This summer season a new, unique brand took its place on the infamous shelves of La Rinascente: The male swimwear brand Ripa & Ripa. Two friends Anna and Oliviero who graduated from Bocconi 3 years ago created the brand. They did not create it far away, “You can say that we discussed the idea by these benches by Leoni,” says Anna. Where did the idea to create an authentic male swim shorts come from? If you ever went shopping for stylish male swim shorts you know the struggle to find a decent one. Anna and Oliviero thought so and decided to create their own brand of swim shorts.
Ripa & Ripa’s name is also really familiar to Milanese people. They named in after the street Ripamonti and Ripa di Porta Ticinese. Anna underlines that creating a brand one should use autobiographical elements, the brand should reflect the creator. Ripa & Ripa is created around the idea of Milanese design, Italian craftsmanship and Mediterranean chicness.
The process for the final product is made up of four steps. Everything starts with inspiration. The brand has its aesthetics and every season evolves around it. The two creators of the brand take photos during the year that catches the vibe they want to pursue in their brand. The process is called “moodboard”. In these 1000 photos they choose the 30-40 best ones and create their new design around it. The colors and patterns are chosen and created according to the vibe they want to create.
Comfort is a crucial when you are talking about swim shorts. Their design for the form of the shorts has evolved around the key words elegant, minimal and high quality. “No one wants the parachute effect when they’re swimming,” says Anna. The third step of the process, production, takes place in Naples. A family owned business produces the shorts by hand. The unique fabric of the shorts are cut to pieces and assembled after. This is an extremely detailed process; only the pockets are made up of 8 pieces!
The last step is shooting, which Anne defines as the most fun part. Different types of photos consist still life photos, lookbook shootings and composition pictures which are used for social media and the website.
Ripa&Ripa labeled products are sold online and in shops. Until this year it was only exclusive reatilers around Europe but this season they are also taking their place on La Rinascente’s shelves. The swim shorts are also sold by multibrand e-commerces such as Bombinate.
Representation is everything. “Even the box that the swim shorts comes in should be thought” Anna says. Every detail of the brand is thought through, such as the waistband. “We even take a long time on our captions when posting pictures on Instagram,” Anna adds about the brand’s relationship with social media. Their marketing strategies include Facebook advertisements and email marketing. The brand is targeting a specific group, males that seek style and quality in their swimwear. “You should show people why they should choose you,” Anna says about standing out. Their future plans consist not to diversify but rather getting bigger. In June and July they are flying to Japan to talk to new retailers there!
How do you build a quality brand name from scratch? Anna says that many people told them they would not succeed. “You have to try over and over again,” she admits, the two friends went to 50 retailers until one said they would sell their products. “People have told me I’m too young, I have no clue about design but I didn’t listen,” she says; their brand Ripa & Ripa is clearly a success story. So let the Italian summer begin!