Riccardo Tisci's family kept him alive.

The 40-year-old fashion designer has revealed he relied on the love he received from his relatives to stay strong as he grew up in a poor community in Taranto, Italy.

He said: ''I was surrounded by love when I was younger but we were poor. What kept me alive was my family.''

Riccardo - who has been creative director of Givenchy since 2005 - famously took on the role in order to help out his family financially.

He insists he has stayed true to his roots while designing luxury goods for the Parisian label.

Riccardo explained: ''I am lucky to work at a luxury house and make evening dresses and crocodile bags but I never forget the urban, the ease. I am a street soul. The street is in my blood.''

The designer added that he is determined to use his domination in the fashion industry to fight discrimination.

He told The Guardian newspaper: ''I hate the fact that society keeps some people out because of sexuality and race. We [fashion designers] don't have a huge power but maybe we can make people think. To me, beauty is beauty.''