This time I want to introduce to you contemporary menswear fashion brand Codice, which offers masculine, clear modern fit, and wearable apparel. All collections are oriented to a man, who's wearing stylish, but not fast trendy fashion garments, in other words, Codice offers timeless Italian modern style looks. I had chance to speak with label's creative director Giorgio Filippi and here is my interview with him:
When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer? How did you get into fashion?
My father was an independent electrician and he was also working for the biggest knitwear company in our area. As a kid I worked with him during summer school holidays and maybe I got involved in textiles without knowing it.
Actually I wanted to be an architect and I did my first drawings when I was 10 but then I turned to foreign languages when I understood Italian was not enough for me to interact as much as I wanted.
When I finished at school the same knitwear company offered me a job as foreign junior sales manager. I became the designer and product manager years later when I found it impossible to explain foreign buyer’s emotions and requests to some totally closed minded Italian designers. These designers were not even able to say “good morning” in English or French but they thought they knew everything…. How can you offer something to someone if you do not even understand him ? This is still the key to my work. Interacting with people, let them speak out , try to find out (if they know..) what they are missing and simply fill the gap if you agree with it. Nothing is more simple than that!
What's it like being in the industry? Are there any "battles" between designers? Do they spy to use ideas from each other?
The industry is a huge never-stopping-washing-machine. In the sense that it never stops. Selling seasons are crossing one with the other and you can’t switch your brain off for even a second. While you are still working on the past one the present one is requiring your full attention while your mind is already thinking of the next one. You must be crazy enough to love it and live with it.
Most “Designers” are of course all full of themselves, and there is maybe some kind of jealousy but I would not call it a battle. “50% genuine competition” might explain it better….
I believe spying is not what designers do between themselves. I would rather think that some worldwide chains do copy a lot from famous runways and present similar stuff much earlier and much pricier than the brands they took ideas from, and this is, in my opinion, the really dark side of the business.
We all take ideas from similar sources (trend websites, trend books etc etc) but we need to re-interpret them into our own collections. And this were you see the difference.
How would you describe your brand and design aesthetic? Tell us about your collections, fabrics use, production.
CODICE is an “ideas lab” in which I try to develop some pure Italian touch designed for export markets. This is why finally I never really follow last trend books key-lines and I work out the collection the way I think it will suit better all the different countries needs where we sell. Just as an example, despite an always warmer climate, trend books and yarns&fabrics suppliers love to show heavy yarns & fabrics when customers won’t finally accept it. So my collection will never be the “last-one in trend” but I hope it can be the first one in "sell-out".
We try to focus production in Italy for knits and in Turkey for polos. We may start a partnership with a Mongolian factory to bring the very best wool cashmere silk blend ever seen in the market for next Fall. You might stay tuned!
Where do you go for inspiration?
I travel so much that I actually love to have a couple of hours of peace in my garden!
When I am not too tired I do some running up in the hills surrounding my little hometown.
There is no better place in the world to find peace and think about your business!
How much does travel influence your designs and how does that inspiration turn into reality?
I visit any type of store, but mainly not textile. After few, clothing shops all look the same.
I do love furniture, interiors and some kind of modern museum.
Travels inspire 95% of my work.
Is there any place in the world you haven’t been to yet but would like to visit from a professional perspective?
Japan for business but it is already scheduled for coming September. But for inspiration, I would love to spend a month around Argentina down to Patagonia. I am sure that will be very inspiring. Colors & nature, back to the roots.
Describe your working day? How it starts? What's the best time to get up? What's your breakfast? Is it important for you to eat before you work? Or it's just a coffee and you ready to create?
I do not sleep a lot, 5 to 6 hours per night and generally my night is always very creative.
Some Nightmares but mainly very interesting dreams… So I wake up early mainly around 6-6,15. When home I generally take black tea, yogurt and some croissant with marmalade.
When traveling I never have the same thing every day. I try to eat different to pretend to myself I am eating better….I never start thinking to create something before breakfast.
When I have some important schedule obligation this makes me crazy. Under pressure there is nothing good coming out. I can spend a week without having a single idea worth drawing, and then just because of a picture or a view that I see I will non-stop think of 25 different ideas. I hate & love this unpredictable way of working but I can’t change it.
How active is your lifestyle?
work & family take 95% of my time & energy. I have a very active life. I fly more than 90 times a year and I actually think I might do more running in one of my usual days at work than someone doing a ten mile routine. I know I do lie to my body! The biggest benefit for my work would be to add just 1 hour (to 24) for my running routine!
Who do you think is the ideal woman/man of your brand?
We brand CODICE as “be cool, be different”.
I would rather select a cool man but not in his 20’s. I loved guys as Steve McQueen but this is a very easy pick. Today I would rather go for Ewan McGregor. I read a lot about his motorbike trip all-around Africa. Mystical! How cool for him someone to run a bike in such a mysterious and dangerous place like Africa ? wow!
How would you describe your personal fashion style?
I would call it “easy”, some would call it “cool” or “non classic classical" ….. But this is very much the way you really look at fashion. Style is actually what you really are. I rather like to think that 90% of fashion oriented but not fashion obsessed men like to dress up easily every morning. I hate the so-called Friday-wear image. This means you are wearing a uniform that you did not choose all week long. How can you feel good about it? So, actually in recent years I just wear any type of sneakers, jeans and tees. Finally when it is cold enough some of my sweaters even if I find them old as I created them a year before! The highest pleasure is to wear light knitwear one day and a chunky sweater the next! Surprise yourself!
Can you tell us about your Spring collection?
SS is mainly a free-time & spirit collection. Easy colors, not too flashy but plenty of small details. I tried to move each product from “simple & basic” to “refined & different” which is actually what our retailers love to have from Codice. We try to be special without being too crazy and overpriced. Light weight cotton knits mixed with tees & polos with graphic designs.
Every article is exclusive and one-of-a-kind. This is my personal way to inspire myself back to new idea after new idea. When you have a good one, the next one must be as good and different. Main colors are denim blue, white & light grey. Some touch of orange & yellow highlight a very “masculine" collection.