Denim on the pitch – Whatever next?
Esquire: How do you keep denim cuts fresh?
Matteo Sinigaglia: Two of the world’s most important things are technology and maintaining the environment, so we basically found a way to use technology to make the environment better in our processes. We now consume less water and less chemicals. The last project we launched was Replay: Laserblast LIFE, where we took natural components such as minerals and natural pigments to create eco-friendly denim. We want to deliver a message that we can all help to make the world a better place.
ESQ: And innovation in terms of the clothes?
MS: Last month we launched Hyperflex denim, which is a new dimension of stretch in the denim world. Before that, 60 percent flexibility was the pinnacle of denim in the market. Hyperflex denim has 100 percent flexibility, which is really innovative and allows for a comfortable skin denim.
ESQ: Comfortable denim is very important…
MS: You know I believe that you should be cool and comfortable at the same time. We work a lot at trying to achieve that combination.
ESQ: Where do you see the future of denim?
MS: Denim is the material that has been around for a long, long time in the fashion industry. I mean, I can’t think of a comparable material that actually started being used at the end of the 19th century and is still as relevant today. Now, the evolution of technology is influencing fashion and I believe the next field will be sports.
ESQ: Denim will be used in sports?
MS: Yes. I think you will see sportsmen and soccer players wearing shorts made out of denim. Technology is allowing us to do really cool things with denim so it can be used in different ways.
ESQ: Like the FC Barcelona collection…
MS: Yes, exactly. I mean if we can use denim for formal wear, why not sportswear too? We were the first denim brand to go into the sports industry with this collection and it was a big challenge. Players want to wear a smart suit when they arrive for a match, so last year we introduced denim shirts with a formal suit. We called the collection Unexpected Formal. And if you see all the latest catwalk shows for S/S15, even luxury brands like Dior are producing a lot of formal wear with denim shirts. It’s an exciting time for denim, especially with our second Unexpected Formal collection.
ESQ: Why did you decide to get involved with FC Barcelona?
ME: Because they really are like no other team. They reinvented the way football is played; they’re changing the game, and that’s what my company is doing too. We try to do our own thing, and I think our values match theirs. Plus they are the greatest football team of all time and they inspire my company.
ESQ: How are you changing the game, aside from your work with denim?
ME: I believe that the retail industry is very flat. The Internet, in terms of shopping, is winning over the traditional high street outlet, so last month we opened our new flagship store in Milan. Rather than a retail store, it’s more a concept, multi-experience store. The design firm Roman & Williams, who are the masterminds behind The Standard in New York, and the Boom Boom Room, created the space for us. It’s called The Stage and is inspired by a movie/theatre concept so you can buy denim but it has a backstage feel to it. There’s a space for bands to play, with guys like Blood Orange and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, who played at the opening last month. It also has an area where you can eat fine food, and there will be art shows and artistic performances. It will expand the definition of the retail experience for a few years to come.
ESQ: Could you tell me about the Replay One Off collection you’ve just launched?
ME: We wanted the emphasis to be totally contemporary. The concept is about products that reflect the world now, and they will only be available once in a season and will not be replicated. This season the collection is about clean sportswear, so it’s got a sporty feel, but next season it will be totally different to the last.
ESQ: How has the Middle East reacted to Replay?
ME: You guys tend to buy the jeans that have a slimmer fit. Initially slim jeans were just worn for evening, and fancier occasions; whereas now, slim jeans are worn at all times of day. And I think people now, especially in the Middle East, like to look good and cool, every moment of the day.
ESQ: What else do you have coming up?
ME: We’re opening up Blue Marlin in Milan. We work closely with this particular brand so we’re involved with its debut club there. Next year we’re opening a retail experience in New York and Tokyo, as well as a few other cool cities. And then I really have to plan a trip to Dubai. It’s definitely high on my agenda.