Salvatore Ferragamo has been one of the Italian stylists pillars of fashion in Italy. It is said that his passion...
Blown Wind. The freshness of animalier print outfits.
I was traveling, by train to Milan, to reach the Italian Traditions office to talk about Italian start-ups. On the seat next to me sat a very young tall guy; he immediately opened his Mac, connected his i-Phone and got to work. Glancing his way, my eye fell on the page opened by his browser and I saw him scrolling a fashion look-book. Being a woman and also a journalist I was curious, and so I began to ask him some questions.
Alessandro Solombrino is just over twenty years old and immediately floored me, explaining he was not only interested in fashion, but that what I was looking at was his ‘own fashion’. A few years ago, together with a dear friend, he created his own brand, and now they want to expand. Today, Blown Wind is among the Italian start-ups that have chosen Milan as their headquarters, even if the young businessman that evening had to return to Naples, his city where, not long ago, everything began.
Nothing more inviting than asking him to tell me his story and that of his start up.
The first thing I asked Alessandro, just to get an idea, was about their initial investment for the creation of his Blown Wind start up. And, here again, Alessandro, shocked me.
“You won’t believe it, but we only invested fifty euros each. One day, with my partner Ezio Prato, we decided to buy 10 simple t-shirts,and customize them. We immediately sold them to friends, using Facebook as our only communication tool. And still through social media we started to transmit all our passion and our idea of how to dress for leisure, gaining in a very short time lots of admirers. ”
A start up is not just a bet on yourself, but also on the future of this country. What is your take on this?
“Yes, nowadays creating Italian start-ups is a gamble. Just consider the far-from-ideal economic period the country is going through, and the many difficulties one has to face. But I remain confident, because Italians have a certain edge, especially in the field of fashion. Italian fashion is historically the most followed and appreciated in the world, and this also helps young people to have their say and, especially, to be heard ”
How was the beginning?
“ Actually, it was not difficult. It all started as a game and suddenly we found ourselves catapulted into an extremely dynamic and concrete reality, which has become ever larger, beyond our wildest dreams. ”
What happened next?
“We slowly created our brand. At that point, it was fundamental to invest in marketing to make ourselves known: using Fashion Bloggers on social networks and covering the most suitable areas of our city with large advertising posters; and then of course organizing fashion shows.
Today we are able to express ourselves fully, communicating what for us is the trend of the moment with a discrete success. ”
I imagine that a new brand has to find a way to stand out, to impose itself on the Italian start-up market. What is yours?
“The goal that we set ourselves from the start was naturally that of making ourselves recognizable among the Italian start-ups and not only. And in this the creation of the brand was of fundamental importance, We focused on ‘BLOWN WIND’, which is precisely the name of the brand, and that brings to the mind an idea of ‘Fresh Air’, symbolized graphically with a paper plane pointing towards the sky.
We have also distinguished ourselves with our outfits proposing, for 5 years now, a look that is based on ‘Animalier’ prints. For us every animal has its own adjective that characterizes it: Be Hunter, Be Brave, Be Principal, Be Rock, Be Rebel. They are the strengths of the Brand. Everybody can recognize themselves in something, to which they somehow feel they ‘look like’. And in today’s society recognizing and being recognized is a crucial lever in relationships and socialization, especially among young people. With this philosophy I believe we have succeeded in differentiating ourselves in the market, and fortunately we have had a great success, both in our region and in other parts of Italy.
What are your plans for the future?
“The projects are many and very ambitious. We are putting ourselves to the test by distributing abroad as well. The Milan Show Room holds particular contacts with Eastern Europe, where our Brand, but in general Italian clothing start-ups are very popular. We would like to expand well beyond the Italian market.
At home, on the other hand, we are working on various projects, including the creation of small franchised stores, relying on the fact that we produce a ‘total look’ for men and boys. ”
What would you recommend to a young person like yourself who wants to do business or become part of a successful Italian start-up?
“I would recommend paying attention, and above all not to trust everybody, but to get involved and be hands on. I mean, to think with your own head. It might be more complicated, but in the long run it is worth it. Opportunities will arrive, and over time you can build up your team”.