Dressy but not dull – that’s how you could describe the invigorating style that vibrates in each Antony Morato collection. The brand, which has been around since 2007, has capitalized on the soft tailoring trend that has successfully rooted in menswear, coexisting peacefully with radically-opposed fashion movements like retro tennis styles, dark Health-Goth inspired looks and the like. The label bets strongly on classic men’s items like blazers, biker leather jackets and shirts that always demand a second gaze: be it because of its atypical pattern or smart fabric mixes. In order to know about upcoming developments and the fruits of brand campaigns with digital influencers, we spoke with founder and creative director Lello Caldarelli.
Antony Morato opened 15 new stores in 2015. What are the top 3 regions and/or countries for the brand at present in terms of growth?
Most important countries for us are Italy, Spain and the Benelux area. That’s why we focused on our retail development in these countries, on top of an already well-built multibrand distribution. These are the markets in which we are strong not just in terms of sales, but even in terms of brand awareness and turnover. In the future, we want to add France and Germany to our dream team. They are growing fast and we want to bring them to the same level as the previously-mentioned countries in three years.
What were the brand’s net earnings in 2015?
In 2015, we gained one point EBITDA in comparison to 2014. We bring back the results from previous years, investments on technologies, services and in general process optimization.
How many store openings are in the pipeline for 2016? In which cities?
Fifteen stores, maximum twenty. We prefer a consistent progression instead of a boom of our network, focusing our efforts in premium positions –mall or downtown; it doesn’t matter–, while improving our retail model to come to a profitable network. Retail is really important as a brand builder.
Next openings are planned in Madrid, Barcelona and a resort in Italy (Riccione). In the second half of the year, we are working on Paris, Milan and much more.
To which extent do you believe that the brand is benefitting from the current trend towards soft tailoring –suit dressing becoming a valid option for leisure time, especially through the use of textured fabrics with great touch and feel and more relaxed fits or when combined with sneakers–?
This trend is giving us a lot of satisfaction. Our customers recognize us thanks to the ability of delivering up-to-date men's suits, a fast-growing category for us during the last three years.
The modern customer has a renewed attention to details, fit and fabrics, something that makes us happy, as we have always paid attention and done research into it. The idea of mixing a classic Italian fit suit together with a shirt or a sneaker is part of our DNA, and we play with it in each new collection.
Last year, the brand launched the Tales of Style campaign, involving digital influencers such as David Roth and Jakob Haupt of Dandydiary, among others. What was the outcome of the experience?
It was great, with lots of positive feedback from our customers. It also brought us new ideas just by looking at how digital influencers wore our garments. We were so satisfied that we are back with a new digital campaign this season, whose claim is #IAMWHOIAM. It’s a declaration of independence and freedom, which represents the answers from the man of 2016 to every attempt by the old society to classify him. This new man asks fashion to change unceasingly, to rouse him every season with new ideas, new proposals, styles and colors. Digital influencers represent this kind of attitude.
The idea of mixing a classic Italian fit suit together with a shirt or a sneaker is part of our DNA, and we play with it in each new collection.
Do you believe that digital influencers and bloggers are the best ambassadors that any brand could wish for?
We think that there is not a univocal answer. Much depends on the relevance of the content, the innovation they are able to offer. They are the ones managing the more interactive and update mediums, but in the end what really matters is the real value, and the coherence with the brand that you are able to express.
The spring/summer’17 buying season is just around the corner. Could you give us a sneak peek of the forthcoming collection? What is it all about?
As usual, we will present the new collection in Florence during the Pitti Uomo by the middle of June. The inspiration for this season comes from walking around in the big cities that we love, which are Tokyo for the Black collection and Los Angeles for the Gold.
Tokyo draws us to the charm of contradiction. The culture of technology lives beside Zen gardens. A very elegant city that is well-represented in the style of this part of the collection, with a sophisticated look.
On the other side, for the Gold collection we have Los Angeles, the always-sunny city, with its long beaches and the music always on air. ‘70s inspiration comes out in the collection with desaturated colors of fabrics, and retro liberty print on the t-shirts.
What are the brand’s plans for the remainder of 2016?
In June, we will attend Pitti Uomo in Florence, Premium in Berlin and the big news is that we will have an event in Milan during the fashion week to launch a short movie starring a famous Italian actor. It’s too early to give you all the information about it, but stay tuned.