Turin-born Luca founded his label in 2014 with a single-minded mission in his sights: to create beautifully cut, timelessly classic menswear staples, replete with quality-enhancing details, using the very best raw materials available on the planet.
The journey towards his goal is never ending, as he tells Robb Report – but the progress he’s made to date is rightly winning him plaudits universally amongst men who have an informed, fastidious approach to their wardrobes.
To what extent is Luca Faloni the brand based on Luca Faloni the man’s sartorial inclinations?
The manner in which we’ve introduced products in our collections has always been rooted in observation: in seeing things that I believe are requisite to a good wardrobe, based on how I live my own life – and therefore the need to look and feel right for formal occasions, journeys, down time and so on. The brand has always encapsulated my own style – classic, but with a “free time” feel to it too.
Has your sartorial knowledge developed much over the seven years the brand has existed?
Definitely. In the brand’s first year, we didn’t actually launch any products – we spent that time researching, meeting manufacturers and so on. It was a phase of learning and discovery: I spoke to many people who had contrasting opinions, and who showed me different ways to come up with the kind of clothes we want to produce. This meant that I developed stronger, more precise views about what perfect stitching should be like, how buttons should look, what the ideal colours for a shirt should be. It’s a never-ending process, to be honest – the more you pursue this project, the more you learn about the products, and about manufacturing, and the more you refine what you are doing.
“Integrity” is a core pillar for you. Has it taken on a new meaning, in this strange era?
The pandemic hasn’t changed our philosophy – it’s reinforced it. It’s proven that if you focus on products that never go out of fashion and last longer because of their quality, then even when times are difficult, like they are now, you’re still going to be preferable, for discerning buyers, to fast fashion. The darker days we’ve been through were difficult for the menswear industry – for us, forecasting demand became difficult. So we decided to work more closely with our artisans to come up with solutions that would work for all of us in terms of how to structure the next production batches and payments. We worked harder to understand each other and to make anticipate problems before they arose.
Improving and enhancing product lines rather than new styles, new cuts – what’s behind this philosophy?
We believe that a man’s wardrobe should consist of limited numbers of well-made staples – things that you wear most of the time. Perhaps five per cent of the time, people can wear something a bit crazier, but everyone needs two or three pairs of chinos, everyone needs a couple of classic shirts for work and for free time, everyone needs a zip cardigan… There are elements in a man’s wardrobe that are there to stay forever. They won’t go out of fashion. Seeing as those designs will never change much, our philosophy is, let’s just make them – perfectly!
That said, during Covid, we did adjust the product range a little, because of more demand for loungewear and casualwear. We added t-shirts recently, and linen jerseys. The demand was there from the customers, including myself – I see myself as a customer – whose lifestyles have changed. We work from home more, we travel less, we don’t need to dress in Oxford shirts to go to offices. When lifestyles change, the product range has to be adjusted.
Is fabric improvement is a never-ending journey?
There are many ways to play with materials. You can always experiment with new blends – we’re now doing a silk-cotton, for example – but you can also change the percentages of what raw materials go into textiles and factors such as the durability change. The feeling on the skin changes, the shininess of the cloth changes. You can play around a lot with research and development, and always come up with something new, and that’s at the core of our approach to our work.
You can also change the way you dye textiles to make them fade less. We’re always asking ourselves, “How can we make garments less prone to shrinking? How can we make a textile more stable?” The technology keeps getting better, quality control keeps getting better. It would be sad to concede that there is not always more that can be done with fabric.
What’s your ambition for the Luca Faloni brand in the future?
We’re putting a lot of effort into improving our existing lines. We’re adding categories to the collections, but we try to be selective. We don’t sell shoes or jackets for now, but we may do so in the future – our goal has always been to develop a full look, including all that a man might need, but we’ve always want to pursue this goal gradually, thoughtfully, perfecting what we already have along the way – and that takes time.
In terms of distribution channels, we believe we should have a multichannel model – direct to the consumer. We believe that online retail without physical retail to support it won’t work. A brand needs both. So we want to add some new stores to our repertoire – I’ve been looking for spaces in Munich and Milan, for example.
From a content and communications point of view, we want to engage more and more with new content creation to show people how to use our products, how to take care of them. We want to educate our customers about the artisans whose efforts go into making the garments. It’s extremely important to communicate to our customers and explain, exactly, what makes a product special – and in doing so, enhance their appreciation and enjoyment of what we produce for them.