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For the love of it

FASHION Based in Bologna, the Outlierman is a high-end luxury brand creating driving gloves, accessories and bags—all founded on a passion for classic cars. Jack Yan talks to co-founder Andrea Mazzuca
First published in the August 2020 issue of Lucire KSA

 

 

 


Jack Yan is founder and publisher of Lucire.

 

For some, there is a fascination in that connection between human and machine, especially when that machine is the wheeled variety, whether a motorcycle or a car. Controlling, or “taming”, the machine is a romantic idea; once conquered it is the means through which the person seeks out new horizons and feels free.

Of course, much of this would have come from earlier times, when the notion of riding on horseback—on a tamed animal, of course—across uncharted territory could have been the most freeing thing a person could have done; and with that came the demand for well made saddles and gloves.

We’ve never really been able to separate these accessories from the idea of travel, be they quick journeys between cities, or far longer treks on a grand European tour. Luxury cars have leather steering wheels for precisely this reason: it connects us to that earlier spirit. And among those who understand this connection is Andrea Mazzuca, who with Eleonora Dazzani, founded the Italian luxury goods’ brand, the Outlierman.

Founded in Bologna in 2015, the company pushes the notion of driving as part of its DNA, as it offers leather driving gloves, along with other motoring-inspired items such as pocket squares, silk ties, and, acknowledging just where we are at in 2020, tailored silk face masks. Braces, scarves, bags, and document cases round out the Outlierman’s exclusively Italian-made catalogue.

Mazzuca and Dazzani were already quite successful with Maked, a digital and design communications’ agency that Dazzani founded in 2014. Mazzuca recalls: ‘We are a great team, with different backgrounds and skills. We are motivated by the same business feeling, we love to create, use our energies in great projects. This happens every day in the agency activities and in the Outlierman as well. When we created the Outlierman, we had the chance to apply our experience in creativity and communication in the creation of a brand with complete control of the strategy and marketing plan.’

His love of cars came at an early age. His uncle owned a Porsche 911 cabriolet, or Typ 993 to the cognoscenti, the last 911 that could trace its lineage directly to the original model from the 1960s, penned by Butzi Porsche. It is a tricky car to drive well, with its engine out the back. Mazzuca explains: ‘The 993 reminds me of my days as a teenager visiting my uncle and aunt in London, where I used to spend a lot of time sat in that car! I also love the design of the 993 because it’s one of the most iconic designs. The feeling I have behind the steering wheel gives me freedom, happiness and gives me great enjoyment driving it in the places that I love.’ But is he ever tempted by a later Porsche, say the 993’s successor, the 996? ‘Talking about the 996, I can confess that a manual 4S (Turbo look) is on my wish list.’

That 993 is currently a restoration project for Mazzuca, while his own purchases lean toward the English marques, with a Jaguar F-type and an Aston Martin Vantage N420 in his garage. ‘I really love the design of both cars—the F-type has been my first sports car; the Aston came just after two years later. Considering how much I care about details and craftsmanship, the Aston Martin is amazing to me, timeless! The Vantage I own is the N420 edition, which has a fantastic sport exhaust and carbonfibre details that give the car’s elegant design a sporty feeling. It makes it feel like a proper gentleman’s car!’

With this much love toward automobiles, it is no surprise that the Outlierman took the direction it did. ‘It was a need for me!’ Mazzuca says. ‘I wanted to create something I really wanted to use for myself and make it special, but also to share it with other car enthusiasts like me, who have the same passion. If you are passionate like me, and create something you love, you are indirectly trying to create a “love brand”!’

Both Mazzuca and Dazzani collaborate on the Outlierman’s designs, all of which car enthusiasts would recognize, and include offerings for men and women. A classic car tie with images of Jaguar E-types, Porsche 356s and Mercedes-Benz 300SLs (the famed gullwing, of course), and steering wheels and wire wheels; and full-grain leather bags with the Outlierman’s steering-wheel logo embossed in a ring. The driving gloves are beautifully made in heritage and bespoke styles, fingered and fingerless. Of the women’s collection, it is the most expensive (US$749·95) that is sold out, a fingerless peccary leather design in a colour combination called beige–grape nectar. The men enjoy a wider range, with leather, lambskin and cotton among the materials, and colour combinations including British racing green and cognac (the Gran Turismo) and suede grey and racing red (the Powerslide). The designs do convey a sense of the Italian Riviera in the 1950s, when the rich toured the coast in open-top sports’ cars as they lived la dolce vita; but as the company points out, ‘Yesterday’s passion is the same as today: timeless elegance.’

The Outlierman regards each item they make as a ‘masterpiece’, and they certainly stand up to scrutiny. Getting there wasn’t an easy task, as they had to establish relationships with the artisans in Napoli and Como, where they are based. ‘We wanted a superlative quality without compromises in the design process. The goal was to keep the tradition and add some innovation. We are working very well with them and also have established an important human link—they’ve helped us a lot, considering our expertise in the product part was very low from a business point of view.’

Since then, the company has formed some exclusive partnerships with luxury brands, among them Bentley, Pagani, and, arguably the grandest car show in the world, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance. Mini, which can be very protective of its brand, has also worked with The Outlierman on special collections. When asked how Mazzuca convinced these companies to work with them, he cheekily replied with a smile, ‘Why do you think we had to convince them?’

He explains—and his marketing training and expertise shows clearly as he does—‘My goal since day one has been to create products with fantastic quality, possibly the highest! This means that, if you create something different with a proper design personality and also strike a good balance between price and quality, you are positioning the brand at a high level that attracts other brands with similar values.

‘When we create any collaboration, there must be some values in common that allow us to create something together. We often receive collaboration requests and, other times, we propose The Outlierman to other companies that we feel happy to find a partner like us.

‘You mentioned Mini. Well, they called us in order to discuss some opportunities. They wanted to partner with us, and I invited them to come and visit us in Bologna. They came to me and that showed me there was clearly a real interest in the Outlierman. Fast forward a few months, from China to Canada, many Mini John Cooper Works owners were using our gloves. Long story short, each collaboration requires at least six months of meeting, discussion, contracts and communication plans.’

Celebrities have also been drawn to the Outlierman: Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, for one; while the ties have been seen around the necks of racing drivers Sir Jackie Stewart and Derek Hill, and famed Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni.

In February 2020, the Outlierman launched a Tailor Made service, though the COVID-19 lockdown slowed the process. ‘The Tailor Made lab essentially derives from several projects made in 2019—we had many clients interested in bespoke colour configurations matching their cars,’ says Mazzuca. ‘We are very open-minded and try to catch the opportunities. As all the products we make are entirely hand-made, we had the chance to offer this exclusive opportunity to a number of our special clients, especially the ones that have cars in exclusive colour configurations.’ To cover as many bases as possible, the Tailor Made travel bag set has 69 leather inspirations to choose from, with three suggested bag formats as their base. A fourth is then over to the customer. The inner lining can be customized, with either a motoring-themed design, or solid colours in microfibre.

COVID-19 has also affected some of the Outlierman’s planned collaborations for 2020, and certain new products have been postponed to 2021, but otherwise the company is back. Mazzuca says, ‘We had the chance to focus on other parts of the business that are necessary for us to scale the business. I like to be positive. For sure, next year, 2021 will be the best for the brand since 2015, because we are moving in advance on many projects. Stay tuned!’ •

 

 

 

 

 

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