Getting to grips with Italian shoe brand Hogan
What Italians know about cricket wouldn't fill an espresso cup. Therefore the idea that the 'very English' sport actually inspired the first colletion from Italian shoemakers Hogan in 1986 is an interesting quirk.
As part of the Italian luxury goods group, Tod’s, Hogan's playful mix of casual luxury continues to appeal to a younger audience. On release of the Hogan Spring/Summer 17 collection, Esquire speaks to Andrea Della Valle, president of the brand and vice president of Tod’s SpA, about style, his favourite shoes and the impact of social media:
ESQ: How long have you been at Hogan?
Andrea Della Valle: I founded the brand in 1986.
Can you tell us a bit more about the process behind the shoes?
We start by sourcing certain materials, those materials are then checked by our technicians, in terms of resistance, to see what products they will work for. In terms of innovative techniques in the production process, each product will you go through around 130 different steps to make sure it reaches our quality standards.
A lot of emphasis is placed on tradition. How does Hogan stay relevant to modern consumers?
We try to produce enduring pieces that will continue to appeal well into the future. Every season we launch new products that are in line with the Hogan DNA but make sure to restyle different materials and colours, so the products are in line with the current market. Young customers are so much more conscious now and want to spend their money on products of great quality and durability.
About the Hogan customer, who is he?
I would say our customers have quite a unique personal style. I always like to think of a man who values high quality and relaxed elegance. For example, a modern businessman or a young and creative person who has a forward-thinking approach to things. To sum it up, fashion conscious, but not fashion obsessed.
How important is the Hogan workforce to the brands growth and what is your relationship with them?
Our team is key to the brand’s success! I leave people to work freely and express their creativity. Sometimes my role can implicate decisions that are not popular, however I am always open to discussions. At the end of the day, we all work together to achieve the same goals!
Do you have a favourite pair of shoes?
The ‘Traditional’, Hogan’s first ever shoe. It was inspired by the world of cricket and has been a great seller in our collections since 1986.
For SS17 we see a nod towards ‘urban running’, tell us about that?
The collection is a mix of casual and dressy, which is so cool today. It’s clean and refined, characterized by essential designs.
What inspires your new styles each season?
Well our collections don’t come with an age in mind and we think primarily of design. Hogan is for the men of the hour, who use fashion but are not slaves to it.
Are shoes the most important item in a man’s wardrobe?
I should probably say yes, right? I think that for a man, even if his clothes remain neutral, shoes can really become the point of focus, they personalize your suit, denim and so on.
Is social media important to the brand? Talk us through the concept behind #hoganclub...
In the last few years the digital world and social media have become an important part of our communication and because of that we developed several projects tailored to our audience. Young generations are the future of the consumption of luxury goods online. They want to see what brands are up to and identify themselves with it. One of those project was the #hoganclub and the idea was born a couple of years ago. We wanted to create a community, through a hashtag, where people could share their everyday lives and their own take on Hogan’s lifestyle.
What qualities should a man look for when buying a new pair of shoes?
Excellent materials, high-quality production and the design.
What shoes do you have on right now?
A pair of Hogan Rebel sneakers, a favorite in my wardrobe.
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Hogan's SS17 collection is avaliable now in the Hogan Boutique, Mall of the Emirates