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Ezio Barbaro, editor and founder of Modemonline invited us to his lair at 74 Quincampoix street in Paris. A former gallery owner, he found his vocation and imposed himself on the fashion industry!

The Italian, passionate, and revolutionary, changed the game by creating the only tool needed to obtain all the necessary information. And this during Fashion Weeks in Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Milan, New York, Paris, and Tokyo.

Acumen Galerie Joseph had the opportunity to talk to the creator of Modemonline, it was a meeting rich in anecdote. But above all an informative exchange on his career and his vision of the future of fashion.

Ezio Barbaro, the Italian behind the curtain

Modemonline is known worldwide as the tool for working and transmitting data dedicated to professionals in Fashion, Art, and Design. It included all the references that allow to create an international network by highlighting brands, their showrooms, events such as Fashion Week, shops, publishers, artists, institutions, as well as city guides etc. 

Modemonline isn’t just a coincidence; Ezio, a former gallery owner in the plastic arts, knows the language of artists. After losing his vocation, he found himself defending young fashion designers.

In 1997, when Paris experienced a significant creative craze, Barbaro decided to create the definitive  reference tool for fashion and design professionals.

“What is important isn’t what I did, but how I did it. “

Parisian anarchy was at its height when Ezio Barbaro decided to create Modemonline.

“While walking around with buyers, they didn’t know where the showrooms were, and I wondered how to make them aware, so I started to think about the need for a tool that covers everything and everyone in the industry.”

The creative dimension has always been at the center of Ezio’s attention . His interest in art, design and fashion was evolving while he was meeting artists who have contributed for decades to Make these three sectors vectors of creativity; and who explore disparate territories to carry out the projects that drive them.

“I was interested in the creative dimension at the time, especially of fashion. Design is another component of creation, so I built an event dynamic around design with salons and showrooms too.

At one point, I was more attracted by fashion, and less by design because even by participating in the creation of a liveliness in the capital, the latter lost its collective action and my research, professionally speaking, around design has faded. I’m still interested in it, but in a personal way, while fashion remains the center of my activity.»

After meeting a large number of artists, designers, and fashion artist directors, we asked Barbaro: Who are the ones who have most marked your career?

“Nobody, nothing, I don’t have one. For me it’s based on personal tastes. There are so many that are good and surprise me. It’s like asking me which city you prefer: Rome, Paris, Venice? Each has an incredible and unique aesthetic. It’s like women; each one has her charm.

For any creation, there are things that one sees directly, and certain things that one doesn’t perceive until after a long contemplation. It’s like art, if you find it well from the start, you have to doubt; because it could be that there’s nothing original, even if the aesthetics is beautiful . Instead, what disturbs is what is interesting in an art work.”


When Modemonline revolutionized the fashion industry

Modemonline was born 23 years ago from a pervasive desire of Barbaro to defend creation. It wasn’t easy for Ezio to assert his first edition, but as soon as he launched it, he never looked back, nor listened to those who did not agree with his ideals.

“For the first edition, I had no funding, but I managed to find it. To get the approval of the town hall, the union chamber had to say ‘Yes’. I went there with my pack of papers in hand, and I had mixed all the references of professionals who came to Paris, as well as the shows, and the on and off!

They got angry because I had no right to name members of the union chamber. I didn’t want to listen to anything, and I sent my edition to the most important brands: Chanel, Sonia Rykiel, etc. They all gave their agreement except one, and became customers.”

Modemonline then knew immediate success with professionals.

“The release of the first edition was a fantastic moment, a triumph. Everyone asked us why we hadn’t done it before! That was what was missing. “

With Paris in hand, Ezio flies to Milan, for an edition that highlights the growing niche of Italian designers who today are all listed on the stock market.

“The Italian market was dominated by large commercial houses. In Milan, I only highlighted the little niche, because what interested me was the creative dimension. The brands in Milan were recognized; but not known, and Modem allowed the creators to create a real business.

Money didn’t matter to me; I wanted to do things that make sense and that I care about. I didn’t give in to the big groups, and staying as I was allowed me to help this Milanese niche to evolve. Milan is simply ‘Very important’ in fashion!”

From New York to Tokyo, Modemonline is unquestionably the essential tool for fashion professionals.

interview ezio barbaro

The urgency for radical change

” Time will tell !”, according to Ezio Barbaro.

Fashion Week has been canceled, no brand will be allowed to walk on the runaways, at least untilSeptember.

Do you think that the health emergency calls into questioning the entire sustained activity of the fashion industry? Will it really change anything?

“I think the containment has been good; important people have started to understand that our environment is weak, and that we should not upset our existential balance.

It would be necessary to decrease everything, to make sustainable collections, which correspond to a circular economy, this is what will go against the economy of finance. Fashion brands and creators who must recreate a new model, because before, they carried values, but now they forgot about them, so fashion has become commercial.

We will certainly not go back to what we were doing, it’s important that ethical fashion becomes trendy and marketing obviously will follow to influence behavior. ”

Modem has great expertise in these areas, and Ezio trusts his collaborators, never doubting those who work hard to advise and develop his activity.
What about Modemonline in this questioning, do you have a new strategy to overcome the crisis?

“In June, we won’t release an edition for Modemonline, and it’s not good for us. I am preparing a strategy to be more active online with newsletters, etc … Otherwise we are in a bad situation like everyone else! We are building a new website that is completely different aesthetically, and more instinctive. The content will be the same but the use will be more pleasant. We also had to turn the page, and switch to graphic covers. ”

Remember that great artists have contributed to the old Modem covers editions, from David Bowie, to the architect Zaha Hadid, and Robert Longo…

“Our covers are legendary and they will remain so. “

A page is turned, and fashion will find a new way of interacting and creating, to mutate towards a responsible and committed industry.