Brand Focus: Italia Independent
Created in 2007, Italia Independent is the brainchild of Lapo Elkann, Andrea Tessitore and Giovanni Accongiagioco. The brand is synonymous of style and creativity, crafted in Italy by experts who combine fashion and innovation with a unique perspective on design.
Lapo Elkann is the 38-year-old heir apparent to the Fiat Group automotive empire. He also sits at the helm of this flourishing eyewear brand. Apart from his growing empire, Lapo looks good in just about any piece of clothing he puts on, and his Instagram feed is an endless array of beautiful cars, airplane selfies, and just generally being badass. Over 200,000 people follow Mr. Elkan through his day to day high life. He also frequently includes his signature hashtag, #italiansdoitbetter. Who are we to argue?
Co-Founder Andrea Tessitore qualified as a lawyer in New York in 2001 and 6 years later was helping to set up Italia Independent with Elkan and Giovanni Accongiagioco who had first worked with each other at The Fiat Group. Lapo Elkann explains that when they left Fiat, they decided to start a company in eyewear. The basic premise being ‘Italians do everything better, why not eyewear, too!’
The Italian brand creates eyewear that mixes the Italian know-how and modernity with alternative materials that combine fashion and modern design to create stylish shapes from: carbon, aluminium, acetate and titanium.
“Being independent means writing one’s own story every day”
All of the brands product designs are cross-pollinated with Elkann’s appetite for Italian racing and luxury. When designing a new pair of sunglasses he often looks toward the racing or aerospace industry, or vice versa when designing a new car. “We’re always seeking new opportunities and possibilities for materials. Everyone in our company has a 360-degree vision, because ideas can come from places you least expect,” he said. “It’s in the DNA of my companies, and now it has, how do you say?, become the DNA of my employees, too.
“We share the same curiosity towards innovation, the desire to talk to each other’s worlds, to stimulate interaction between different industries and apply to a business born technologies to other worlds,” says Tessitore, the managing director in typically Italian flamboyance. “And then all three at some point in our lives we have decided to abandon a safe route we had before and a chance on a new adventure,” he adds. For Lapo Elkann it has meant detach from the family, and get involved in a whole new business, where his name was no guarantee of success. For Tessitore and Accongiagioco it meant leaving a “quiet” career to become entrepreneurs.
Italia Independent products are made in Italy and it rightly gives added value when wearing them. This is the philosophy of the trio of founders, who have not forgotten the Italian spirit ‘creative in their ropes, but instead have made it the springboard to launch itself on the world markets. This then allows it to sell everywhere, from London to Medellin from New York to Tokyo, from Rome to Paris.