Established in 1975 by the Dini family, Paul & Shark was inspired by sportswear and by the passion and love for the sea. It is a name synonymous with three quintessentially Italian values that can still be seen to this day, which are quality, technology and creativity. Currently presided over by Andrea Dini who is a third generation family member, the brand is known for its natty nautical style — successfully becoming a statement of effortless luxury and supreme standards in this modern day. Its intrinsic aesthetic and innovative fabrics has not only been appreciated by the Italians themselves but it has also paved the way for their expansion into other countries. After opening its first Southeast Asian flagship store located at Marina Bay Sands Singapore in 2017, the Italian luxury fashion brand has decided to embark on a new journey in Malaysia as they have now opened the doors of their first store in The Starhill, Kuala Lumpur to the public.
We spoke to the current CEO and President of Paul & Shark, Andrea Dini about the sustainability trend countless brands are jumping onto and what truly sets them apart from the rest:
It is said that Paul & Shark’s pieces are heavily inspired by water, the sea in particular — with one of its signature pieces being a sailing sweater packed into a metal tube. How did the idea of having Roberto Mancini and Antonio Giovinazzi to be the brand ambassadors come about?
Paul & Shark was born from the passion of its founder for the sea. Our collections and heritage derive from the ocean, meaning that we have a special bond and a commitment as a brand to help protect it. With both Roberto Mancini and Antonio Giovinazzi more than a collaboration, it’s a meeting with people who share the same passions, values and the same interests: the sea, the mountains, sports, adventure, and environmental protection.
Roberto Mancini, coach of the Italian national football team and a football player that was crowned a legend after playing for more than 20 years. Mancini made 36 appearances and scored four goals with the senior national team, winning the bronze medal at the 1990 World Cup. He is a man of unique style, a frequent presence in the best dressed men’s rankings. Together, his collaboration on the capsule collections with Paul & Shark will emphasise on style, sustainability and innovative technology of materials.
Antonio Giovinazzi, the Alfa Romeo F1 driver, the only Italian currently racing in the championship, worked as a test driver for Ferrari, and currently drives an Alfa Romeo. Ferrari and Alfa Romeo: two classic Italian brands that are known worldwide. Even since Paul & Shark ambassador, Antonio GIovinazzi, Alfa Romeo F1 driver the beginning of his career, Giovinazzi wore a sticker of the Italian flag on his helmet.
Italy is our country and being an Italian brand for as long as three generations, I think a collaboration with such great Italian brand ambassadors just feels right.
Since Paul & Shark’s source of inspiration revolves around the passion for the sea and being outdoors, with countries all over the world placed on lockdown, how has it impacted your creativity and your work?
The past year has had an enormous effect on how we view the current issues. Around the world, the pandemic has kept more people indoors and it has caused a significant reduction in daily human activity and routine. This pause has allowed the natural world to not only recover in our absence, but to flourish, further highlighting the negative impact and strain we place on our environment.
The pandemic has drawn back the curtain even more on the severity of the climate crisis, but has also highlighted the ways in which we can help to make a positive change. This actually fostered our creativity to do even better, always pushing the boundaries, we have some new exciting projects that we will launch with the next Fall Winter 2021 and Spring Summer 2022 collections. My hope is that our newfound appreciation for the health of our communities, the outdoors and of the world around us, will be taken forward to work towards a better future.
What is your favourite piece from the recent Spring Summer 2021 collection?
The Paul & Shark Spring Summer 2021 collection is a declaration of passion. Passion for the planet, evidence of our ongoing commitment to sustainability through the use of responsible raw materials, ranging from recycled plastic to eco-wool and second life goose down, as well as the latest ECONYL garments made from regenerated nylon. Passion for the sea and the marine ecosystem embodied by a special capsule supporting its safeguarding, as well as capsules dedicated to the historic regattas won by the Paul & Shark team.
The latest addition to the conscious production of recycled, sustainable fabrics from Paul & Shark is the ECONYL collection—made using a regenerated nylon yarn from fishing nets found in the oceans around the world. The ECONYL fibre is infinitely recyclable: it is produced through a radical regeneration and purification process so that the nylon’s properties are exactly the same as virgin nylon, and the quality of the fabrics made from ECONYL is extremely high. We chose ECONYL to produce a highly curated part of the SS21 collection which includes overshirts, jackets, trousers and swimming trunks.
In short, all of them are my favourite.
Paul&Shark is a strong advocate of sustainability. As someone who’s considered an “early bird” to the sustainability trend, how has the fashion industry changed since then?
In 2021, it is my belief that sustainability is no longer a novelty, it is a necessity and that all brands should be making steps towards a more sustainable future. Not only is this important for the protection of our environment, but to authentically engage with a new wave of consumers, who are more ethically conscious than ever before. At a time of great change, it is our duty as business owners to provide transparency to consumers and to show how we are evolving to meet new and improved standards.
With Paul & Shark’s Spring Summer 2021 collection, we enthusiastically continue our SAVE THE SEA project, a collection made by using certified recycled polyester filaments, derived from post-consumer plastic bottles that pollute the sea. A tangible commitment towards the sea and its safeguarding.
(Images by Paul & Shark)