We get to know the founder of IMjiT35020 Manufactus, Manuel Canova in a quick fire, 20 question round.
San Francisco has ROY, Barcelona has Companion Denim, London has Blackhorse Lane, Endrime and Dawson Denim, the Netherlands has Paul Kruize. But what of Italy, the land synonymous with tailoring and quality garments, not to mention some fine denim mills?
It turns out that Italy does have its very own denim master, Manuel Canova. Manuel’s name has come up time and again in chats about expertly made jeans. I even met the guy briefly at Pitti, but I needed to know more!
So here are 20 quick fire questions for Manuel Canova, founder of IMjiT35020 Manufactus.
The Who, the What and the When
Rope Dye: Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Manuel Canova and I am the founder of IMjiT35020 Manufactus.
Rope Dye: How did the brand get its name?
Manuel: The brand name is an acronym IM (impresa) J (jeans) iT (Italia) 35020 (our postcode because we produce only inside the 4 walls in our factory) and Manufactus is of Latin origin and defines handcrafted.
Simply, it is what we are but, of course, we make other garments and not exclusively jeans.
Rope Dye: What is your background?
Manuel: I was a graduate of Giulio Natta a school in Padova, After school, I was a knitwear tech man in another workshop where I start to study the material from the beginning and after 6 years, I was back to work at lab founded by my mother.
In the Blood
Rope Dye: How did you get into the denim business?
Manuel: I don’t know exactly, was a natural step, it’s in my family’s DNA. My area, Veneto, is a denim district and my mother was a Diesel supplier, you could say I was born into jeans. From an early age, I witnessed the evolution of denim and learned how to produce jeans also.
Rope Dye: You clearly have a passion for denim and clothing with history, how did it all begin?
Manuel: The passion grown step by step. I started as a worker in my mother’s business. I applied buttons, sewed on belt loops, I learned how to set the machines and I comprehend how is important to work from the ground up. I see it as taking a walk in the city and witnessing all that happens around you.
Pure Artisan Experience
Rope Dye: What is the concept of IMjiT35020 Manufactus?
Manuel: “Pura Esperienza Artigiana” which translates to “Pure Artisan Experience”. That’s our claim!
We build on this, creating exclusive items such as bespoke jeans, jacket and shirts that are sustainable, timeless and precious. They are perfectly built through our artisanal knowledge. You can see it like this; we sell knowledge and not the catwalk show or the commercial social profile. We are specialists and our jeans are mostly purchased by collectors and enthusiasts who know a great item when they touch it. We invest a lot in research and are proud to make one-off special items.
Keeping Knowledge Alive
Rope Dye: What was your motivation to launch the brand?
Manuel: To save our workers from the mass-market business. This kills the knowledge and workers. Productivity at any costs is not the future for a good society.
Rope Dye: What inspires you when crafting a jean?
Manuel: I am inspired by craftsmen in my homeland, Italy: glass specialists, loudspeaker manufacturers and old cameras.
Rope Dye: Do you remember your first pair of jeans?
Manuel: Yes, I was 12. A pair of Diesel.
Rope Dye: Why do you think denim has become so popular recently (over the past decade)?
Manuel: Denim is a material, a live material that has a community standing behind it much like wine. In terms of passion is difficult to replicate.
Rope Dye: What do you love the most about denim?
Manuel: The evolution and talking about it, sharing my passion. It is not just a job for me, it is my lifestyle. There is a growing the passion of good jeans and denim garments. That is good, buy less and invest. Own something true.
The Practical Approach
Rope Dye: How do you wear and treat in your dry denim jeans – any special routines?
Manuel: Depends on the weight of the denim, but generally, I wear them every day and I machine wash them on the short cycle when I think it is needed.
They Know it Already
Rope Dye: What do you recommend your customers to do regarding breaking in their jeans?
Manuel: Our customers are extremely knowledgeable and they don’t need much advice. With each jean, we offer a repair service. I tell them that when they buy an IMjiT 35020, history starts there. Each and every repair will be an enrichment.
Rope Dye: Do you collect anything (other than denim)?
Manuel: Sewing machine and cameras.
Rope Dye: How many pairs of jeans do you have in your private collection?
Manuel: Not a lot, I have around 12
Rope Dye: Which pair are you most proud of?
Manuel: The first pair when all was born. A 15oz Woman’s Jean called Patrol from early 90 made by Diesel by and an IMjiT 35020 single stitch.
Rope Dye: Is there another brand that inspires you?
Manuel: I am inspired by other products generally, like loudspeakers or cameras. Products where the details are fundamentally important.
Rope Dye: Are there any up and coming or unknown brands that you think are worth looking into?
Manuel: Mostly 1st Pat-Rn and MYAR
Looking to the Future
Rope Dye: Where will IMjiT35020 Manufactus be five years from now?
Manuel: We keep our philosophy for sure and keep creating specials garments for all people who share a passion for good things, ethically made.