Roy Rogers was the name of a tailour who travelled the American West in the 19th century to manufacture and repair farmers' wear. It is also the name of the Florence-based company which first introduced denim in Italy in 1949. A family-run business which has reached its third generation and 32 million Euros in revenues in 2011, Roy Rogers is planning to go back where it all started, the United States, to open a store in New York, and to boost its distribution network in Europe.
"We have just begun a new era," Niccolo' Biondi, grandson of founder Francesco Bacci and CEO of Manifatture 7 bell which controls the company. "We will increase the number of agents we have on the international market, where we currently have showrooms in Russia, Germany, The Netherlands, France and Spain, and open a store in New York which will showcase our history and also sell special vintage pieces from our archives".
An Italian icon of denim wear with its trademark five-pocket jeans, jean jackets and shirts with the unmistakable triangular 'Roy Rogers' tag, the brand was a symbol of American-style rugged cool for two generations of Italians. The brand was even cited in a 1998 song 'Those years' by Italian cult band '883' invoking long-lost youth - "those years when we wore Roy Rogers jeans." The brand's autumn-winter 2012-2013 collection was an homage to this tradition, its 'Rugged' line a combination of old-style denim work-wear and trendy vintage cool, with a few real vintage pieces under the 'Autentico Vintage' label. The collection, produced like all Roy Rogers garments in Italy, included velvet and corduroy pants, with a line for children, entirely made with natural dyes. With brand-new headquarters in Campi Bisenzio, near Florence - 7,500 square metres of sleek crystal, resin and steel interiors by Alberto Del Biondi - the brand has concentrated its creative, commercial and production offices in one building which also houses a museum featuring the first work-denims Roy Rogers produced at the end of the 1940s. The company currently employs 40 people in its headquarters while another 450 work for allied companies.
As Roy Rogers plans to grow on the international market, a window in New York will be a key strategic asset.
"Because New York is the world's fashion capital and most importantly the capital of denim, our presence in this city will not only be important for the American market but for international markets in general," Guido Biondi, creative director of Manifattore 7 bell and the other grandson of the founder told ANSA. "We are still searching for the right location in downtown Manhattan."