Rifle, one of the oldest Italian jeans brands, will celebrate its 60th anniversary while announcing various new projects aimed at making it become successful again.
The brand, founded in 1958, was recently acquired by Swiss private equity company Kora Investments, which now owns a 55% quota.
Leading Rifle’s new course is CEO Franco Marianelli, an expert insider of the fashion and jeans market who previously also worked for Guess and Gas, together with president Giulio Fratini, whose grandfather, also named Giulio Fratini, was a co-founder of the company.
Rifle will return to Pitti Uomo’s June 2018 edition after some years of absence and will exhibit inside the Fortezza’s Quinte Teatro first floor. It will present an entirely renovated s/s 2019 total look collection offering about 300 pieces, of which 70% for men and 30% for women. The offer also includes accessories and footwear.
Also part of the relaunch is the debut of the new capsule “Heritage Collection–The Legendary One” offering 25 pieces for men and 25 for women reinterpreting fits and looks of some of the brand’s most iconic pieces–especially items from the ’50s and ’60s–such as jackets, sweatshirts, T-shirts and jeans. POS material supporting the launch will be inspired by graphic elements, logos and packaging and images from the brand’s historic archive.
On June 13 from 5:30 pm until 10:00 pm at Hotel Garibaldi Blu in Florence, Rifle will also present the results from a collaboration it carried out with fashion school Polimoda started in September 2017 and originating from an idea conceived by Marianelli.
The collaboration has involved nine groups of students attending the school’s Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing & Communication and Fashion Product Management courses. Each student group has prepared a cultural and sociological analysis of the fashion and denim markets, of trends and of the brand’s historical values with the aim to create a limited edition capsule collection. Four of the participating groups were prized with four scholarships, while the first best project has collaborated with the Rifle internal team by producing their capsule that will be presented during the event.
The brand’s expansion strategy will develop first through Italy to be followed later Europewide and in Eastern Europe, through Russia, Poland and Bulgaria. “We aim to grow the company’s present turnover of €20 million to a €50 million by 2022,” explains Marianelli. “We want to reach about 500 multibrand retailers Europewide by end 2019. At present we are optimizing our distribution network that will also host our new Rifle concept store. We are also studying a plan through which we can open monobrand stores and operate with retailers that are experts in the denim, casualwear and sportswear segments. We also want to offer other capsule collections through which we will also start selling to highly qualified fashion-focused stores.”
Rifle is presently selling directly in Italy through seven monobrand stores (four full price and three franchising ones) and 20 stores inside outlets, though it aims to open other monobrand stores characterized by a new image that reflects the brand’s renovated image and strategy. The new store concept and format will debut within the June 2018 edition of Pitti Uomo and is designed by MRZ Architetti, an Italian architecture studio counting among its past projects offices, showrooms and boutiques in international cities including Dubai, London, Milan Shanghai and Paris.
As part of Rifle’s relaunch, MRZ Architetti have already redesigned the brand’s headquarters in Barberino Di Mugello, near Florence, a concept that will also be reflected in its new stores. “We have chosen wood and concrete elements added with ’60s and ’50s Italian design iconic elements,” explains Francesco Marzocca, founder MRZ Architetti. “Jeans gets older by integrating the change of age in itself, while impregnating themselves of the adventure and life of those who wear them” explains Marzocca while quoting Daniel Friedman, author of the book Historie du Blue Jeans highlighting how past and present get mixed for a brand new identity–a process that Rifle wants to take for gaining its past success back.