This Blue Blooded Q&A series is a collaboration with Long John.
Get to know Stefano Aldighieri, a face from the Blue Blooded Portfolio
Born in Italy, lived in Italy, the UK, Canada, and the USA. For the last 20 years, I’ve called California home, currently living in Palm Springs.
Help brands, retailers, manufacturers on branding, marketing, design and general strategy. Mostly in denim and denim related areas.
I only use LinkedIn for business reasons, I actually find all the other so-called “social” networks to be the antithesis of “social” and a waste of time and bandwidth!
Stefano’s path into the denim business
Thomas: How did you get into (the world of) denim?
Stefano: By accident. I was in the textile world already and got headhunted to join a top denim mill.
At that time, I thought it would be the easiest job in the world—’how difficult could it be, it’s all blue and it comes in three weights,’ I was thinking.
But I soon realized how complex the whole process of making denim fabric and jeans is, and how hard it is to make really great ones.
T: What was your first pair of jeans?
S: I remember two, from my childhood, not sure which one came first.
One was from a brand that disappeared (and then returned) called Roy Rogers, I remember the zippered back pocket.
The other ones were Wrangler, my dad’s company was doing work for VF Europe at the time and he got me some rigid 13MWZ; I wore the hell out of those!
T: When did you know you were ‘hooked’ on raw denim?
S: As my knowledge of denim increased, I started wearing more and more (real) vintage pieces, hunting second hand stores and flea markets around the world, always looking for the perfect pair.
The more I did that, the more I realized that industrial laundered jeans, as great as some of them were, never looked “real”, and I never bought another pair of washed jeans; all my jeans since then were either made for/by me and worn rigid, or old vintage.
T: What is your favourite thing about raw denim?
S: I actually like everything about them, the way they look, how they feel, even how they smell. The fact that they keep changing over time and become unique is the key.
I think they fit better too since they gradually mould to your shape (I NEVER wear stretch jeans, by the way).
Stefano’s views on the denim business
T: What‘s been the greatest challenge you’ve faced so far, and what did you learn from it?
S. It’s ongoing; we must try to clean up our act, this industry is dirty, wasteful and polluting. We did not know it in the past and made a lot of questionable choices.
Now that we know that we can do better, we must push everybody to change and educate customers.
T: Which denim brands inspire you? And why?
S: The obvious answer is the original ones, like Levi’s or Lee, because they—along with many other obscure and long disappeared smaller brands—created a product that has not changed much in 150 years.
Vintage is always the main source of inspiration, so even when we want to make something really modern we must study our past.
T: Which denim retailers inspire you? And why?
S: I think we all end up going to the same stores in NYC, LA, London, Paris, Tokyo, etc. There are so many good ones that I would rather not name any, it would be a long list.
I tend to prefer the ones who have a strong point of view and surprise the customer with unexpected, unknown brands and/or a great presentation.
Stefano defines his denim style
T: What do you never leave home without? And why?
S: One of my cameras, I am super passionate about photography. I will also have a notepad—I discovered this Remarkable device, it’s all digital so I do not waste paper and I can file my notes on my computer, but it still feels like writing on paper.
T: List 3 of your favourite garments or accessories and (try to) explain how they define your style
S: 1) Comfortable (and stylish) shoes, I always like to walk a lot when I travel;
2) a neat bag to carry my cameras, sunglasses, notepads, etc.) and
3) a hat—I started shaving my head a long time ago, so I have no hairstyle options, and hats are the perfect touch to complete any outfit.
My style is really personal, I never follow trends, even though I often find that things I like will end up being very popular all of a sudden!
Need help with your denim business?
Want to learn more about Stefano? This Blue Blooded Q&A is a collaboration with Long John. Read his answers to the 10 ‘what’s your favourite’ questions at long-john.nl.
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