hand, and most of all the Internet.
How would you describe Berlin today compared to the top cities in the world?
It’s on the rise! Last year in an interview I said that Berlin is a little bit behind with trends and all that but I was, as is so often the case, very wrong. I met some heavily talented crazy young people, and you’ll soon read more about them on Biancissimo. Berlin is still so rough, dirty, sexy, and real compared to the inner fashion circles of London, the clean streets of Tokyo, or the beauty of Paris. Plus 032c and Highsnobiety are Berlin-based babes, and arguably the hottest in the game right now. We don’t have to hide at all.
We’ve mentioned your work before. Can you briefly explain what you do on a daily basis?
I have done so much at VICE already. I’ve been a fashion editor, a copywriter, along with some content marketing and writing articles. So right now I’m the head of the Snapchat Discover team with a beautiful team of five talented girls working under me. I brief the motion design team every day, and then they brief me about things that were shit in my briefings. After that I start working with the editorial team to “translate“ VICE articles into little animations for the mobile phones, minds, and hands of the generation Z. I’m working at the pinnacle of new media right now and that’s a very exciting place to be!
Vice is somehow close to but also far from Biancissimo. You mentioned writing for very different audiences, between a few thousand readers and hundreds of thousands. What does that teach you?
Don’t try to fit into the likes and demands of your audience, don’t try to talk like them, and don’t try to be like them. Just do your own stuff and make it look good. Real content is good content, no matter how big or small your audience is.
It’s fairly easy to see that you’re a bit more of a Nike than an adidas head. What made you that?
I own adidas from some of their best eras of work, and I really love their rise over the last few years. I actually would love to own a pair of Yeezys because I’m pretty sure I would be able to wear them in a totally cool non-fuckboyish way.
The one reason I do wear a lot of Nike right now is that I’m mixing all my tech wear and new street wear gear with some lovely items and memories from the past. I grew up with just Nike, you know. So almost every shoe has a special meaning or story for me right now.
And from a creative perspective I have to add that Nike supported Biancissimo from almost day one. When I started 10 months ago, I sent out some emails to a couple of brands and Nike were the only one who really f*cked with the vision (lol). I’m not talking about free stuff or sneaker parties where I could upload drunken videos of myself (although I do still love that) – Nike actually enabled me to create cool stories and meet interesting people. As I said before, I’m a romantic guy and I love good content and good stories. Nike understood that pretty quickly, so therefore it feels really good to wear the Swoosh right now.
Worst trend of the moment?
There are way too many, but honestly if it makes you feel good, do whatever you like. Just don’t act like an ass because you think you dress better than anybody else. That’s probably a trend that really bugs me right now. People in almost every Facebook group judge other people because of the clothes they wear and feel good in. That’s so wrong. To be honest, I barely see outfits that I like in those groups, and I still love a lot of people in there. It’s a community thing, not a fucking competition. Spread some love.
Let’s hear a few famous Fives from you. Five favorite sneakers of all time.
VOR 2A Nebelweiß, almost every AF1, almost every Nike Air Rift, Adidas 350 SPZL, Bapesta.
Five restaurants in Berlin.
Lon Men noodle House, Takumi Nine Sapporo, Sonkitchen, Aroma. St. Bart Pub
Five stores worldwide.
All the Bape Stores in Tokyo, TNF Standard Tokyo, Nanamica Mountain Tokyo, Tint München, Voo Store Berlin.
Five places in Tokyo.
Secret Rooftop in Harajuku (slide in my DMs for more info), Lemon Izakaya in Yutenji with my good friend Soshi, Grand Hyatt bar 50th floor (The bar from Lost in Translation), Kaikaya By the sea, Shibuya Crossing.
Arigatou Gozaimasu to everybody who is part of Biancissimo, from my English editors to all the people who read the articles and chat with me every day through a million IG direct mails. I do love you all. xo Adrian