The boundaries between streetwear and luxury are blurring ever more rapidly, as seen at Pitti Immagine Uomo — where sneakers were an ever-present footnote
We catch up with the team behind the innovative Italian sneaker brand created by four friends who didn’t much like their day jobs
Where does the name come from?
D.A.T.E. is simply an acronym of the names of the four founders of the project: Damiano, Alessandro, Tommaso and Emiliano. We’re four friends that in 2007 decided to create our own line of sneakers.
How would you describe your brand’s aesthetic?
The D.A.T.E. aesthetic is contemporary. We’re very attentive to details and place a premium on material research. The design is essential and the sneakers are enriched by precious applications — that’s one of our distinctive marks.
What inspires the brand?
We take inspiration from selected fashion trends of the season, while always maintaining our identity. Our continuous style research is focused on the best Italian textiles and leather, mixing in chromatic palettes in the unique D.A.T.E. style.
What goes into creating the perfect pair of sneakers?
The perfect pair of sneakers might be a story of years of work or a story of a moment. Sometimes we keep modifying the design of our shoes to improve them; others are born perfect. It might happen that a miracle stems from an error, or that we don’t achieve anything good from thousands of samples. It’s a mix of intuition, hard work and luck.
What informs your choice of cut, material, print, colour etc.?
The streets, catwalks, new trends, our past and our vision of the future all play a role. We believe it’s important to have a clear identity without losing the opportunities presented by healthy contamination. You have to keep an eye on what’s happening around you.
Do you have a flagship product, and what makes it stand out?
Our most appreciated item, even if we present new styles every season, is the Hill Low. We presented this model more than seven years ago, and our clients love it and recognise it for being a D.A.T.E. product. They probably appreciate the simplicity of the design, the high-quality Italian leather that we use and the original colour combinations that we renovate every season.
What do you think will be the next big revolution in your segment?
We think that after this ’90s junkie shoe trend we’ll probably have a return of the basketball shoe trend with many high-top cuts. Low-tops have dominated the market for a great number of seasons and fashion is circular, so high-tops makes sense.
What about the Middle East market appeals to you?
We love the balance between tradition and modernity. The Middle East is a very important market for us and one we’re very happy with. We’ve managed to penetrate some of the best boutiques in the GCC.
How has the rise of ecommerce influenced your company and strategy?
This evolution has obviously influenced our business strategy massively. Nowadays we are all online and constantly connected with our smartphones; therefore as a company we have to be online-oriented. This is one of our main focus areas.