Pitti Uomo: Roy Roger's celebrates its 70th anniversary in style
Roy Roger's 70th anniversary celebrations closed the first day of Pitti Uomo in style with a dinner and party in the magnificent Hall of the Five Hundred in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio. The event was an opportunity to unveil the film made by renowned photographer Bruce Weber. The Florentine denim brand made entirely in Italy could not have chosen a better setting to celebrate its long history.
It was also during Pitti Uomo, which the day before awarded Roy Roger's the Pitti Uomo Immagine prize for this edition, that the brand presented its anniversary collection in January. The concept was to revisit around 30 of the brand’s iconic pieces drawn from its archives from the 1950s onward, and to bring them to market these days to coincide with its 70th anniversary festivities.
Roy Roger's history dates back to the post-war period, when Francesco Bacci returned from New York with yards of blue fabric purchased from the leading denim manufacturer of the time, Cone Mills. He created his own brand in 1952 with his wife Giuliana after discovering the benefits and resistance of denim fabric, naming it after a tailor from California, Roy Roger's.
Success was not long in coming, and by the 1970s the family business Manifatture 7 Bell (owner of Roy Roger's and the Amish Supplies label acquired in 2020), which is still based just outside Florence in Campi Bisenzio, was producing up to 25,000 pieces a day. Today the family’s third generation leads the company, with grandson Guido Biondi as creative director and his brother Niccolò as general manager while their mother (and daughter of the founders) Patrizia Biondi, serves as president.
Over the decades, the brand has managed to consolidate its made-in-Italy positioning in a mid to high-end segment and expand its range of products, with denim accounting for only 50% of the company’s sales, followed by knitwear.
But most importantly, Roy Roger's has increased its brand awareness by calling on big names in photography as well as through collaborations with, among others, Aspesi, Vilebrequin, Sebago, while also increasing its social media presence.
For the past decade the label has been trying to expand abroad, but its primary outlet is still largely the domestic market, with Italy accounting for 90% of its sales. Since 2014 the brand has been able to rely on a rapidly growing e-commerce, which has quadrupled its sales since 2018.
Roy Roger's is also distributed through four company-owned stores (Florence, Forte dei Marmi, Bologna, and Padua) and about 900 multi-brand retailers. In 2022, sales are expected to reach around 25 million euros, compared to 20.5 million in 2021.
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