Please tell us about yourself and the brief history of creating the brand Sunnei!
We’re Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo – co-founders and creative duo behind SUNNEI – though none of us has a design background or studies.
Coming from different places – Loris from Grenoble while Simone from South of Italy – we met few years ago in Milan, where we moved to complete our studies in Economics & Marketing. After having experienced different kind of works in the industry, from visual merchandising to PR, we agreed to quit our jobs and start the brand together.
It was everything but simple, as risky as exciting, but we wanted to create a project in which we felt really involved. From that moment on our lives completely changed but it definitely was worth it.
Sunnei is highly recognized as an international brand rather than the localized figure. What do you think Sunnei's current position is, internationally & in Milan respectively?
From the very start, people often wondered if SUNNEI was a Japanese brand, cause our shapes and aesthetic don’t fit into the traditional Italian fashion references. Actually we like the idea of being “international”, cause it’s a definition that matches with markets we work with. Despite this we feel also really close to our country and Milan in particular, even if it is far from being our first market. We could say that – since SUNNEI is 100% developed and Made in Italy – this is the best place to create and develop our point of view on the international scenario.
Milan is undoubtedly a symbolic city for fashion industry with all the resources and heritages. How does your city Milan affect your work in any way?
Milan is the city where we decided to base our headquarters and from which we take a lot of inspiration regarding people, architecture and sometimes stereotypes we like working with. We’re a bit far from the Milanese fashion scene, we rather looking at people we meet on the street and our daily routine - such as an after-work aperitivo. We created a kind of community including musicians, visual artists and designers we like hanging out with, that influence our work and often collaborate with us. Despite all the travels that we consider fundamental for our research, we also focus on playing with words and Italian lexicon is definitely a huge source.
We're curious about your thought on the South Korean market since it has long been your brand's big fan.
South Korea is one of our first markets and we can also see the costumers’ strong engagement on our social media channels. The brand’s had the interest from Asia in general since the start, but South Korea is the country where we have received a surprisingly positive feedback from. Since we like this idea of SUNNEI of an international brand, it would be great to work on a special project for that market.
How did Sunnei and Tom Greyhound first meet? Please tell us about the bond between Sunnei & TGH.
Tom Greyhound is one of the stores that believed in the SUNNEI potential from the very start and it’s by far one of our top clients. There are plenty of things we appreciate in being stocked inside TGH – first of all It’s placed in the Marais, which is our favorite Parisian neighborhood with all the cafes and cool spots. We also appreciate the idea that the brand is part of a concept store dedicated to an entire life style more than just fashion. Having the opportunity to collaborate with the team on special projects, such as events and window displays is an added value and also the chance to promote both our identities.
You've launched women's wear this year, congratulations ! What was the motivation and what significance does it have?
The Womenswear collection is the natural extension of the male line and it’s something we had been fantasizing about from a while. We have always imagined SUNNEI as a complete entity, but we were waiting for the right moment to bring it to life. When we started working with our team on creating Womenswear, it’s been crazy the ease we had in explaining our view – like we had all in mind since the start. It’s a big step for the brand and we want to define always better our vision of the female line.
Could you clarify the difference between men's wear and women's wear briefly?
They’re two parts of the same world that communicate and complete each other. A single aesthetic has been translated into two worlds – we’re far from the idea of unisex. We focus on working with shapes and fabrics, combining them in order to create the male and female wardrobe. Accessories also respond to a single, first idea that we develop into two different tracks to obtain well defined and separate products.
Social network platforms have been your major marketing methods, which led to the great success. How do you see the marketing means in the future?
Social network and Instagram first are our preferential channels where the main goal is to communicate the brand’s mood and vision on daily life, besides contents related to products and e-commerce. The next step is to reinforce the relationship we’ve created with our customers beyond social channels and also expand the offline strategy.
Lastly, could you share with us your next goal as a designer?
Bring forth the SUNNEI world.