In Milan, within September 2020’s Micam and Milan Fashion Week events, Siva Srl, the Italian footwear company behind Vic Matié, relaunched Rubbersoul, a sneaker brand that was born in 2011 and starts now a new life with a new name and concept, RBRSL.
Starting from s/s 2021 it will offer a genderless, minimalistic and sustainable single sneaker model. It also inaugurated a pop-up store in collaboration with DAAD Dantone, a multibrand luxury store at Via della Spiga 25, that will remain open until October 22, 2020.
Valentina Curzi, creative director of RBRSL, and her father Renato, founder of Siva, explained more details of the project and the company's plans for the future.
Valentina Curzi: I belong to the Millennial generation, which, like the Z generation, gives a lot of importance to the purchase. The focus of this project is on circular economy, environment and sustainability. For this we chose to focus on a single product against the practice to offer disposable fashion.
I don't want our products to be used for one season only and then thrown away to make room for the next trend, but to continue their lifecycle thanks to the quality of our patented processes.
The idea to concentrate on a single product brand is meant to counterbalance frenzied fast fashion rhythms. In this way the concept of seasonality is revolutionized entirely, therefore freeing fashion from any kind of expiration date.
To whom is this collection addressed?
Valentina Curzi: It is addressed to all those who have a fluid idea of fashion, without too many schemes and gender connotation. Limits exist only in our minds.
Valentina Curzi: The dividing line between online and offline doesn't exist anymore. The Web is an essential window on the world, but this does not mean giving up retail, as the consumer has the right to live the experience of shopping inside the store. For this reason our collections will always be sold on both channels in symbiosis.
I think that omnichannel is the best form for the shopping experience. Technology is part of our daily life, accelerated even by the latest health emergency, but it certainly cannot be replaced by people, otherwise we risk neglecting the importance of human contact.
How important is digital for promoting and selling today?
Valentina Curzi: Digital and digital advertising are as fundamental for a brand as its distribution network. For this reason we have joined an innovative start-up–.THESHHHOP/–a network of shared e-commerce structured on geolocation and customer care for distribution partners. It's a platform that will allow the connection between these two channels through the stores' warehouses in order to have product always available throughout Europe.
RBRSL is investing in digitization for a worldwide and capillary development. Among other initiatives we recently launched our virtual showroom, an online platform that will be available to distribution partners and to our sales force for the promotion and presentation of new collections.
Why do you consider RBRSL as an eco-sustainable collection?
Valentina Curzi: One out of two consumers think that sustainability affects the choice of one brand over another. For this reason co-communicating the efforts made in the sustainable field is crucial. Upcycling, which is the art of recovering what would be thrown away, is very important, especially in fashion, as it is a transversal phenomenon that is also good for the planet and is implemented in RBRSL. Waste raw materials are recycled and transformed into design objects, such as the new project Lamp, an original lamp. Any waste material that has exhausted its original function can come back into play with a new look and a new functionality. This is the policy of RBRSL.
What strategy are your brands RBRSL and Vic Matié following to face the present moment?
Renato Curzi: We think that the system of seasonal collections is over. The timing is no longer seasonal as consumers see products online and want to buy them immediately. Consumers buy while retailers don’t. Therefore we opt to participate in two or four trade show events during the year for presenting our novelties, but most of what we offer has to be visible through online and offline, two channels that have to start communicating with each other.
Our Vic Matiè brand offers 100 SKUs at a time and continues offering all of them until we see they are asked for. Products offered according to fast fashion rhythms have no reason to exist anymore. They have to last longer, instead.
What should brands do to be successful?
Renato Curzi: What counts today for a brand is offering products with strong identity and innovation content while guaranteeing the continuity to offer it. If you liked how you looked, felt OK wearing that shoe and want to wear it again you can come back and buy that model again. This happens as consumers trust that brand and want to buy it again. That's what builds a brand's success.
How is Siva performing?
Renato Curzi: Siva will register €14 million in sales by end 2020. It is selling to 400 multibrand doors worldwide of which 20% are in Italy and 80% outside of it. Out of our foreign distribution 40% of our sales come from Eastern Europe and the Far East.