Italian sports-wear brands have always played a big part in Casual Cultures, and none more so than Ellesse. We caught up with Matthew Reed, Head of Design at Ellesse, for a quick chat about the brand and the direction it is travelling in…
Morning Matthew. Can you talk us through what your role at Ellesse involves?
Hello. My job title is ‘Head of Design’ and I work with the brand owner on seasonal direction and implementing this through our Ellesse design team. I lead the Ellesse design team in creating 4 quarterly collections covering all categories and I’m involved with all elements of Ellesse product design and how this is driven through sectors of the business.
Ellesse is a great sportswear, heritage brand – how has the brand evolved over the years?
I think that we still maintain classics collections which keep us true to our routes, but we have evolved to a contemporary sports fashion brand covering multi categories.
Obviously, looking back a few years, films like The Business and The Firm brought Ellesse right back into the mainstream – did you have much input into the styles shown in the films?
Not directly but we do work closely with 80’s Casuals and Neil Primett who supplied product for the movies.
Do you have a storeroom full of the vintage pieces?
We do keep an archive of both vintage items we have found and purchased over the years as well as key piece we have produced on Ellesse – I’m sure you would like it!
What would you say is the most iconic piece Ellesse has ever produced?
Tricky, most iconic, due to when it was worn, and who by, I would say the track top worn by Boris Becker when winning Wimbledon as a wild card in 1985.
Why do you think casuals have such an affiliation to Ellesse?
Tennis brands, particularly Italian brands had a big influence on menswear and terrace culture in the 80’s – which, as you will be fully aware, is still recognised today.
How have you evolved your sales and marketing plans over the years?
We have had to be much more diverse and consider larger projects which cover a global appeal, whilst at the same time keeping in tune with smaller but influential local initiatives which drive relevance in markets.
What’s your plans for the future with the brand?
We want Ellesse to be known as an apparel brand, so to establish the footwear category to similar levels.
Finally, can you describe Ellesse in only 3 words…
Colour, Bold, Inclusive