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A Q&A with Anna Laura Hoefer, Ripa Ripa’s Co-Founder.
What inspired you to start Ripa Ripa?
Ripa Ripa was born in 2015 on Ripa di Porta Ticinese in Milan. We couldn’t find a swim short which was, what we considered, beautiful and elegant at the time, nor a brand which produced Made in Italy swim shorts like we were looking for. Thus we set out to redesign the classic swim shorts, drew patterns inspired by the Mediterranean and created a production fully made in Italy.
What’s the philosophy behind Ripa Ripa and its products?
We stand for spontaneous, understated elegance combined with contemporary design and traditional Italian craftsmanship.
Inspired by the aesthetics of the Mediterranean and the Italian sixties, the swim shorts were redesigned for a more tailored cut and are manufactured in Italy with a keen eye for sartorial detail to embody the essence of l’Estate Italiana.
How do you approach design at Ripa Ripa, and where do you find inspiration for new products?
Our inspiration stems from Italy – Sicilian tiles and ornaments, Neapolitan vintage tie patterns, the rich fragments of summer that stayed in our memory upon the returns from the travels, the vivid colours and motifs of nature, the ancient textiles and ceramics, the work of artists like Renzo Mongiardino and places like Museo delle Maioliche Stanze al Genio in Palermo. All united by the beauty of Italian summer, and its reinterpretation through our eyes. Each single design is hand drawn and has a meaning, its name is related to the inspiration and the places we visit and stay in our memory.
What public figure, past or present, do you feel best represents the overall style of the brand?
We have no specific one in mind, several people have inspired us over the years, such as Gianni Agnelli walking down the streets of Capri in his white polo shirt, which also sparked our Capri shirt creation, up to Gio Ponti and Renzo Mongiardino which are great architects that have inspired some of our patterns.
Name the best song, album and movie to go with your brand.
Song probably Aida – Rino Gaetano. Album surely Napoli Segreta. Movie one of our favourites is A bigger splash.
How has the brand evolved over time?
We’ve developed from redefining Italian swimwear, to redefining Italian summerwear. Our collections now evolve not only around swim shorts anymore, but also around linen shirts, shirt jackets and linen trousers.
What have been the biggest challenges that you had to face during Ripa Ripa’s entrepreneurial journey?
Probably the biggest challenge has been to keep the brand image in every aspect of the business, each single touchpoint in Ripa Ripa needs to be aligned with the image and our mission. The initial difficulty was to find and select suppliers that share the same values and want to grow together in a sustainable way.
Where does Ripa Ripa manufacture its products?
Portici is a small town in the south of Naples, right at the foot of the Vesuvio, probably known for its historical railway line along the coast rather than for swimsuit or shirt making. Our atelier is hidden in the basement of an unassuming, red residential block, just behind the railway station and a few minutes from the sea. We take pride in promoting the local, sartorial heritage of Italian manufacturing. Each swim short and shirt is produced by an atelier that has decades of experience in cutting and sewing the finest tailored-made shirts. We want to give our swim shorts as much attention as is typically reserved to suits and shirts. More importantly, we want to give our products a personality and make them unique through the hands of the people who sew them.
What is the relationship between you and the brand’s suppliers?
We work with one specialised supplier for every material used in the supply chain and one manufacturer, which assembles our garments. We visit the laboratory very often, speak to our tailors daily and share the same values. We strive to give each of our products a personality, making them unique through the hands of their creators, from drawing to stitching, with passion and attention to detail along the whole way. We want our garments to walk you through a special journey.
How much do you think sustainability is important in today’s fashion industry and how does it fit with your vision?
What we cherish the most is that all our garments are made in Italy. The craftsmanship skills and tradition we have here in Italy are fundamental to our brand. It is a heritage that we want to carry on over generations. We believe in quality over quantity, in the return to owning one great, well-made product rather than many standardised, mass-produced goods.
Leave us with a motto that the company will always believe in.
Gift an idea of l’Estate Italiana to the rest of the World.
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