For the Chiappini Brothers, it was a decade ago when the duo founded No Perfect. From selling t-shirts online to eventually having their products stocked internationally, the family creatives celebrated several months ago when they opened their first flagship store in Italy. It sparked some drastic changes and a transition of streetwear for the pair. Nowadays, Italy is known to be a tough and competitive market to start a label.
ICON caught up with the men behind No Perfect to speak on the past, present and future and how to not only ‘make it’, but expand and grow in the process.
ICON: Tell us a bit about No Perfect. What is the story of the brand and how it all started? When did the love for streetwear begin?
Chiappini Brothers: “[It is] hard to say precisely when and why No Perfect was born – definitely boredom and [a] drive to express ourselves played a big role. Matteo and I have two very different backgrounds – hip-hop and rock/punk – that’s what glued up No Perfect. The combination between two different realities. We were one of the first labels to insert the concept of “one size” and we wanted to introduce a label that was genderless and innovative.
Season after season with the market getting more competitive, it pushed us to create collections more and more elaborated and getting our label being distributed between the USA, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. Our aim right now is to push our online e-commerce to the limit which we consider already as the core of our business.”
What was cool back then? And what changed in the past years in your opinion?
CB: “When we started 10 years ago everything was different, social media wasn’t a thing, Instagram wasn’t a thing and it was a massive difference. Without social media and influencers, it was a lot harder create a community who would fall in love with your label and follow your journey. There were [also] a lot less random people who wanted freebies without having knowledge or understanding of the industry. But the most important thing, everyone was a lot more humble and grounded, there was more respect. Especially for the ones who started before you.”
How hard is it for an independent Italian-born label to survive in the market? What are the key factors?
CB: “You must have a great business plan and business management. Having a great product helps but it’s not enough. You need to have total control of the budgets, investments, and be humble to change direction if something doesn’t work, but without ruining the souls of your label.”
What direction you think is streetwear taking in the next decade?
CB: “In the last few years we witnessed a big change in the industry, the evolution of streetwear and the high demand of it and the success of street labels in Paris and Milan. In recent years we have witnessed an almost radical change in the fashion industry. Why? Because fashion, like Alessandro Michele says, unifies humanity and fashion is becoming more and more part of our everyday life. Look at collaborations like Louis Vuitton and Supreme – the collision of two worlds, amazing, and not long ago it would have never been possible.”
What would you suggest to someone who wants to start their own label in 2020?
CB: “I would suggest to work on your patience. At the start, trying to show your vision and make people understand it is hard and you have to keep trying. Passion is not enough, you have to be stubborn. Our society offers us many possibilities and it’s up to us to take advantage of them. In the fashion industry there are so many young kids trying to open a label but only few don’t give up in front of the first difficulties. When you face your first “no’s” it’s hard to take them but you have to grow from them. You have to understand that this business is not just runways and PR and events. It’s business made of deadlines and payments – never forget it.”
You guys just opened your first flagship store in your hometown. How is that going? And why was now the right time for this decision?
CB: “We have been open for few months now. After 10 years, we wanted to open a store where we could play with our creativity but most of all collect feedback from our loyal customers to grow it’s fundamentals. And to keep a direct contact with your clients and listen to them.”
What’s next for No Perfect?
CB: ” [It is] hard to say as we are always evolving. We would have never expected this impact especially for us coming from a little Italian city. We went from selling some tees online to have distribution all over Italy and internationally. We just want to keep growing and one day hopefully to collaborate with a big name.”