The CEO of Italy’s fast-growing independent titanium brand Blackfin, Nicola del Din, talked to Eyestylist about eyewear heritage and his passion for life outside optics.
Tell us about you as a “creative”. Your training, biggest influences in terms of aesthetics/details/colours and your interests such as photography. I have a deep interest in technology, graphics and imagery. I have had this interest since I was at school. At that time, we didn’t have anything like the technological opportunities of today. But I was still very much into computers and I remember my first pcs…a Commodor 16, then the 64 and the Commodor Amiga which I used with a camera to make videos at school! I also love digital photography and the opportunities we have now to modify imagery via apps and special programs.
Music is also one of my great interests, particularly with the multimedia aspects: video represents the perfect synthesis of all my passions: IT, graphics and music, all in one! My work is to produce excellent eyewear and my passions can therefore become a function of my work. I couldn’t ask for more. I am very lucky for that – my job has become a life focus which I can develop and grow thanks to the contributions of many people around me.
Blackfin is a young fast-growing company. What is the ingredient that been most important in allowing it to develop so successfully? Incredibly, the crisis. At the time and through the 1990s we were reflecting on our future, and what we were wanting to achieve. We realised that technical capabilities were not enough and that is was essential to have a strong communications strategy for the brand. So we started again. We are like a start-up but we are 47 years old! It’s a contradiction in terms but that’s what has happened: we combined our experience in production with a new fresh enthusiasm to start out on a new adventure.
Blackfin has its own design team, but you are clearly a creative “driving force” when it comes to campaigns and marketing? Blackfin today is the ideal realisation of the potential I could see 10 years ago. And this vision is not just about the product, but rather a precise image and method of communication. The amazing thing is it just keeps running: my head is firmly looking forward into the future.
Tell us about your collaborations which are far from ordinary? Our collaborations can be out of the ordinary and unexpected. This is because we go beyond the product to find shared social, geographic, moral and cultural values. This is the case with Cipriani: what we have in common is the constant research dedicated to offering excellence in Italian products. Excellence understood as authentic luxury which, as Arrigo Cipriani reminds us, is the expression of a complex simplicity.
We found a similar synergy with Andrea Bocelli. Andrea is a great artist, and an Italian man of great integrity. Our collaboration with him and his Foundation represents sharing a vision towards Italian excellence and authenticity.
How would you describe your collections, compared to say 4 or 5 years ago? What are the main themes and the ultimate experience you wish to offer the customer? In the past we were interested in the material and production techniques. Now we are much more focused on design as part of that. And we are very conscious that we are growing rapidly. We have a solid foundation, we look back at our past with pride and we are very much focused on the future. With an approach where compromise is not accepted. We consider ever tiny details of what we are making. We don’t have to be the first, but we do want to be perfectionists in what we create.
Finally, tell us about your lifestyle and the single most important daily influence? In the morning when I wake up and look outside, I am always moved by the beauty of the landscape around me. This is where I was born and where I still live. I travel a lot for work, and when I am in a different country or city, I always find myself wanting and thinking about my home and talking about it with the people I meet. I realise how important the simple things in life really are and how essential it is – for me – to keep things simple. www.blackfin.eu CN