First and foremost there’ s a company, founded in 1949 by Francesco Bacci, Manifatture 7 Bell. Known for being the first Italian denim manufacturer via the Roy Roger’s brand, 7 Bell also oversees Nicholas Judd, Union Sparks, and the President’s brand.
This is the one we’re interested in today since you can find their inimitable clothes on our shop. But let’s go back a bit (a good 60 years at most), on the genesis of the Italian label.
At the Origins of President’s Brand. Manifatture 7 Bell.
It is 1949, Italy in the ruins and economic slump of the post-war era. In Tuscany, and more precisely in the small industrial town of Campi Bisenzio, an ambitious young man will cross the Atlantic to bring back to his land a new product that will soon become emblematic.
Francesco Bacci by name is the son of an itinerant salesman from Tuscany, in the old-fashioned way one might say, riding his donkey across the region, building loyalty with his customers as business dictates. Very soon, the war arrived in the life of the young Francesco, he will see the GIs liberated his country from the yoke of Mussolini and the Nazi regime.
Becoming a mythology in itself, the allied landing offered its share of cultural revolution for the old Europe. For Francesco Bacci it is not the gum that will mark him, nor the T-shirts, but the denims worn by the soldiers. The first time we saw that in Italy!
No sooner or later, the young entrepreneur sees the possibilities, especially in a country that still relies heavily on manual labor.
As soon as 1949, his company Manifatture 7 Bell was created, he flew to the United States, without speaking a word of English and at only 22 years old, in order to get the precious sesame: several meters of cotton twill fabric from Cone Mills, one of the biggest denim producers of the time, which supplied Levi’s and Wrangler among others.
A beautiful canvas designed with the latest techniques of the time, the open-end but especially the ring-spun, a technique of spinning the fabric, which gives an authentic rendering, softer but also more resistant, with a slightly slubby look much appreciated by the denim head.
The First Italian Denim with Roy Roger’s.
Returning with the raw denim cloths, the young company began working the product under a new brand name created for the occasion : Roy Roger’s.
From the name of a famous singing cowboy and actor of the first half of the twentieth (we read here or there that the name Roy Roger’s could be related to a real figure of the great American West during the nineteenth, but we have not found any information on such a character. It seems more likely that the origin of the name is this very famous western and other B-movie actor whose real name was Leonard Franklin Slye).
Whatever the case, success was soon to come, although at first it was necessary to acquire techniques and materials capable of keeping up with the production of denim fabric, which was much thicker than conventional fabrics.
The choice of sewing machines, raw materials such as rivets (the first tests were made with iron rivets, which rusted and broke over the washings, copper, hard to find and more expensive, was preferred).
The first occurrence of the Roy Roger’s brand arrives in 1952, the beginnings of denim made in Italy, and the beginning of the denim culture will give reason to Francesco Bacci.
The rebirth of the President’s clothing brand, by Guido Biondi.
Still under the umbrella of Manifatture 7 Bell, Francesco Bacci created the President’s clothing brand in 1957. The label will remain dormant for almost 60 years, when Guido Biondi the grandson of the founder resurrects the brand.
Guido was born in Florence, and as one can doubt he grew up between the piles of denim, the sewing machines, the workers of the family factory. He was born in the garment.
From this environment will develop a passion for fashion and design, then followed studies in design at the fashion school of Polimoda in Florence, then he joined the family business.
Today, Guido Biondi is the creative director of 7 Bell, while his brother Niccolò is the CEO, between them they represent the third generation to manage the company created by their grandfather.
In early 2010, driven by his love of vintage denim and workwear, Guido Biondi lost himself in the archives of the family company, and resurrected President’s, a brand left abandoned for 60 years, a name that sounds good to his ears, a reflection of a certain quality (president’s clothes).
He sees this as an opportunity to create his own playground, and to let his creativity run wild. Thus, in 2011 he designated his own line of menswear.
President’s clothing brand. Stylish streetwear, and a touch of retro inspiration.
With the President’s clothing brand, Guido Biondi is pleasing himself, and ourselves at the same time. For almost 10 years, the collections and collaborations follow one another.
The material is of very high quality, Scottish thread for the knitwear, cotton twill from Japan for the denims, leather from Santa Croce, wool from Loro Piana… And everything is exclusively made in Italy, and in Florence when possible.
In the department of collaborations, we have had over the years :
- A collaboration with Italian skateboard brand Atypical
- With American brand Ebbets around ballcaps
- Snowboarding with Funky Snowboards
- With British label Hancock for a coat that’s both technical and dressy
- Cosmetics with Swedish brand L:A Bruket
- Sunglasses with retrosuperfuture
What we see emerging with President’s multiple collaborations are their influences and the aspirations of the label. A masculine lifestyle, a touch of streetwear and sportswear, wrapped in a subtle vintage register.
And this is indeed confirmed by the latest fall winter 2021 collection. Japanese bomber, Aran sweater, Fair Isle patterned scarf, suede trucker jacket, varsity jacket, cardigan and mohair sweater…
What we like about President’s, whose pieces you’ll find in our shop, is this sense of chic, a perfectly successful cross between Beams Plus and Aimé Leon Dore, and Italian manufacturing that focuses on material, fit and details.