Uomo Collezioni’s founder Johnny Manglani contemplates changes in Russian men’s tastes through the past decades, jealousy and the ways to keep up top quality in the era of fashion fakes.
— Let us begin with the perennial question: why is a modern man expected to be well-dressed? How has the Russian businessmen’s attitude to the way they look changed through the recent years?
Shall we define the key factors of success in business? Firstly, one must see one’s aims and goals very clearly. And one’s own personal image is an irreplaceable tool in establishing oneself. It is not merely the fashion trends as such that we are dealing with in this case, but a distinct style elaborated through the years along with one’s professional reputation. Moreover, the habits of getting dressed in style often run in the family: quite a number of my long time clients have been returning our boutiques with their children and then grandchildren… Can you imagine that? This is what I’ve managed to achieve in more than thirty years of working in Russia. Another aspect that I just cannot help mentioning is that purchasing new items for one’s wardrobe has turned into a kind of therapy for our gentlemen, after all the crises that we have been through lately.
— Our gentlemen are obviously paying more attention to fashion trends these days. How have their preferences changed?
First and foremost, Russian men are getting very well-versed in style matters. More and more often, we find ourselves discussing the tiniest aspects with our customers. Without exaggeration, we sometimes go as far as to choose the color of buttonhole trimmings together. Now this is what I call close attention to details!
— How would you define the reasons for this exactingness?
Numerous mega-malls and outlets, a wide range of online shopping opportunities: the more informed we get, the more original we try to look, it is no longer appealing to be like everyone else. Another important point is that today’s gentlemen no longer opt for what’s merely a product by a famous brand, but seek the sensation provided by the immaculately fitted clothing, the high quality lining fabric, the perfect seams, all the discreet yet essential details of a good suit.
— Why is Uomo Collezioni not represented in multi-brand stores?
As fashion brands are striving to reach out to their clients via various channels, the industry of fakes is flourishing at the market. I keep a close eye on our sales: the collections by Uomo Collezioni are available solely in our boutiques. This is the only way we can ensure the perfect quality of our garments. We at Uomo Collezioni are somewhat obsessed with top-level service and attending to every client’s needs. Should our customer be too busy to visit our boutiques in person, our tailors are ready to arrive at the address of their choice.
— Could you give a brief overview of your JM* collection? The “limited edition” label seems nothing out of ordinary these days, so what is your personal perspective on this notion?
It is not for nothing that the collection bears my personal initials (Johnny Manglani): I personally take care of every item. It is me who selects the fabrics, looks into the designs and so on, so the words “limited edition” are not just the catchy words on the label. These are exclusive handmade garments that will always stay unique. The collection is available solely at our boutiques and may be compared with a noble whiskey or a collectible kind of cigars. Come to think of it, it is one thing to possess a large box or good cigars; but a cigar rolled by the torcedor’s own hand is a completely different story (an experienced torcedor rolls more sophisticated cigar variations – Forbes Life).
A short while ago, I ran into a customer of mine at one of the Moscow restaurants. He came up to me and said, “Isn’t it high time you came up with your seventh jeans model, Johnny? They are only six, and I’ve already purchased them all! Both quality and design are just great, those are the best jeans I’ve had in my life!” This gives me confidence in what I do: people will always appreciate quality. All of our garments are handmade in Italy; we stick to the principle “the less, the better”. This is the reason why we will always stay a “limited edition** brand. We are not after the volumes, it is only too easy to lose touch with quality control in this case, and the excellent quality is something we can always guarantee!