Wichy Hassan wins you over with the way he speaks to you. A warm, quick thinking person with italian temperament that keeps you constantly alert. Maye that explains the success of the Sixty group labels, the company he created with the intention of addressing to a wider youth fashion market, We met him in a coffee shop during the berlin tradeshow Bread & Butter and we asked him about the secret of his success.
How does it feel to be back in Berlin? Because one of the biggest moves that Miss Sixty group has made is coming back to Bread & Butter.
We decided to do this because the times are different. It is a time to come back in contact with our clients, to the people that want more of our commercial products. I think it’s important to be here with all the Sixty Group clothing lines, not only with Miss Sixty but also with Energie and Killah. When you focus only on the catwalk collections people feel that you’re too high which is not the right attitude.
Now lets go back to the beginning, I know that you were initially involved in the art scene. What made you turn to fashion?
Art is everywhere. My work is a form of art, designing a collection, choosing the colours, the graphics, the line, the music for the catwalk, the photographer, choosing the model. All this is art. At times you don’t see it very clearly but everything has always come from a suggestion of contemporary art.
How did Energie start in the early 80’s?
I started with a shop in Rome in the 80’s because I couldn’t find a shop that could propose something different. So I opened a small store and tried to sell my products to a small group of friends. I was always around Europe trying to find special products that I couldn’t find in Italy and the European market could really offer what I was looking for. So I started my own collection to produce something different.
How come you turned to the Miss Sixty and Killah lines? What made you expand with two more brands within the same Sixty group?
This is always what happens when I start a collection. I feel that there is a gap in the market, that there is something missing. When I started Miss Sixty I saw that there was no female jeans brand. During the 90’s there were only unisex collections, there were no male and female collections. There was no one collection that specifically catered to the female body. So I created Miss Sixty, so that I could find special kind of jeans, for a special shape of female body, something very sexy with a stretch. When I started Killah, it was another era, another time. I started Killah for a more street-wear jeans type of girl, with very loose baggy trousers, but just for females.
What is your main inspiration for styling? Where do you find inspiration for each collection that you make whether it’s for Miss Sixty, Killah or Energie?
Everything starts amongst the people, observing them and what they wear. I go around and sometimes I might see something that is just bad, which can make you think of ways in which you can work on it to make it better..
How about your team, how many people are working for the Sixty Group in Italy?
And the creative team, the designers?
50 more or less, quite young people.
We’ve seen that Miss Sixty now presents their collections at Fashion Week in New York. Why is New York so important to you? Is it the market that interests you?
We have started showing our collections in New York because we want to push that market. New York is a window for the entire world, I believe it is the Milan of the U.S, everybody passes through New York. So it was a good idea to do the show there which will give us the opportunity to grow, whether that be in the number of stores or with new clients, the States is a big market.
How about Sixty Hellas in Greece? What was your main interest to bring the label to Greece?
It’s because I love Greece, I spend my holidays in Greece. I live in Greece and lots of my friends are from Mykonos and every summer I am there. I think Greece is a very important market, I love how they respond to the collection, how they like it and how they are positive. Greece is just as important as Germany, France or Spain so I’m very aware of what they need in terms of product or style.
So how would you describe the Greek way of dress?
There is a big evolution, it is strange in the last six years, Greece has really changed in terms of look, modernity and an interest in fashion.
Now let’s get a bit more personal, what makes you happy in your personal life?
The important thing is to work because thank God I feel that my work is one of the best things I could do in my life. So really I’m happy to work, when I’m with my staff I feel adrenaline and excitement..
Could you describe a typical 24hr for you at home in Rome?
I wake up at seven, I spend half an hour with the family, I then work until six and from six to seven I work on jeans. Then from seven till late at night I am with my partner, my boyfriend and my family.
What do you think is the secret recipe on running such as successful and internationally acclaimed fashion group?
The most important thing I feel is that I always have to change. You have to work a lot, I don’t want to feel that we have success. So to always keep a low profile and be curious about what is going on, or what are the new trends. The new wave that is coming is always very curious, so you can’t be fixed with your ideas, with your success, with the past, you have to always look into the future.
Are there any new projects that you would like to share with OZON? Is there something that you have always wanted to do?
There is one thing I would like to do but it’s not really a project, it is a secret. I would like to write some books about the kitchen, the menu. When I have time on Sunday I like to cook, it’s another kind of art. It is how you create a dish, the way you present the food, and this is something I would like to do. But I don’t think I will do it, life is too short and there is so much to do.