Interview with Thomas Wirth & Matteo Sinigaglia

Face2Face
Thomas Wirth & Matteo Sinigaglia
Thomas Wirth & Matteo Sinigaglia
Director, Replay Germany & CEO, Replay respectively
Replay
Replay

What exactly is it?

MS: When you touch this new denim, it is super soft. With this, we moved the denim sense to another level. It is still a five-pocket jeans, made from denim, but the touch is even softer than silk. TW: The touch is really incredible. Too bad it only exists for women so far. (laughs) MS: Yes, that’s right. Women are very important to the world, because they are more disruptive in the way they buy. They are very open-minded. Therefore, we are very polite: Women first. (laughs) TW: As we implemented Hyperflex in the market, we first thought about the women. But, looking at the turnover now, men have caught up and are now doing a big part of the sales. As I mentioned before, I am a denim collector, all my denims are very rough, heavy and stiff and I never thought Hyperflex could be for me. But since the first time I wore it, I didn’t want to take it off again. Men are rethinking the way they dress and the importance of comfort in their everyday lives. MS: If the innovation is real and original, if you’re the first to launch it, men and women will both recognise it. But women are usually faster. Women are smarter than men (laughs).

Which are your biggest markets and how do you target them differently?

MS: Europe is our biggest market and within Europe, it is Germany. We are lucky that we have a business which is easy to understand for everyone. Our product, denim, is worn by people in Zambia up to Norway. Our goal is to be a global brand with a local identity. We are proud of our culture about quality and with this we can reach people everywhere. TW: Germany is a very tough market, a very challenging and competitive market and a very demanding consumer, very knowledgeable about the product. So once you pass the test in Germany, you can go anywhere.

According to statistics, the Germans have the most pairs of jeans in their closets worldwide. Why do think that is?

TW: Historically, the first jeans were made by a German, Levi Strauss, so maybe it is in our genes? It surely has to do with the flexibility and ease that jeans offer. The way we dress in Germany, but also in the world, is no longer split between work and free time the way it used to be. There is no product which is easier to wear than a pair of denim. And it also changes with who is wearing it, it becomes a personal piece of art.

How do you approach sustainability in the denim business?

MS: There are two approaches to making more sustainable denim. One is consumption and the other is the use of water. So we were looking for a way to make no one pay for their rights. Everybody should have the right to clean water. We were one of the first to introduce technologies such as Laserblast in our process, with which we were able to reduce the use of water by almost 90 per cent. We substitute chemicals with technology. By using these refined industrial processes, we found a way not to make the end-consumer pay for the hidden costs of our production.

Testimonials are a big part of the Replay brand message. Neymar and Alessandra Ambrosio currently feature in the Replay ads for Hyperflex. How did you chose them?

MS: We are very happy to call them friends of Replay. We always look for people who are compatible with our world. They are very viral with people. Neymar is one of the most influential sportsmen in the world, but at the same time he is a really nice guy. He is humble, he trains very hard and he has a great future ahead of him. He also cares about the way he looks. We all like him and he likes our product. He represents our core values: coolness and hard work.

What markets are you looking to for the future of Replay?

MS: For me it is not about the money. I want to see as many happy people wearing my jeans as possible. Having said that, we are planning openings in new markets by the beginning of the next year. Two markets in which we are not yet present: South America and South East Asia. I believe by the middle of 2017 we will be present in the US with a decent approach. And I believe in my cooperation in China. China will grow very much. In the end, it is about developing an incredible product from collection to collection. Our main focus is: Make the best possible product.
Published on: 16/09/2016

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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