Stefano Tratto has built a veritable fashion and lifestyle empire on Instagram. But it all started as a joke.
Now one of Italy’s top Instagrammers with over 1.2 million followers, Tratto didn’t always intend to be a force of culture and influence on Instagram. In fact, it was his friends who were responsible for the foundation of what would one day become a full-time job as a social media influencer.
We caught up with Stefano to talk about how he got started on Instagram, how he engages with his followers, and how his career started with a prank.
Hi Stefano! Thanks for taking the interview! To start, can you tell me about your background? What were you doing before Instagram?
I had many jobs in the past, it’s important to me to have an economic independence, however I have always worked in the fashion industry!
How did you get the idea to start posting your work on Instagram, and when did you realize that your channel was turning into something huge?
I’m a very shy person and I’ve always preferred to do things by myself. The beginning of my story is pretty interesting: 3 years ago I was in a cafe with some friends, I left the telephone on the table and one of my friends signed me up on Instagram as a joke…and here I am!
I would never have thought that it could become a full-time job, but after one year I have seen that there are more and more people interested in my lifestyle and therefore I have taken my job as an influencer seriously!
How do you engage with your fans on social?
I don’t have fans, we are just friends! For me we are a family, I always ask the opinion of my followers and I interact with them everyday! I personally read all their messages too!
What’s the most memorable photo you’ve ever taken and what’s the story behind it?
It was for a Guess campaign. I went to Milan to take the photo outside, but it rained for three days! The campaign deadline was very strict, so on the third day we looked at the weather and moved to a sunnier part of Italy (to 500 km from Milan). Deadlines are very important as an influencer, therefore I had to change the location to make sure the campaign was completed successfully!
What is your decision-making process when you are deciding to collaborate with brands?
My agency and I are very selective with brands/collaboration. I choose brands that align with my style and profile that I truly love.
How would you describe your taste and style?
I have a mix style. I would describe my style as modern, street, rock and sometimes urban chic.
Who are your major fashion icons or top social media influencers that you follow?
There are a lot of Instagram accounts that I follow everyday. My favorites are @iamgalla (Adam Gallagher), @tonimahfud (Toni Mahfud), @marcelfloruss (Marcel Floruss)!
And, I love the photographic style of @Luanna90 (Luanna Perez-Garreaud).
Lightning round: Sneakers or sunglasses?
Ice cream, donuts, or fruit bowl?
Fruits…no I’m joking — ice cream, of course! (I love to eat and I work out every day).
Best Instagram filter?
Clarendon is my favourite one.
A grooming product you can’t live without?
Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies your fans might not know about?
I’m Infinitely passionate about photography, I always carry the camera with me. My other great passion is the automotive industry. When I was 4 years old I could recognize the brand and model of all the cars!
What are you most looking forward to in your career for 2017?
I would like to travel more and show new destinations to my followers.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.