Take the ‘90s spirit of an old style skate-shop and combine this with a modern, researched and international menswear store. This is how Matteo Rancilio, owner of the Milan's Dictionary Milano store, has developed personally and professionally, and evolved from his own skater's background toward a Northern European inspired contemporary fashion boutique. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini

What are your best selling brands and why?
Presently my bestseller is Department5 because it is a highly researched Italian brand that provides great attention to detail. People like it because it looks like its Japanese, although it’s made in Italy. I also sell a lot of Biella-based brand Camo, who make total looks and knitwear. Tothem, who offer printed neoprene sweatshirts, are also successful - they have a very strong character and image. YMC and Diemme also sell well. Regarding sneakers, Vans are another bestseller; they are the best sneaker brand and they represent our world perfectly.

Do people buy according to their favourite brand, style, or impulse?
Our customers are very careful. Many of them already know brands and products thanks to the internet. Occasionally we can introduce them to new brands and they trust us. They are usually brands that will boom later.

Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends? How important is communication with regular customers? How do you communicate with them?
We travel through Europe both for pleasure and for trade shows. We mostly communicate through the web - either through our own website, but also through Instagram and other social networks, though we never use blogs. We generally communicate with our customers through the web, often through viral operations. For instance, we often post pictures of what we see while making orders. If our clients "like" something massively then we will buy that item, if not we skip it. In addition, our clients will know in real time what they will be able to find in our store in advance.

How do you choose the products you offer your usual clients?
First of all we pick quality. Then price-quality ratio is essential. Especially in this crisis moment people want quality products. If not, vertical chains are ready to compete with you. Moreover, brands have to have a history and a clear and precise aim. I focus mostly on brands that are very careful on quality and not fast fashion brands which take their inspiration from fast passing trends, but are often poor in quality. I don't like this way of making money easily without offering good quality and highly researched products.

What do your Spring/Summer 2014 collections look like?
Prints will continue to be hot, but they have to be less exaggerated and – I hope – smart. I am also looking at a lot of Korean designers.

What are the most important trends, in general?
Streetwear is back again. In the past there has been a mixing together between fashion and streetwear. Now it seems that they are finally taking distinct directions. Let's wait and see.

Have you added any new labels to your assortment recently?
Kai Aakman will become very important for my store, together with D.Gnak, both emerging Korean brands.

How does your store differ from other stores?
It's hard to say. I think it has my personal touch. Few compromises and much content is my philosophy. As I said before, I prefer to avoid easy ways for making money by focusing on real quality, and interesting and truly new ideas. I belong to the skate world since I used to work for a popular skate shop. Then this market suffered and many of this world's insiders have either evolved - and some of them have turned toward a more Northern European spirit - or didn't change direction but suffered hugely, or had to close. I belong to those who started appreciating the Northern European appeal - also because you can’t dress like a teenager forever - and in 2011 I opened this store.

What do you like about your customers?
They are very different. We get hipsters, preppy Milanese types and skaters. They feel at ease because the atmosphere is friendly and warm hearted. There is that typical skateshop spirit of the early 90s, in a store that offers international, researched products, though without any prejudice.

How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package?
Very important, but it is always like an unfinished masterpiece. I always have a thousand ideas in my mind, but very little time to realize them into true projects. We care for the atmosphere inside our store. For instance, we are very careful about the music we play in our store, we play most genres; indie, disco, electro-trash, but we also follow our own personal taste. We have been using Spotify for a long time. We also use fragrances and let our customers smell them inside the store. We have been trying two different fragrances - both ethnic ones - since we opened and we continue to use them since our customers appreciate them.

Store's address:
Dictionary Milano
Corso Di Porta Ticinese, 46
I-20123 Milano