By Aimee B.
The outside of the door to the archive room looked rather unassuming; nearly hidden along the back wall as though it was a broom closet in any office building in America. Only, we weren’t in America and this certainly wasn’t another broom closet. The lady showing us around took a deep breath and opened the door to the archives; acknowledging that she truly understood the value of everything that lie within those walls.
Racks upon racks lined the walls and ceilings filled to the brim with hundreds of racing suits and jackets. There were so many that they could no longer fit them all hanging up and dozens of boxes lay tucked underneath, housing those which could not fit on the already overflowing hangers. The amount of history in that room was astounding – suits belonging to Augostini, Rossi, and so many more. There were prototypes that never went to market, suits that were used for astronauts, even a suit that had been worn for the opening ceremonies of the Torino Olympic Games. All of these suits hanging in this one room we now had the immense pleasure of standing in; the history of it all was absolutely breathtaking. How many miles had these suits seen? How many lives had been saved thanks to their protection? The thought of it was overwhelming in an incredibly cool way, and yet was only the tip of the iceberg for what we were to see in the days to come.
Only feet from the archives was an entire production facility which was the original production facility for Dainese, now home to only a small fraction of the prestigious brand’s manufacturing. A bank of sewing machines lay in a room on the south side of the facility where a handful of women sat constructing race suits for various customers – maybe some of our own. As we walked around watching the women sew a cobalt blue color caught my eye, and there in colorful font I see it – “The Doctor” clearly printed on the lower back of one of the suits. It surprised me somehow that it wasn’t off in some separate place – but here being made side by side with so many more. I excitedly scurried over to take it all in, Valentino Rossi’s suit being made right in front of me – a fact made even more exciting knowing that on the sewing machine next to this one could very well be a suit going to one of our customers. It was a moment of true testimony to the quality of this brand; that our customers’ garments were given the same care, quality, and attention to detail that Rossi’s suit was given. It was a fact that made me proud and excited to be a part of it all at the same time.
The next day we arrived at the headquarters in Vicenza, giddy with excitement at getting to see a preview of the 2017 collections. We arrived to the cube and were immediately in awe of the structure, imposing and artistic, making us even more excited to see what lay behind its’ massive glass and metal doors. One of Lino Dainese’s consistent practices is to inject art in everything that the company does, from the buildings to the product and everything in between.
The lights dimmed on the Dainese stage, and CEO Christiano Silei came out to an appropriately enthusiastic applause. Before our visit I knew very little about the company, the brand, or its history, but by the end of three days I felt very nearly a part of this passionate family of people. Far more than just a company of products Dainese ties itself permanently to “helping protect and save lives of people who are following their passions.” This goal is evident in everything they do, and isn’t sacrificed in any one of their premium-level products.
As CMO Mario Spitzner said in his brand presentation “Craftsmanship is especially important in this cold, digital age.” Dainese has mastered the art of craftsmanship and managed to maintain a handmade quality in products that riders the world over can appreciate and enjoy.
As I walked through the headquarters that afternoon and into the main offices I watched delightedly as the marketing team sat around a table, their CMO at the center, pouring into their work with true joy and intent. A similar focus and sense of community was also evident in the designers’ room, which was decorated with racing suits and motorcycles from famous racers over decades of riding.
It was obvious walking around that the love of sport bike riding was ingrained in every inch of this place. Even those there who didn’t ride themselves were passionately in love with the sport, with its riders, and with offering protection to those who need it most.
If there is one thing that is true it is that when someone loves what they do it truly reflects in their work and their attitude, and there wasn’t a single person that we came across in our time in Vicenza that did not truly love both their work and the brand. To them it is much more than a company or a collection of products, but a place that adds true meaning to a sport they love so deeply.
At Dainese they “obsessively focus on adding value” and it is clear in every ounce of what they do. From perfectly designed garments centered on the most cutting edge technology, to fabric that has been hand selected and inspected, to teams of people committed to innovation in safety, there is a constant “evolution” occurring at Dainese.
Now while we can’t discuss them specifically there are many fundamental changes coming soon to Dainese; changes which will continue to keep the brand at the pinnacle of innovation in the sport bike industry. Small changes to big things will mean large leaps in the continued rapid growth of this already impressive company.
We left Vicenza 3.5 days later even more enthusiastic about the brand than we’d already been going in, because now we knew not only what fantastic products they made, but more importantly how and why they made it. We knew what they thought about when they were designing each piece, why they made some of the decisions they made, and how their history gives them such an authoritative stance within the industry. This trip planted within us a new level of excitement over the brand and its’ products, and we can’t wait to share with our customers all the exciting new things coming soon from Dainese.