The Italian sportswear brand Robe di Kappa participated the last June edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo by launching its new s/s 2023 collection inspired by the same preppy taste that was born in the US colleges of New England, also known as “varsity”.By visiting its own archives and tracing back its history, the brand was born in 1969 when Maurizio Vitale, at that time a young 23-year-old CEO of an old textiles company, recognized his peers’ desire to break from the old formal conventions in the years of the students’ movement, of marches for peace and sit-ins in front of the White House, while they simply wanted to wear unisex and casual clothes.
He then took a stock of T-shirts from a warehouse of unsold merchandise and had them all dyed in military green sewing army tabs and stars on to them. They were an unprecedented success. Every young Italian wanted one of those T-shirts: the Robe di Kappa brand was born.
Why did you choose to relaunch Robe di Kappa?
We are a company that offers products we hope people like and buy. We started offering these pieces with the same aim as in the past as we wanted to reach the younger consumers.
We decided to create a new and more modern collection that can also be appealing to the young consumers. Then we decided to bring it to Pitti Uomo, that remains the most important platform for presenting it to an international audience.
The Kappa brand is generally well-known because it is worn widely in the sport field internationally, as is its two “omini” logo, too. Robe di Kappa, instead, is less known outside of Italy as it was born - and is mostly known - in Italy. Thanks to this new initiative we aim to reach expand it internationally, too, as we operate in 130 countries worldwide.
How did you proceed? Where did you find inspiration for it?
All of our brands have a great history behind of them and, as we are not a designer company, we often look for inspiration by searching through our archives in order to discover, renew and make products become contemporary by reinventing our past.
We are not obsessed by this aspect. We do our best to select the best fabrics and solutions available but we are quite skeptical in using it unstoppingly and constantly as a communication tool.
That workshop was neither meant to promote circularity nor purposely push some sort of sustainable product, but rather involve a young creative play with our colors and logos.
It is not a one-shot project. In Italy alone we have 100 Robe di Kappa stores. For this it will continue it for future seasons.
It’s its name from the past. At that time it was called like that as they wanted to target the young people, who didn’t buy their products. We think this name could work fine today as well, as many products from our archives, just like many other apparel phenomena from the past are coming back.
What about prices? Did you do an upgrade with this collection?
No, we are not thinking of making an upgrade as we think this one is a very complex time but it’s not the case to raise prices. For sure it is focused on a very good price-quality ratio, as all of the products in our company.
We started it three seasons ago as a sort of test and for s/s 2023 it became a whole complete collection.
Will you include more product categories in the future?
For f/w we will also offer more pieces, including for instance, knitwear and heavier tops.