Sutor Mantellassi is amping things up. Footwear News spoke with CEO Anton Magnani about modernizing and growing the Italian heritage brand.
What’s new in the spring ’17 men’s collection?
“For the first time, we introduced sandals. I wanted to do it like the 1960s and ’70s — simple but high quality. They have full-leather outsoles and footbeds and come in a variety of colors. We also have new, flexible constructions made of kangaroo leather, which is becoming a key material for the summer. We have driving mocs that are super-light. It’s a new technique, with direct-injection rubber in the leather sole.”
How do you keep your product offerings relevant ?
“We’ve modernized through collaborations. Our sneaker collab with [The Sartorialist’s] Scott Schuman has been a success — there’s a nice demand. But the biggest part of our revenue is from dress shoes, especially exotics: alligator, ostrich and python. In our stores, we also offer made-to-order. You choose from three fittings and then pick the style. You can customize colors, laces, buckles and stitchings. Our made-to-measure program is similar, but also includes a specialist who takes your measurements.”
What has been your key retail focus?
“Our goal is to bring the customer back to our shop floors. To do so, we recently launched a new retail concept and look, to deliver a more luxurious feel. We have two stores, in Milan and Florence [Italy]. We’re also opening locations as shop-in-shops inside department stores. In July, we debuted a space in Le Bon Marché in Paris. In September, we’ll open a shop-in-shop in KaDeWe in Berlin. That way, we gain great traffic immediately.”
You joined the brand in 2014. What were your challenges?
“When I joined, the company was struggling. The brand had disappeared from all of the best stores in the world. My first goal was to revamp the company’s image and our products. Your product is the best business card you can have. I wanted to talk to a new customer through new collections, which are a mix of tradition and innovation — not just capturing the conservative guy who knows us, but a brand-new consumer who is aware of quality.”
What are your future goals?
“We’re on a growth path — double-digit year-on-year. This is helping us fund all the projects we have, including implementing new retail locations and supporting partnerships with top luxury retailers. It’s also important to establish the brand in the best markets. The U.S. and Europe are key. Asia is also important — Japan and China are two areas where we are working to develop our presence. We aim to be one of the top 10 brands in the world for men’s footwear.”