KLASSE14 watches celebrate moments and is chosen to be a symbol of togetherness and connection with the beloved ones. More than a watch, KLASSE14 is a fashion & lifestyle brand with an Italian soul fed by Mario Nobile’s creativity.
SEE ALSO : KLASSE14 opens flagship store in Tokyo
The brand, established in 2014, has rapidly enchanted Millennials across different markets such as Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Thailand, and the U.S. online through hundreds points of sales and kiosks with major retail partners.
The brand owes its popularity to its community of fans that post after post have contributed to build a strong branding discourse around it made of moments of shared happiness.
KLASSE14 has positioned itself in the market as a fashion accessory brand releasing different collections throughout the year inspired by global fashion trends, but also its community of fans’ new needs.
Among the recent news regarding the brand, besides pop-up activations like Langham Place in Hong Kong, the opening of the flagship store in Japan, the brand participated to the Grammy Awards in U.S. and stepped into the music world, launched the new collection Volare Sky, and expanded into Malaysia in partnership with Bluebell.
What we know is that KLASSE14 loves surprising its aficionados and lots of brand activations are in the pipeline for 2019. In the meantime, Retail in Asia has recently interviewed Mario Nobile, the Creative Director of the brand, a fashion accessory brand rapidly growing in Asia thanks to its unique design and storytelling forged by its community of fans.
RiA : What is the story behind Klasse14? How did it all begin?
Mario : KLASSE14 was born from the crave of creating something unique.
Back in 2013, there were lots of fashion watch brands slowly tapping into the market, and I thought I could turn a watch into a fashion accessory that I could feel closer to and develop over time into different collections.
Then, I met my actual partner, who was an expert in watches, and he helped me to understand the specificities of the sector and create what KLASSE14 watches are now.
Klasse14 was born as a fashion accessory, and as such it carries all the features of fashion: color palette, material, and the continuous research of new material to play with.
Back in 2018, the Sea Collection inspired by the sea, marked the instantiation of KLASSE14 as a fashion brand. We played with material to create straps in cork, leather, to be able to wear what you feel like, as if you were choosing to wear a silk or a linen dress.
I would say this is the truly distinctive nature of KLASSE14. Our watches are pieces to mix and match with jewelry, with outfits, to blend into someone’s personality.
RiA : Where do you find the inspiration to release so many collections?
Mario : if we consider the latest collection “VOLARE SKY”, design first launched in 2017, reflects how do we innovate still being faithful to our roots.
VOLARE is our most successful and iconic design. Its dial resemble an eagle in flight, which also recalls our emblem with the two hands. The watch itself is very minimalistic, details make it very unique.
With the release of different collections, what changes is the color. Sky collection is inspired by the shades of color of the sky at different times during the day.
Inspiration comes from everywhere, in this case from the sky. Nature is an immense source of inspiration, and travelling around the world makes it easy to mix and match styles and create new combinations.
Sky and Sea collections in particularly are inspired by my home country, Italy.
RiA : Who are KLASSE14 fans?
Mario: KLASSE14 fans, because we do not call them “customers”, are people who are not afraid to stand out. They are trendsetters and free thinkers. They are ordinarily unique.
SEE ALSO : KLASSE14 opens at Langham Place, HK
RiA : You have just mentioned your tagline. Can you unpack it for us?
Mario: “Ordinarily Unique” is our historical tagline. It is a contradiction, and it relies on the idea that we, as individuals, can be extraordinary in our daily actions. The way we do things frames who we are, and it matters.
We live in a world filled with contradictions and are surrounded by them on a daily basis.
Contradictions form the shape of our reality – where driving fast is both exhilarating yet dangerous and falling in love can be both wonderful yet bittersweet. Indeed, as human beings, we are all living contradictions, being ordinary in our everyday routines, but yet undoubtedly unique in our individual personalities, talents and passions. To be ordinarily unique is also a contradiction, as it is often in the small normal things that we do what profoundly shapes us to become unique people and inspire others today.
RiA : How do you reach out to people?
Mario: since the beginning we have started building our CRM system as we believe that the more you know about your fans, the more you can make sure to deliver an unforgettable experience. From the data collected, we know that people who follow KLASSE14 are interested in the product. That confirms the belief in product quality and design innovation.
In terms of branding, as we listen to our fans, we have been developing campaigns that actually rely on their voice. Our emblem is a homage to our community of followers.
All our branding and marketing activations are realized together with Branding Records team who works closely with me to ensure brand consistency across channels.
RiA : Another feature of fashion that KLASSE14 has embedded is the style of the advertising campaigns. How do you plan them?
Mario: each collection has its own theme, its own atmosphere, and it represents dreams, emotions. All of them need to be materialized through a story, so it is important to have the right ambience, the right characters, and more technically, the right close-ups, background.
When we work on the campaign, we envision it as a narrative that needs to be consistent with the brand identity and at the same time bringing this rhetoric of newness.
Key in today’s instant world is visual identity and its development across different channels, but also new tools able to engage new generations. We cover from traditional media to advergaming activities, and we make sure that wherever our fans experience KLASSE14, they find our brand consistent.
RiA : You touched upon the idea of “consistency” across channels. Moving to offline, how do you drive traffic to the store?
Mario: Our brand was born as a digital brand, and you may understand that the first encounter between KLASSE14 and its fans happened, is happening, and will probably still happen more often in the digital world. However, more and more KLASSE14 fans who own already more than one watch, or piece of jewellery, like visiting our physical stores.
This is because, even though we live in the digital era, human interaction is very important. Our retail staff is trained to provide a brand experience that goes beyond advising you on your purchase, but it focuses on the ritual of choosing a gift, aimed at marking a special moment in someone’s life. It is a ritual and it is in KLASSE14 DNA to celebrate moments.
SEE ALSO : EXCLUSIVE : KLASSE14 celebrates time in its one-of-a-kind concept store
RiA : As you are currently working on your Asian expansion, what’s the plan for this year?
Mario: We have just launched in Malaysia, among the markets we are focusing this year such as Korea, and Thailand. Of course, Hong Kong is our home, and we want to pay special attention to it, that’s why decided that the last pop-up in Langham Place had to show new shop features, new visuals, and new sets of colored lights and iconography to set the new style direction of the brand.
KLASSE14 is a fashion brand, and as in fashion you can only expect more and more collections to come, stay tuned!