And once again I am I will not say alone, no, that’s not like me, but, how shall I say, I don’t know, restored to myself, no, I never left myself, free, yes, I don’t know what that means but it’s the word I mean to use, free to do what, to do nothing, to know, but what, the laws of the mind perhaps, of my mind that for example water rises in proportion as it drowns you” S.B.


Fucking Young!: Hello Francesco, could you illustrate the brand evolution?

De Wallen: De Wallen was established – in 2012 – by Filippo Morandotti, Marco Romano, and myself to serve the needs, emerging needs of the urban biker. Back then, we only had – as bikers – very few options: we could either dress in standard clothing – quite an uncomfortable experience – or wrap-up in cycling gear (that could not – despite being bike-specific – meet the basic, social requirements of the daily routine of the urban biker). The big brands had been doing some sort of line-extension, but we felt – as daily users – the fashion side of those projects was somehow unexpressed. The gap in the market pushed us to envision De Wallen. We have strong connections with a global network of bikers and we heavily rely on their feedbacks for product development. We started by reinventing chino and denim pants (by all means, the most critical garments). These products found their natural positioning in boutiques and concept stores (as their customers are open to embrace bold lifestyles, with such a strong accent on research and attention to storytelling).


FY!: Who is the urban biker?

DW: The urban biker is a consumer, emerging consumer who stands out for embracing smart consumption patterns (spinning around a lifestyle-flavoured (re)conceptualisation of the bike – a timeless piece that is gaining more and more popularity). Not to be considered as mere alternative to cars, bikes are the “vehicles” to live a fistful of new experiences with. The urban biker is a prosumer, then (the prosumer is a conscious user/consumer, with a sharp and creative attitude toward consumption). He is aware, very aware of what he is wearing as it is deeply connected to his own lifestyle.


FY!: Would you define the details, elements that epitomise your aesthetic research?

DW: De Wallen empowers form with function as it explores current, emerging fashion trends. “A Purpose to Every Feature” is the mantra that drives our approach to design, underlying aesthetic functionalism. When it comes to detail, the subtler the better. This attitude lies at the foundation of the brand. This is, for example, the case of our w-NRG features: sewings – conceived to decrease friction during motion – shape motifs, decorative motifs.


FY!: Could you complete the following sentence: Tribe, it stands for …”? 

DW: A tribe – or, as Consumer Culture Theory puts it, a neo-tribe – is a group of individuals that differs from archaic tribes for the non-exclusive belonging of its members. Neo-tribes are open systems that are connected by emotions and feelings founded on a sense, conscious sense of belonging, the presence of rituals and traditions and – last but not least – a sense of commitment towards the other members. That is exactly what is happening within the universe of the urban biker (that lives on gatherings, dedicated places, associations promoting the lifestyle).


FY!: Would you reveal the technologies, pioneering technologies you employ?

DW: De Wallen promotes an open dialog between tradition and innovation adding a dimension, performative dimension to each and every garment through revolutionary treatments. W-Techs rely on nanotechnologies to alter, at a molecular level, the fabric composition in order to deliver comfort, protection and visibility. Among the comfort enhancing techs, we have w-NRG (a re-invention of the cycling garment based on a solid revision of the softness of the materials) as well as w-HEAT (the fabrics react to the difference in temperature by increasing/reducing insulation). When it comes to protection, we employ w-DRY for extreme waterproof treatments and w-TUFF, an abrasion resistant tech. Last but not least w-RFLX is the first ever, total reflective, premium technology for urban bikers.


FY!: What is your thought about the Italian fashion system and its relevance?

DW: When it comes to fashion, Italy has always been a synonym of passion and tradition: by all means, the main source of excellence. The minds, creative minds of our country inspired generations, defining a concept of lifestyle-based elegance that goes beyond the garment (as it draws from the highly celebrated beauty surrounding us). Some say the Italian fashion system tends to be stiff, conservative. As a start up, we decided to accept the challenge. We kept design and production in Italy, fostering a dialogue between traditional manufacturers and technology providers (so to move toward a production district that is as liquid as amplified).


FY!: But I pushed and pulled in vain, the wheels would not turn. It was as though the brakes were jammed, and heaven knows they were not, for my bicycle had no brakes. And suddenly overcome by a great weariness, in spite of the dying day when I always felt most alive, I threw the bicycle back in the bush and lay down on the ground, on the grass, careless of the dew, I never feared the dew. (Samuel Beckett, Molloy, 1951): could you take us through the memory evoked by words, long-lost words? 

DW: Samuel Beckett was one of the most die-hard fans of the bike. He loved it to the point he filled his writing with references. The critics pointed out the bicycle – a metaphor for the narrating mechanism – expresses the concept, dual concept of ambition and failure, incarnating the poetic of Beckett. Molloy is the well-taught, disenchanted explorer who does meet bizarre people while riding his bike. The bicycle is, therefore, a vehicle for experience: knowledge and meditation and observation, through the opposition between machine and nature.


FY!: What is today Fucking Young!?

DW: It is anything and everything fresh, fucking fresh. It is all about the brave, subversive power of creativity springing from a young at heart attitude. It is anything and everything implying an appropriative and transformative approach to symbolic consumption.