Selling products with a clear and authentic image is a must for Double Five, the modern street-meets-preppy Verona urban image store. Insiders know it due to owner Andrea Pensiero, co-founder and designer of the Franklin & Marshall sportswear brand. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini

What are the current bestsellers and why?
We can distinguish between two main groups of brands our customers buy most - the high-research ones and the most commercial ones. The most researched products include brands like Our Legacy, Levi's Vintage, YMC, Reds and Penfield. All of them express concepts of originality and simplicity in terms of quality, fabric and wash while simultaneously bringing in a soft and clean image. Our Legacy is a new and sophisticated urban Swedish brand. YMC, whose name stands for You Must Create, is a British brand employing high quality materials and appreciated especially for its knitwear and wool fabrics. Reds is a high-quality Italian chino brand employing washed, double-twisted gabardines characterized by an old style image. Among the most commercial brands are Cheap Monday, Carhartt and Franklin & Marshall. They are also truly authentic and highly identifiable brands, which maintain a great price-quality balance. Engineered Garments along with Filson and Sportswear, a high-quality Italian brand, are also top sellers.

Among footwear, our current bestsellers are Vans and Bobby Burns (a Swedish brand that matches up well with Cheap Monday for image and top price-quality).  Red Wing and Golden Goose (which also offers apparel aside from top-notch footwear) are the most researched of our brands.

We also sell womenswear, even though the majority of our clientele (about 70%) are men. In addition to the other brands, 5Preview, Orion and Golden Goose (also in this case mostly footwear) sell very well for women.

Cheap Monday remains a bestseller, confirming that the slim fit trend is still dominating the jeanswear market. Despite this fact, Cheap Monday is gradually starting to offer “softer" fits as well. Positive signs are also coming from the sales of the "Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren" jeanswear brand. Chinos generally continue to sell better than jeans at the moment and the most successful fits are softest around the waist and still very tight around the leg. Hells Bells, a newborn Italian trouser and chino brand is also selling well.

Double Five, Via Adua 16, 37121 Verona, Italy
Double Five, Via Adua 16, 37121 Verona, Italy

Do people buy according to their favorite brand, style, or impulse?
Impulse buying was mostly happening a few years ago. I think that 50% of our clients are now buying according to brand and the other 50% according to a style they like or some special quality element they appreciate in that specific product.

Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends? How important is communication with regular customers?
We mostly find ideas by traveling a lot. I visit Pitti Uomo, Bread & Butter and CPH in Copenhagen on a regular basis, though I sometimes also go to Tokyo to keep an eye on the general market trends. Andrea Pensiero, the store owner, also visits the US regularly and goes to shows like Capsule in New York as well as in Tokyo.

We mostly place our orders in Italian showrooms (around 70%) since almost every brand has an agent or a distributor in our country. About 30% of our purchases come from trade shows for foreign brands that don’t have showrooms in Italy.

We keep in touch and inform our clients through our website and our Facebook page by posting news about our changing assortments, newest brands and most requested products and by inviting them to events or DJ sessions that we frequently organize in our store. In addition, we are now also reorganizing our website in order to transform it more into a blog.

What do the spring/summer collections that you will have on offer look like? Did you add any new labels to your assortment?
For s/s we have confirmed most of the brands we’ve already had on offer since we continue to believe in the products and the selection that we have been focused on until now. We will focus mostly on a preppy/urban inspired look that could also be mixed with some street influences. Key looks will be shirts, vests, jackets and ties. Among the new entries we have The Hill Side, a US accessory brand that offers ties, pocket-handkerchiefs and scarves. Among footwear we added Hyusto, an Italian brand offering matching laced shoes and aged leather moccasins. We will also add Levi's Made & Crafted, which we had tested previously and now will include more consistently, while still offering Paul Smith Jeans and Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren.

Inside Double Five
Inside Double Five

How does your store differ from other stores?
It is our philosophy that makes us differ from others. Our approach to taste, skill, authenticity and our intention in offering our customers brands and an image they cannot find anywhere else.

What do you like about your customers?
I like when they trust us and let us give them advice. When they accept our suggestions and let us dress them it shows that they are convinced we are doing a good job - and for that one doesn’t need to spend much – it’s simply a matter of trust. What counts most is our identity that sees and allows two apparently different souls to meet and meld together. One can wear Carhartt trousers, an Engineered Garments jacket, a Paul Smith shirt completed by Red Wing for the feet - it is our street-meets-preppy/urban image.

How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package?
What is most important is how the product is the protagonist in our store. If in the past there were many products, vintage furniture and decor objects crowding our store, now we present black and white essential interiors letting one item per style stand out, rather than piling garments upon garments. It is our minimalist sparseness and simplicity that characterizes us and our store. Our store's logo was also recently restyled as an expression of our inner development and as an effort to meet our clientele's evolving interests for fresher and clearer identity products.