Professional windsurfer, shaper, fashion designer and entrepreneur Roberto Ricci launched his first Roberto Ricci Design-RRD collection of boards and clothes in 1995. Today his brand offers different lines of wetsuits and accessories for watersports, though also a selection of innovative and highly technical sportswear and urban apparel distributed in 65 countries worldwide.
Debuting for s/s 2020 at Pitti Uomo was RRD’s Down Under Project offering a wide selection of pieces to be worn every day and made with a special laser-cut and thermosealed 100% Lycra fabric. As part of the selection, in addition to smart blazers, trousers and tops, there is also the Techno Indaco Project offering highly innovative jeans and shirts that look like they are made with denim, but also made with a special Lycra fabric.
Ricci explained his new jeans project and his vision of the future of fashion.
What are the characteristics of your innovative jeans offer?
It is made with a fabric that looks and fades like denim. It can be treated to look irregularly aged, but it’s not denim. It is a Carvico Lycra fabric with breathable, quick-drying, wrinkle-free and four-way stretch characteristics. It took us long time to test and develop this special pigment which makes it look and fade like denim. We obtained a worldwide exclusive with a specialized dyeing plant already working for the jeans industry.
This fabric is very lightweight. Can you only use it for summer?
For this season we only offer items in one weight, but this material is available in two weights so that it can also be used for winter, either alone or by doubling it with a special jersey.
Your brand offers a vast selection of products from sports apparel to urban fashion. How will fashion evolve?
We have been making beachwear collections for over 19 years and only six years ago we decided to present our winter collection, primarily jackets. In the last three years we have also introduced a range of techno-tailored trousers, along with stretch, breathable and waterproof shirts and a great offer of fine knitwear made with cashmere, wool and cotton. In the future we aim to keep using the newest and latest weaving and fabric technology combined with our sartorial method of interpreting modern garments, cuts, styles, accessories and finishing. We feel the future is still open and keeps developing in the same direction we are on that is essential, practical, made only with top quality fabrics and innovative styles. We believe in a mix of haute couture and sports performance. It means that highly practical, comfortable and highly finished sport performance pieces can be used from morning until night, from your desk to ceremony, through weekend pleasures.
How will high-tech fibers and fabrics evolve?
Never ending. There is so much technology to be used on fabrics and assembling methods. It’s just so exciting being able to use it. Fashion has never faced such an exciting time as today.
How is your company performing?
RRD Group closed 2018 registering €40 millionin sales. Out of that €29 million were from apparel and we expect that to grow 20% by end 2019.
Watersports equipment is sold to 65 countries, with 75% of our volumes from export and 25% from the Italian market.
We sell 90% of our clothing collection’s volume in Italy and the remaining 10% to foreign markets.
We sell 40% of our products to men, 35% to women and 5% to kids.
Our distribution network is based upon 650 multibrand stores in Italy and 250 ones in the rest of the world, all generally high-end to premium stores selling top-positioned selected brands.
We have opened two monobrand stores in Italy, both in Tuscany’s seaside locations, still linked to our beachwear product line only, therefore only open in summer. A third one is in Cape Town, South Africa, in the last village before the Cape of Good Hope, opened all year long, a mecca for surfers from Europe and all over the world.
Many textile and fashion companies believe in the importance of preserving the environment. Are you also focused on that aspect?
We believe that by being involved for 25 years in watersports and communicating our love for the sea, we communicate our love for outdoor life and we invite people to put their head outside of their window. This is the most environmental approach anyone could start from, as every surfer is an environmentalist by nature and every watersports’ lover understands climate changes.
We’d like to keep communicating this true essence before using marketing slogans that just misuse green recycled messages (much in fashion today).