That went from 0 to 100 really fast

Severino Nicolosi is a second year International Studies student from Sicily. His family has traditionally excelled in whatever they do for a living and Sevrino is no exception to this rule.

Over the recent months, Severino has been working on his own shoes customisation business called “Mont3nero” (pronounced as “Monte nero”), named after the magnificent Etna volcano close to his hometown of Catania.

I decided to ask him more about his experience and the more I spoke to him, the more I was intrigued by his experience. Being personally inspired, I interviewed him to know more about the Genesis of “Mont3nero”. Here’s what he told me.

It all started when Severino quit university seven months ago without knowing for how long. Having to go back and forth from the Netherlands to Italy to pursue his passion every weekend had become too expensive. It was at that point when he made the decision to leave the Netherlands for a bit to work on what he loved the most. He said that when this experience started, he would have never expected what Mont3nero would evolve into. For him, this has been “a truly an unbelievable experience.”

In September, he attended Milan’s fashion week event in order to spread Mont3nero’s brand awareness. Attending the event turned out to be a crucial point in Mont3nero’s history, as Severino started networking with some of the most well known celebrities in the Italian scene (more on them later). One after the other, they started wondering what Severino was all about, resulting in him starting multiple collaborations with these stars, leading to the expansion of his business. 

Despite the tremendous amount of work, he never thought about giving up on his dream. He told me “every other day was a new adventure for me. The adrenaline rush was always there to keep me going. In the first months, because of the constant adrenaline rushes I’ve lost 15kg when the artists that I used to listen to as a kid started hitting me up on Instagram.” Essentially, he couldn’t keep it for himself, or as he so eloquently put it “I couldn’t keep it in my pants”, whatever the “it” in his pants he’s referring to.

Over time, he said that seeing a celebrity every other day he started being “cool with it.” Severino told me about this one time when he was in a car with one of his friends and then out of the blue he told Severino that they were going to see Ghali. Turns out, Severino had misheard what his friend told him and they were actually heading to see Khaby. Yes, you’ve heard it, that Khaby, the funny TikTok guy.

Severino on the Spanish Stairs at Wijnhaven, picture from his personal instagram

As the interview went on, his eyes glowed with excitement once I asked him how it feels meeting with celebrities so often. He felt over the moon meeting with rappers he had been listening to ever since he was a kid. Such names include Lazza, Anna Pepe, Tony Effe, The Night Skinny, Villabanks, Drefgold, and many more names probably just the Italians reading this would recognize. At this point in the interview I wondered what pulled him back to Den Haag to finish his degree, as clearly Mont3nero was going somewhere at this point. He said that the main reason for this was that it was time for him to get back to his studies, since the brand image of his company had already been consolidated back in Italy, it was just about time to be an actual CEO and manage everything from here. Later on after the interview, in a personal chat we had outside campus, he told me: “I had to get back to finish my studies, what kind of CEO would I be with no university degree and just the IB?”

Lastly, I asked him where he sees Mont3nero in the future, to which he said that his brand is a long term project that he has put 100% of his efforts into, so he’s not planning on stopping any time soon. To put it in his own words, he lives by the motto “carpe diem”, or living the moment, so he doesn’t want to get off of this ride yet. The ultimate goal of Mont3nero is for him, apart from being an outlet for his artistic expression, is to establish a genuine and proper company in Southern Italy. What he hopes for, is to provide job opportunities for young people with a passion for fashion and sneakers in Sicily. 

Mont3nero and more specifically Severino’s story is not finished yet, with a lot more to come for him and for his company in the future.

by Antonio Righetti




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