t often happens to ask what is hidden behind a product. We, in Piazza di Siena, stopped to admire the new proposals of the Parlanti brand: tight-fitting boots of great quality leather. The vast assortment of models made it impossible for us to decide on two feet where to direct our hypothetical choice.
We asked ourselves “Who is the designer?”.
“It’s me”, replied Daniele Parlanti, owner and general manager of the homonymous boot factory born 30 years ago under the name of Aurelia, his mother.
“So this is a passion!”
“A passion for life – Daniele said – that makes me spend days looking for improvements to be made, new models to design or new materials to use”.
“When was this passion born?”
“I have no memory of it. I was really very young when I spent whole afternoons after school with my father, who was producing high fashion footwear. I use to go with him around the tanneries”.
“And what were you doing.. studying, observing?”
“I used to touch everything! I opened the batches of leathers, I tried to distinguish them, I smelled them. When the dealers saw me they always made the sign of the cross”.
“What kind of skin have you used up to now for your products?”
“Shark, crocodile, stingray, eel, ostrich, lizard, buffalo, bison and snakes. But the calfskin remains the main classic choice, the European calfskin”.
“Forgive the question, which perhaps is obvious to you: Why European only?”
“Because they live in better conditions, with ample pastures and water at will. It costs more, of course, but its skin is better. Some prefer to save money by choosing Pakistani or North African calfskin but the result is not the same. These calves live their lives in drought conditions, into the wild, constantly exposed to flies..”.
“We have grasped the concept: their skin will be full of imperfections!”
“So, excellent raw material, drawings by Daniele Parlanti and prototype creation. Then?”
“The next phase is the test. It is very important to dedicate time to the product before putting it on the market, everything for the final customer expectations. I only rely on professional riders to test the boots and I always collect their feedback. The model is then modified and reworked several times, until it reaches the perfection and satisfaction of the rider itself. This is an indispensable process from the dialogue with the Riders. They are the final users. The boots must be their allies”.
“A true passion for life, actually…”
A passion that I inherited from my father and that I am lucky to share with my trusted collaborators”.
“Your company is thirty years old. How has Daniele Parlanti’s approach changed?”
“Perhaps it has evolved to keep up with change, or determine it sometimes. My approach, however, in general, is always the same. The direct dialogue with the riders is basic, the presence on the territory as well. Up to 6-7 years ago I used to go to competitions, I toured Italy and I ‘ve been present in the most important competitions in the world for 20 years – but now I leave my trusted collaborators to assist the riders. I always focused on teamwork, research, study and creativity to achieve perfection”.
This, perhaps, the secret of everything: “direct contact”. This is how a successful Italian reality is developed and consolidated… an excellence… with products that “fit” perfectly!
Fabrizio Bonciolini and Susanna Fusco
18 July 2017
(Photo © Guia Pavese)