Stefano Colombo, representative of the fourth generation of founders at the Italian sportswear manufacturer Colmar, is the perfect company representative. The sporty, as good-looking 31-year-old accompanies as marketing and PR chef the image-tour of the brand, which is touring at the moment in various European cities. We wanted to know what this trunk show is all about and how the winter clothing specialist (70% of the whole sales) is gearing up for the future.
Under the hashtag #Colmarlive you are on tour in Europe to present the brand. Why?
Stefano Colombo: It is important for us to present ourselves to an international audience. We have been focused on Italy until now. But we have expertise in other European markets, we want to show.
Which markets are particularly important to you?
Germany is the market that works best alongside Italy. But the French market is equally important. Especially in sales.
Does the tour also serve to introduce the new Colmar style? You wanted to improve your design.
Exact. In the future we want to go a path between technology and style.In other words, we will continue to develop high-quality, high-performance products, but our design will be more stylish and fashionable. The esprit is: Colmar is fashion and sport style.
In this way they are not alone. How can Colmar pullovers differ from other athletic-inspired sweaters in the market?
We have a lot of experience in the construction of technical and sporting fashion. Colmar is almost 100 years old and our four corporate columns are: sports, style, innovation and history. We will combine innovations in technology with our history and the new style. A pullover from Colmar will represent all this.
In other words, you will use technical and functional materials in your fashionable collection?
Right. It is important for us to do both. Fashion items for the city does not need the highest function, but we still want to use technical materials. We work with designers on capsule collections to develop the style further, but we continue to work on highly innovative sport collections. One enriches the other. And I would like to bring these two areas even more together.
You have created a capsule collection together with the Italian Vogue under the name "Future Generations". Who selected the designers?
Vogue acts as a consultant in this cooperation: They have named us a number of design talents from which we have selected the appropriate designers through a casting. From the eight candidates we have selected one designer for the ladies’ and one for the men's collection.
In the first selection only Italian designers were chosen. Why?
In the first edition we selected intentionally only Italian designers to underline our Italian origins. But for the future, we will think more internationally.
The "Future Generations" Collection has just entered the market. At what prices?
It costs slightly more than the normal collection, not only because of the design, but also because of the many technical details. Our normal price range varies between 350 and 500 euros. The capsule costs about 650/700 euros.
Will this cooperation be undertaken for summer?
No, we will pursue it for next winter. This summer, we will continue the cooperation with San Marco for the leather biker jackets.
Colmar is well known for its down jackets. Previously, there was a handful of providers and now there are hundreds.
That is true and that is why we have to develop it further - also in other directions. With the downs we have a history and a lot of experience. They remain on offer, but we want to develop alternatives. In addition to the normal standard collection, there will be new products - in collaboration with designers.
Today, there are down jackets, such as those from Uniqlo, for example, for a price of only 50 euros. Is there any innovation possible for this product or is the product at the end of its development?
You can develop the down jacket further. We try to reduce even more the weight and to make the nylon even more resistant. But I think the future of this product is to replace the down by new synthetic materials. The aim is to have a quality product that is just as warm as a down jackett – but without down.
You have very nice models of down and neoprene.
Yes, these pieces work very well and represent exactly our DNA. These jackets show the direction we want to go. To re-interpret models from our archive, here from the 70s, and to make them technically fit for the future.
Colmar has always provided professional ski teams with new combinations. Do you have your own research lab in the company for these innovations?
Yes. At the moment, we are working closely with the French ski team for new materials. In March, we presented a new ski-suit using a nanotechnological material made of graphite.
What are the benefits of this material?
The material serves above all to reduce the air resistance. This increases the speed of the driver. It also conducts heat. It works like a smart textile. In the development, we have worked together with other Italian companies, which are able to transform graphite that we can bring it into the fabric. In the jackets, the graphite is placed in the innerlayers. It can be used also for underwear. Such innovations inspire us and for such products Colmar stands for.