Flagship of New York Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and sponsor of the Hug Shirt, the t-shirt sending hugs via Bluetooth, CuteCircuit collection stands out for its futuristic allure and LED soul.
What impresses us in particular? Not only that S/S 2015 fashion show has opened the American fashion week with haute-couture dresses and jewel bags connected to Twitter, but also that the brand Creative Director, Francesca Rosella, is Italian and celebrated CuteCircuit’s tenth anniversary last October in the evocative fashion show held in Rome Parco della Musica and sponsored by Altaroma.
One immediately wonders whether the path to success has been clear since the beginning or not. Today, in the Italian capital city, we will talk about that with Francesca and Ryan Genz, American CEO, co-founder of CuteCircuit.
Patrizia Saolini: Dear Francesca and Ryan, today we are telling Junglam readers how you have managed to use your potential, drawing inspiration from the fifteen potentials described in my book, “Retail Coaching: excel in sales with sport strategies” (Franco Angeli). What made the difference in the initial phase of your start-up?
Francesca Rosella: What a great idea to start from potentials illustrated in your book! Our vision stemmed from an encounter we have had during a technology training session, where love for beauty and curiosity for the digital world have led us to experiment a new form of communication and style. We have therefore launched a number of demi-couture garments enriched by sensors reacting to body movements, we have patented them and created the CuteCircuit brand.
Ryan Genz: as a former anthropology student, getting to know the digital evolution at the service of human beings meant I could see how to change the way to remotely communicate and interact. We have started working on the prototype of the T-shirt sending hugs, because we believed that technology could facilitate the exchange of not only text, but also “physical” messages.
PS: Which potentials have you developed to become an international brand?
FR: Persistency and curiosity are the first ones. At the beginning of 2004 we pioneered wearable technology and very few could help us manufacture garments with thousands of pixels and a wireless connection. After several attempts in Italy, we have decided to invest in England and London has then become our headquarter.
RG: Actually it was kind of frustrating for us not to find anybody to help us and we had to build everything from scratch. We had to save our energy to ensure high vitality and we have learnt to use impartiality. Indeed, both fashion design and production are made in Italy, whereas software and technological circuits, the “brains”, as we call them, are made in England, where this sector has an edge over the other countries.
PS: How have you managed the stress of not being understood immediately by market?
FR: The challenge has been to remain consistent with our mission and therefore to have integrity and audacity in changing the rules of the game: they have eventually realized who we were, in the States.
RG: Suddenly, in 2006, Time Magazine awarded the Hug Shirt as the best invention of the year and we have therefore celebrated this unforgettable moment of satisfaction: our vision has turned into a winning strategy!
PS: How has your leadership changed throughout the years?
FR: When all is said and done, we have been successful because we have combined the energy of the future in everyday clothing. Today our Galaxy Dress is displayed at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and CuteCircuit dresses are appreciated by many artists, including U2, Katy Perry and Laura Pausini, who wear our creations at international events. Leadership is therefore shared with followers and customers, who have become increasingly curious about the digital evolution.
RG: We want to go on being an example of open-mindedness and we are currently investing in the www.cutecircuit.com e-commerce website, as the foreign market is undoubtedly more receptive, when it comes to integrating technology in everyday life.
And while I thank Francesca and Ryan for their time, I am captured by the Mirror Hand Bag, the handbag I have connected with my Twitter account.
Just one click and I am living the future that has already turned into reality: this is pure talent, not potentials!
Photo by Armando Melocchi – Milano