“Be brave and patient.” Martina Grasselli, born in Reggio Emilia on the 16th March …
“We would like for Waxman Brothers to be more than just fashion; we would like it to be a lifestyle.”
Valerio Ruberto born in Modena on the 26th January of 1986 and Nicolò Talignani from Parma, born on the 14th February of 1986, are the creative minds behind Waxman Brothers brand.
Valerio: I graduated in Marketing and Communication in 2009, and then started working in advertising and digital marketing. Some years later in 2013, I founded the communication agency Ventisette Digital Communication. Finally in 2015, my business partner Nicolò Talignani and I created the brand Waxman Brothers.
Nicolò: I graduated in Marketing and Communication together with Valerio in Modena then pursued a Master’s degree in Marketing and Management at Bocconi University, Milan. Since 2009 I’ve traveled to London, Milan, New York and Paris.
What brought you to this profession?
Valerio: I have always been passionated about music, fashion and design. When I realized that no one would ever hired me to do these 3 things together, I decided to create my own brand. Waxman Brother was born from the will to develop something we believe in and love to do.
Nicolò: Passion and a strong will to play the game… of fashion.
Why did you choose this name for your brand?
The distinctive feature of our brand is the utilization of wax printed fabrics. We wanted a name that could contain this meaningful word, in fact our first idea was “Wax tailor”, but this name was already taken by a French manufacturer, so we changed to “Waxman”. We also liked to give to the name a sense of belonging and authenticity, so we completed the name by adding “Brothers” and voilà!
Multiculturalism is the keyword that emerge when we look at your clothing items and designs. Why have you chosen to maintain the production in Italy and not somewhere else?
We would like for Waxman Brothers to be more than just fashion; we would like it to be a lifestyle. Our desire for our products is for them to not only be of good quality, but we also want them to carry a story to tell. In each and every one of our wax printed-shirts, there’s a story that tells about Africa plus a representation of western style, and the quality of Italian manufacture. We can also hear the sounds and the beats of the two continents; Jazz, soul, R&B, Hip Hop, and African music, combined with European rhythms to give birth to new identities.
Producing in Italy is a key activity for our brand not only for the quality. We work with different suppliers in different Italian regional areas such as Lombardia, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany. What makes it an added bonus is the opportunity to study and work with them to take care of every single detail.
Tell us more about your life in Paris: what drove you out of Italy and what made you fall in love with the French capital?
In the period in which we lived together, we frequented the 18th Arrondissement very often; a lively and heterogenous neighborhood where one can smell the cultural syncretism of the capital. On one side lies Montmartre district; the emblem of the Paris of the modern artists which nowadays is inhabited by the upper middle class, and on the other side lies Château Rouge o La Goutte d’Or; a working class neighbourhood full of shops and African markets. The inspiration coming from these districts is very limpid and perceptible by the brand.
I don’t feel like “I left Italy”; it will always be a part of me, but it is fundamental to travel and dive into different cultures, places, and people. Paris is culturally very rich, and it offers so many opportunities. Here you can enjoy the most famous bands in concert, or the unknown niche musicians, you can visit the exhibitions of the most important and historical artists. You can also attend Fashion weeks and many other important events. Living in this environment is stimulating, and of course you are always inspired! However, no Parisian will ever admit to love Paris, so neither will I!
What is your target audience?
Our brand is considered “high-end” streetwear, and our customers are usually in their 20’s to 40’s who have a keen eye for design, quality and new trends with a marked interest for art.
The hardest challenges for you?
We encounter challenges day by day because it is difficult to find, establish, and maintain relationships with suppliers and manufacturers who match our expectations.
What are some of your greatest moments?
We can recall 3 moments we’d like to share: the day the singer Jovanotti wore one of our shirts; our first order made by a small shop in Reggio Emilia, and the day we entered into Merci, one of the most important boutique of Paris.
What should be changed in Italy in order to offer more opportunities to young entrepreneurs like you?
In general, my feeling is that Italy is a country that demands a lot, and offers very little in terms of work relations, politics and economy. Often, people are perceived as costs and not as resources. If this tendency was reversed, the situation would be more positive for every one. Italy is a wonderful country and I have an indelible bond with her. I don’t like the idea of Italy being compared with other countries, but I prefer to see Italy as a part of a whole with the world.
Wax connection is a great project! Can you tell us how it was born, and how are you moving forward with it?
“Happiness in real only when it is shared.” This is an inflated slogan.
However, I’ll quote it to explain how relevant is the concept of sharing! We believe in the values represented by our brand and in the importance of sharing it with as many people as possible. Wax connection was born from this approach as we spread our values through a group of artists that use creativity as a main outlet of expression. Through this view, we started contacting musicians like Jovanotti, Joan Thiele, producers and DJ’s like Gilles Peterson, Lefto, Populous, Khalab, and Clap! Clap! We also connected with photographers and designers like Luca Zamoc who loved the projects and wore our shirts representing Wax Connection during their tour in Europe. Today we are moving forward with the project by researching new artists who are willing to connect with us, and also by sponsoring events like Mukanda Festival, and participating in initiatives like Midnight Run in collaboration with Unesco.
Today we are working on a new event in Milan and soon, we would like to produce and support new emerging artists.
If you could choose one or more people to collaborate with, who would he/she be?
Personally I would like to work with Pierpaolo Ferrari, an Italian Photographer that works together with Maurizio Cattelan to create the Toilet Paper magazine. He was also involved in the campagna of Kenzo and Maison Kitsuné. I enjoy his style and the way he can pull out the spirit of the brand.
You have extended your creativity to interior design: we wish that KUISHI gets to the best Parisian lounges and beyond. Would you like to add something else about your Home line?
Kuishi is a beautiful project that progresses parallel to Waxman Brothers to reinforce the concept of the lifestyle we mentioned before. Initially, the first pieces were a revisitation of elements of furniture decorated with wax printed fabrics. Now, the designer Nicola Manfredi created a real collection that consists of original pieces, sofas, lamps, pillows and also ceramic cups, all designed and manufactured in Italy. We are very proud of his work, and confident that as soon as the items will be available, they will obtain a great success!
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