Currently considered to be one of the top male models working in the industry, River Viiperi can be seen on many billboards, gracing the pages of fashion editorials in various magazines and presenting collections on Fashion Week runways. His meteoric rise to icon status has led him to become the face for the Versace for H&M and Versace Cruise collections. While he was at New York Fashion Week, I had the opportunity to ask River about his career, the industry, and his relationship with his fans in this exclusive Trend Hunter interview with the rising star.
1) How did you first get involved in modeling and what motivates you to continue?
Well, the first step I took into modeling was because of my mom, she thought I could do well and told me to give it a try. So did my dad -- even though he wanted me to finish school before doing it. And, what motivates me to keep doing it is that you get to travel [and] meet people.
2) You've worked for almost every iconic designer and luxury brand in the industry. Is there one experience that stands out to you as being the most memorable so far, and why?
The one experience I will never forget is working for Versace & H&M. The first second I stepped into the Versace building for the show casting, everybody was really kind and polite, so it kind of felt like home. They treated me amazingly well. I won't forget the days spent with that team.
3) Is there anyone you would like to work with that you have not had the chance to yet?
I'd like to work with every single person in the industry just to get to meet them [and to] get to know more about the different ways of working. Some of the people would be Mario Testing, Bruce Webber, brands such as YSL [and] all the Armani lines. There is so much in the industry, that working with everyone is a goal and, one day, I'll hopefully complete it.
4) What do you look forward to most during New York Fashion Week?
Building my furniture for my apartment (laughs). I just moved into my own place in New York and I'm decorating it. [I’m] really excited about this, but for sure this fashion week [I’m] looking forward to getting some good shows, working with some amazing people, and, [as] always, having fun.
5) Do you have a favorite piece from the Versace for H&M collections?
Yeah, that would definitely be the bomber jacket that Jay-Z was wearing in the Victoria Secret show. Love it.
6) Recently you posted a video online in which you described how your fans could win some pieces from the new Versace for H&M collection. Why was it important for you to give back to your fans in this way and how did you come up with the idea?
Well, all [of] my success is thanks to my agents, especially Soul Artist Management who have being amazing with me since the start and a big part of my success. It’s because of those people who wait outside of the shows for a picture, to talk to you for a bit, or just to see you walk in the street; fans are always a big part of a career. Look where Justin Bieber is right now; after going from radio to radio, state to state, now he has over seventeen million followers on Twitter. That's what helps you keep working hard to satisfy them and keep building the fan base. […] For all the days they have waited in the cold [and] rain, I thought it would be nice to interact a bit more with them and give away some of the pieces that I got from Versace for H&M. And, the idea was from my Team, who helps me with a lot of my social media. A big shout out to Andrea Fiamberti!
7) You do a lot to communicate with your fans -- from interacting with them on Twitter and Facebook to video chatting with them on Ustream. Do you have any further plans to expand in this medium?
Yeah, it's always expanding. There is a lot of things to do, and, therefore, I will keep finding new things every day and my team will help me do it.
8) Do you have any advice for aspiring models trying to break into the business?
It's hard to give advice; it's a difficult industry. There is not one type of model, so the only advice I can give is pop into an agency and give it a try. If they don't pick you, it's not the end of the world. There are tons of things to do.
9) How do you define a trend?
Something that is unique, creative and catchy.
10) How do you define cool?
Something that is creative and something that people would like to wear [and] be.
11) What is the most important trend you see in the fashion industry currently?
Skinny jeans. Everybody has at least a pair. So the trend would be slim-cut clothing.
12) What are your most favorite hobbies?
Playstation, soccer, swimming, longboarding... I have a lot! Even scrapbooking!
13) Professionally, what do you want to be doing in 10 years?
I'm hoping I'll be successful in whatever I do, hopefully acting.
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