Participating, together with Fusco, were Jacopo Pozzati, entrepreneur, retailer and designer; Stephen Monaghan, founder/CEO, Sane Communications; Michele Lupi, editor-in-chief, Icon and Icon Design magazines; Maria Cristina Pavarini, senior features editor, Sportswear International; and moderating the talk was Atip W, fashion director, Highnobiety.
Away from the spotlight, Fusco explained to SI why he thinks that authentic military and workwear apparel continues to influence sportswear and fashion, the reasons for the launch of this new capsule and his targets for Blauer USA.
Why did you launch the Nylolite capsule collection?
Through this launch I want to start a new path for Blauer USA. This collection wants to set a starting point and a sort of laboratory aimed at developing new projects focused on experimentation and new ideas. Blauer USA was founded in 1935. It has a great heritage and history and I want to make its past become even stronger.
When I started working at Blauer USA 15 years ago, I launched a fashion collection that didn’t exist in the market before and it was a winning ace. Now, by creating this new project and capsule I want to offer new experimental, innovative, trendsetting ideas and products, too.
What is the inspiration behind this capsule?
About 20 years ago, I used to offer the XLA brand made by reinventing old military garments with special garment-dyeing effects, camouflage prints and unique color mixes. Now that kind of fancy-military approach has helped me creating some unique products that have a fresh and new attitude, while they remain firmly rooted in the military and utilitarian world. This collection originates from Blauer USA’s history from the 1960s and offers a selection of sophisticated lightweight and comfy pieces.
Are workwear and uniforms still important when it comes to influence fashion?
Yes they are. Workwear and uniforms were meant to be worn in hard conditions for many hours, but also express a sense of freedom and movement plus they are added with high-technicity. Considering that the majority of sportswear apparel – mostly jackets - all originate from uniforms, it is how you interpret authentic styles through details, colors and fabrics that make a difference.
Today also many fashion and high-fashion brands are inspired by oversize silhouettes from workwear and streetwear. I think that’s just the beginning.
Blauer USA was born 80 years ago and it continues telling a true story which has a force in itself as I continue to look at the utilitarian world with always new eyes. The Nylolite capsule’s pieces are characterized by patchworks of different hues and matelassé motives of superlight technical nylons - all mixed in the same jacket. This capsule, while bearing the name of a Blauer collection from the 1960s, shows a new direction in the market and, in a second phase, could also influence our main Blauer collection.
You have spoken about technicity. How important are fabrics for your collections? What fabrics do you employ for Blauer? Are they special fabrics made upon your request?
The Nylolite capsule employs some really innovative fabrics that are lightweight and resistant. For Blauer, I started employing Taslan, which is a technical fabric produced for policemen’s uniforms. Many fabrics today are also especially developed for US policemen’s apparel. A special material by Gore-Tex, for instance, has properties to block the blood’s exit when someone is shot, though fabrics like these are too expensive and cannot be employed on a large scale for commercial apparel. Taslan, instead, can be either blend with cotton and polyester, or 100% polyester. Once it gets a waterproof treatment it can also be garment-dyed and becomes fashion and technical at the same time. Inventing new materials is very difficult. Almost everything has already been invented, though new fiber mixes and dyeing-processes can bring new developments that make a great difference.
What results do you expect to reach with this capsule?
We expect it will help us strengthening our brand identity and make us become renowned also among top level stores internationally. Nylolite will actually be sold through 150 selected high-end stores in Italy, UK, USA, Japan, Germany and Spain. Thanks to new initiatives like this, we expect to further increase our sales and international expansion. Our aim is to reach €100 million sales by end 2020 (we reached €45million sales by the end 2016) and reach 60% of our sales from export as now it accounts for 35%.
As part of these plans we have invested in opening a new showroom in New York, we have started selling in Japan and will participate in the CIFF trade show in Copenhagen in order to expand in Northern European markets, too. All these markets represent great opportunities for growth.