Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat.. they have an eyewear connection… ‘a strong and genuine one’ according to Andrea Tessitore, CEO of Italia Independent. Dressed in a striped jacket with skull faces embroidered on his shoes, he is not your regular CEO but when he gets talking, you know he means business.
“In Italy our business is growing very fast,” he announces displaying a presentation chart of the eyewear industry in Italy that displays this very fact for the year 2012. And they have some very interesting plans for the Middle East as well. An ambitious plan to have a 100 doors for their eyewear in the Middle East through their association with Rivoli is just the beginning. They plan to do to eyewear what ‘swatch’ did to watches.
Their eyewear is rather interesting… some with velvet and then others with material so flexible you can actually wrap it and shove it anyplace you like and then there are products which use exactly the same finish that major car brands like Ferrrari and Maserati use on their cars. With claims of celebrities wearing their products ranging from Karl Lagerfeld and Madonna to Jessica Alba and Lady Gaga, the product does arouse your curiosity. The history too is interesting… Italia Independent was founded by Giovanni Accongiagioco, Lapo Elkann and Andrea Tessitore and was launched on January 9, 2007 at the famous fashion store Luisa Via Roma, in Florence during Pitti.
Excerpts from the conversation with Andrea Tessitore
VisionPlus : Well Andrea, the product is interesting and we saw that even Karl Lagerfeld is using your product! So tell us what’s unique about Italia Independent?
Andrea : We are planning to provide the consumers with a rare experience of feeling the emotions they feel when they get a new car. The finish, the material that our products use are the same as that is used by major car companies and our association with them is genuine. We are not just making tall claims but real ones.
VisionPlus : As far as cars go, maybe that’s fine but eyewear is a whole new ball game.
Andrea : Yes, we realise that. And we are not just into eyewear. We are into fashion and design. Italia Independent is a creativity and style brand for independent people that marries fashion and design, tradition and innovation. It operates in the most diverse of sectors, ranging from clothing to home décor, eyewear to automobiles, to export Italian style to the world. The mission and the philosophy of Italia Independent are, in large part, included in its name. Italy is not only the place where the company is based and operates, but it’s also the main inspiring place and the moving force of the brand. I-I is a brand that aims to reload the made in Italy, to create “Made in Italy 2.0”.
I-I wants to update the Made in Italy, giving it a new force. Stereotypes need to be left behind and tune into the fastmoving global world. A reload is needed: reloading concepts with the aim of acquiring updated information.
To Italia Independent, innovation consists in the use of new materials like Kevlar®, DuPont’s Cordura®, Goretex<em® or carbon together with“noble” fabrics like Loro Piana’s cashmere or linen, achieving new interpretations of classic products. The Cordura® tuxedo jacket, the fabric vase, the Kevlar® bag, the carbon fiber sunglasses are the expression of our philosophy.
Italia Independent wants to be free to operate in different sectors and to be independent from stereotypes. Italia Independent believes that creativity today lies in remixing different experiences and styles. The association of materials from different origins and the fusion of tradition and innovation are the project’s philosophy and values. We strongly believe that a brand should be able to work at 360 degrees from clothing to home décor, from glasses to cars and this is what we do.
Our USP is our unique designs. We collaborated with organisations on ‘out-of-the-box’ products and we just love design and fashion. Right now, we want to change the way people wear eyewear!
VisionPlus : How do you propose to do that?
Andrea : Design and material to begin with and then the whole experience that our product offers. Velvet on eyewear is just one of the examples… there’s this flexible material too and then you can even check our shiny collection.. and I am sure you will realise they are not just ‘run-of-the-mill’ designs that people have got accustomed to.
VisionPlus : But then that’s what everyone seems to claim.. ‘We are different’ is such a cliche.
Andrea : With us, it’s true! That’s the difference and another thing about us is the price-point at which this uniqueness is available to the end consumer. We realise that customers today want ‘uniqueness’ but they want this at a specific price-point and we think our product is just that.. it’s providing a ‘niche’ product at a ‘not-so-niche’ price. We expect to ‘wow’ our customers with our product as well as our price.
VisionPlus : You seem to have a lot of celebrities wearing your eyewear
Andrea : Yes … and I am proud about the fact that Karl Lagerfeld has been wearing our eyewear. That’s testimony to our style and uniqueness.