What other shoemakers do you admire?
There are a lot of great shoemakers. Edward Green and John Lobb are the “classic masters”, evergreen, as well as the great Ferragamo. We also like Aubercy, Gaziano and Girling e Saint Crispin’s even if their style is a little different, We admire lots of their shoes like works of art, but we wouldn’t wear some of their models because they don’t fit our style and mood.
How would you define Barbanera experience in a few worlds?
Soul, adventure, instinctive, aesthetic, artistic, creative, tradition, modern, borderline, pirate spirit, dynamic, Italian, family and brotherhood.
What type of customer do you target?
People with a certain taste and a particular background. We wanted to build not just a brand but a real concept around it. People that love artisanal, not mass-market products, that give importance to details, that love arts, literature, music, that want to be different, even owning customized products, with strong personality, people able to recognize the real beauty without being snob or radical chic. Our customers are from all over the world. Well the most are from Italy now, but we have customers from everywhere. They have a very wide age range, from 20 to 70 years old. They’re students, lawyers, designers, directors, CEOs, actors, artists, musicians, famous people or very simple people. It doesn’t matter, the most important thing is not what you do but what you are. So we want our shoes to be worn by people with a certain personality, taste and character.
How would you define yourself in terms of style?
We like to say we’re “borderline”. We can change everyday, it depends on the moment, on the feeling, on the occasion but we always keep our personality. There are different ways to show and decline your personality and taste. We have a classic background but not just that. We are not conformist, absolutely not. And we also make lots of sport and physical activity so our style is like a “mix”, sometimes it’s very sporty, we also like surfers style, for example! Why not? We also wear sneakers.
Sergio is more influenced by the British and American r’n’r and psychedelic scene from 60’s and 70’s, Sebastiano is more “Italian” and classic. But, again, we don’t like fix schemes. One day we are in black tie and tuxedo on the red carpet in Cannes, the day after we’re riding our Harley Davidson wearing boots, blue jeans and a tank. It’s not what you wear but how you wear it. We don’t follow seasonal or temporary fashion trends, we really think style is something you can only recognize once you see it.
What is your favorite word?
“Papà”, when it’s spoken by our kids. Sergio’s son is 2 years old, Sebastiano’s daughter 1. Fillippo has 2 daughters. Alessandro, well, he’s too young.
What is your least favorite word?
Women with high heels! No, seriously: good music, nature, a good piece of art or literature and beauty in all its expressions. We’re lucky, we were born and we live in one of the most amazing and beautiful places in the world. You can find beauty anywhere, anytime. We often say “Life is too short not to be Italian”. We really love our country, it’s the perfect place to get inspired.
What turns you off ?
Ignorance, banality, insignificance and snobbery, for sure.
What is your favorite curse word?
“Minchia”. It’s from the Sicilian dialect, but it is well known and used all across the country now…
What sound or noise do you love?
Our kids voices, again. A long distorted note from a guitar playing blues music, our steps running in a wild wood.
What sound or noise do you hate?
City noises. Milan is a very noisy city.
What profession would you not like to do?
Don’t know…maybe grave-digger?!?
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Ok guys, you were very good so you deserve to see your father and kiss him, then you can come back down on Earth, your time hasn’t come yet. And…before that, I saw you make amazing shoes…can I have a loafer in size 9 please?