Italian men’s shirt specialist Camicissima made its debut at the recent TFWA World Exhibition, where it set out its aim to open 1,000 stores – 10% of which are planned for airports – by 2020.

Fenicia Founder Giovanni Candido used the latest equipment to achieve his goals

Camicissima, which roughly translates as ‘super shirt’, is run by third generation family members Fabio and Sergio Candido. The company, originally called ‘Fenicia’, was founded in 1931 by Giovanni Candido as a tailoring business. When Giovanni’s son Gaspare took over the shirt-making business, he acquired licenses to produce shirts on behalf of design labels such as Christian Dior and Pierre Cardin. In 2004, brothers Fabio and Sergio opened their own store in Milan, which they named Camicissima, to distribute the family’s manufactured shirts.

The brand’s core product is men’s shirts, which make up around 70% of sales. Accessories, such as ties, cufflinks and scarves, make up the other 30%.

Camicissima believes its products fit a gap in the travel retail menswear offer

Shirts come in four different fits, regular, slim, extra slim and comfort, and can all be personalised via embroidery in-store. The brand’s flagship non-iron collection offers 49 designs, made from 100% cotton.

Today, Camicissima has more than 280 stores in over 18 countries. One of the brand’s key markets is China, where it has a regional office and more than 150 stores. Camicissima’s top-performing location in China is a pop-up at Hongqiao Railway Station in Shanghai. Camicissima CEO Fabio Candido described the location as ‘incredible’ and ‘full of people’.

Hustle and bustle: Hongqiao Railway Station (pictured above and below) is Camicissima’s top-performing location in China

In the brand’s home market Italy, it has stores at Roma Termini railway station and airports such as Milan Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino, Florence, Pisa and Torino Caselle.

The brand’s new concept store at Rome Fiumicino Airport aims to offer a premium retail experience with accessibly priced products

In September, Camicissima opened a second store at Rome Fiumicino Airport, featuring the brand’s new premium concept. The wooden boiseries and dark parquet floors have been replaced with the colour of durmast and burnished brass while the lighting is suffused instead of diffused.

Speaking to The Moodie Davitt Report at TFWA World Exhibition, Fabio Candido said: “We see huge interest from tourists and travellers. The majority of customers at our Milan stores are international travellers. They come in and say ‘Oh I haven’t seen this product in my country so I better buy it here’.”

Camicissima’s other travel retail locations include Astana Airport in Kazakhstan, King Fahd Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia and Geneva’s Cornavin railway station.

Moving forwards, the brand said it will focus strongly on Asia and the Middle East and will continue to expand in Western Europe. Candido revealed that Camicissima will also target emerging markets in Latin America.

“It can be challenging to operate in the downtown [Latin American] market because of local taxes and duties, etc. Travel retail allows us to be present in this market without the complications.”

“With our non-iron shirts, you can sleep on the plane and wake up like you’ve just changed”

“Five years ago when we opened our first travel retail store, frankly speaking, I didn’t believe in the airport [business]. Now, our objective is to open 1,000 stores by 2020/21 and I think it’s possible for 10% of those to be in airports. It is an open market right now for these kinds of shirts at this price,” said Candido.

Candido continued: “In travel retail, there’s always room for new brands in fashion. If you spoil your shirt having dinner at the airport lounge then you don’t have to spend a fortune to buy a replacement with us. Customers can buy two non-iron shirts for €129 and three regular shirts for €99.”

Big ambitions: Fabio Candido (pictured) and his brother Sergio are spearheading Camicissima’s international expansion

“There is nothing worse than arriving to a meeting after a long haul flight with a creased shirt. With our non-iron shirts, you can sleep on the plane and wake up like you’ve just changed,” said Candido.

“We have a lot of interest from partners around the world and that’s why we decided to go to Cannes this year. Airports now are looking for brands that you cannot find downtown or easily online and that have unique selling points, and we can offer that.

“The brand travels very well, covers all geographies and offers a wide variety of sizes and colours,” Candido concluded.