With our eyes firmly on the landscape of emerging brands, we can come across those with a slightly unique stance. British Vintage Boxing (BVB) is one of them. Founded by Zen Martinoli, a self-confessed boxing fan with years of fitness and training experience behind him, BVB captures the spirit of the noble art and the retro appeal from a bygone era, but with a definitive modern twist that carries a broader style appeal. Here we have a chat with the man himself…
Can you briefly explain what British Vintage Boxing is as a brand. What is in the DNA and core values of the brand?
BVB is a premium sportswear brand whose spirit resides in the spit and sawdust of the old-school boxing gym, where valiance was born and champions made. Clothing that reflects the detail, construction, style and integrity of the old-school fighter.
Are you a boxing brand? How do you make that shift away from Boxing when the visuals and social media elements are so boxing focussed?
Boxing heritage is at the centre of our proposition, as is our vintage and Britishness, so we wouldn’t say we’re exclusively a boxing brand. The boxing stories on our social media are in a sense allegorical – the human journey to triumph – thematically boxing has always resonated in this way, it’s why Hollywood will always embrace the genre.
How has the brand been received in its infancy?
Extremely well, and very much across the board from boxing lovers, to vintage stylers, creatives and sartorialists with a penchant for sportswear.
You work with established models and boxers for your shoots, how easy is it to make this look natural?
We select our models based on looks and personality, they have to genuinely like the brand in the first place, gel with the other guys and have a timeless look. We tend to use the same models in groups to build a sense of camaraderie & brotherhood.
The BVB brand has a retro aesthetic. We know boxers used to train in this type of product, was this a motivating factor?
Yes we looked back at boxers of the 1950s and 60’s, the sweats, joggers and interestingly the boots they wore which has become a signature of the BVB aesthetic.
What inspires you and motivates the brand’s aesthetic?
There’s something so stylishly nostalgic about the bold graphics and swagger of the past that’s somehow lost in the genetics of modern sportswear. We love being unapologetic about our approach, why not shout?
You’ve brought in new camo prints, bomber jackets and cargo joggers this latest season, can you briefly explain?
The new Queensberry range is essentially a sartorial expression of the 1960’s, with several of our DNA strands converging – connecting boxers who served in the Army, with the emergence of the British Army 1960 Pattern (Camo) the classic sporting Bomber Jacket (origins US airforce, then popularised here as sports jacket) and 1963 the year Cooper met Clay in the ring mixed with iconic sporting grey.
Is the 1960s boxer more aligned to the noble art and being a gentleman as opposed to the boxers of today?
There are still gentleman in boxing today, our own Charlie Duffield being one of them. Boxing back then was more of a job, something you did, local heroes, central to communities who had a sense of duty. Talking was done in the ring. Boxing today feels more about celebrity, ego, protecting records and trash talking – not all but often.
Who wears your product, who do you want to wear it and what brands do you admire?
Men with an eye for quality, style and detail. They have a certain nostalgia about them and aspire to lofty ambition. They care, have integrity and a strong raison d’etre. We admire different brands for different reasons, Reining Champ, Rowing Blazers and the classic British Barbour.
Where do people wear the BVB product? Paint the picture for us?
Casually out and about, to and from the gym, we have shorts and cut- off sweats for training too. The BVB product bridges the gap between casual and smart.
Can you tell us where the product is made and how you decided on the manufacturer with regards to quality?
Our majority of product is currently made in Portugal (known for its quality sweat manufacture) we’re also exploring manufacturing in Turkey too with some pieces made here in the UK.
Your product price-point seems very reasonable, can you explain the thought behind this?
We wanted a price point which at once reflected the quality of the product and was accessible too.
Where are you at in the journey of sustainability?
Our clothes are made to last, factories are family run and compliant with ecological/human rights standards. Packaging is recyclable and where possible we source locally. We have an eye on exploring recycled cotton, organic cotton and other recycled materials going forward.
What’s next for you in terms of product and any exciting shoot ideas?
Lot’s of ideas being canvassed, with a more ‘sporting’ range in the works, along with new sweatshirt designs and other possibilities. Watch this space for a big shoot in August.
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