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Close-Up Preview: Michele Malenotti, marketing and business expansion director at Matchless

Drapers gives you an exclusive sneak-peek of our Close-Up interview with Michele Malenotti, previous owner of outerwear brand Belstaff and now board member and marketing and business expansion director at motorcycle and clothing brand Matchless, ahead of the full interview in this weekend’s edition.

Given that your family is Italian, what is it about British brands that inspires you so much?
We always had a passion for British brands. They are often very classic and I think that in a way they always represent an icon. Like Ferrari in Italy, there are some brands which are iconic, where it’s not only about the clothing; it’s about the idea of the brand they are representing. With Matchless we have this – we talk about a British identity, and we love to design to it.

How does the brand work as a family business?
My father is the founder and chairman, and we [Michele and his brother Manuele] are board members, so I’m working on the marketing and expansion and my brother is working on the PR side of the business. We all work in a team and the company is growing very fast, so we will build up the team and we will present them to the press in June. We already have an English director for the motorcycle side of the business – Steve Bones – who came in from the motorcycle field as the managing director of the company.

Will you be expanding on your initial offer of jackets and introducing new categories in the future?
Yes, we’re already developing accessories. We have many ideas, but we want the brand to become the leader of outerwear and urban mobility first and foremost. We want to focus on that and build the outerwear field before anything else. In the accessories field we have less space, as there are so many other competitors in that market.

You have Kate Moss on board as part of your advertising campaign. What can you tell me about her involvement with the brand?
We had worked with her before and we started speaking to her right after we bought the brand because we wanted to have her as an enthusiast. With Kate, you don’t want her just because you pay; you want her because she characterises your ideal consumer. We feel that she represents us perfectly and she’s really enthusiastic about the brand. She loves Matchless because she thinks that the brand could become a big icon in the UK and worldwide. The reason we choose Terry Richardson [to photograph the advertising campaign] was because we wanted a real picture, not just a high fashion shot. With the team on the campaign, we all knew what we wanted to do from the beginning. It was a great success and so many people are already talking about it. 

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