Below the interview in the Magazine JFK Man
“As a football player, you have a limited shelf life, but you are an entrepreneur forever.”
TEXT FLEUR BAXMEIER PHOTOGRAPHY COOPER SEYKENS
"Around 1800, my Italian ancestors moved to the Netherlands. I am therefore, very much a Dutchman, but I founded Mannen in Stijl and regularly holiday in Italy. I recently started a course in Italian because that is important for the connections I make there. The average Italian speaks limited English. Italian culture appeals to me very much: the socializing, the outdoor life. I also recognize myself in their temperament and the pride they have about them. Italians stand for something."
"My parents divorced when I was two years old. Since then, contact with my father has never really gotten off the ground. Perhaps that made me more independent. I wasn’t an easy going kid, but I wanted to help my mother. She was alone with three children—something I look back on with respect, especially since I now have two daughters myself and know what a challenge parenting is."
"After school and during the weekends as a young boy, I could often be found at the local shopping mall in The Hague with a rug full of old 'rubbish'. Miraculously, I always managed to sell everything. I usually bought sweets from the earnings. A few years later, I bought a newspaper route with a fake ID. I thought it was important from an early age to earn my own money: it gave me a sense of independence, freedom and pride."
"It has always been my dream to become a professional football (soccer) player. I trained around five to six times a week and was involved in football during my free time. At nineteen, I was scouted by Feyenoord and I was stationed at Excelsior. I did not make it to professional football in the end. Afterwards, I played seriously with the amateurs for years, but ultimately you have to accept that this wasn’t going to happen. Then you go and adjust your goals."
"After studying Facility Management, I started working as an account manager. From that moment on, I wore a suit everyday, but matched it with pink socks or a special tie, for example. I could devote my creativity to that. I got quite a lot of comments from the people around me because in Friesland – where I lived for several years – you quickly notice when you go off the beaten track. For me, that confirmed exactly that I had to do something with those accessories. That’s how, in 2012, Mannen in Stijl came into being. "
TINTIN ON AN ADVENTURE
"Given my Italian background, the accessories had to come from Italy. No idea where to start, so I began Googling suppliers and then flew to Milan. Without a real fashion background, I bought my first collection there. My peers have always been critical, but I had a healthy dose of individuality and I was confident that Mannen in Stijl could become successful, although that might take a while.”
OWN FASHION LABEL
"Nowadays, I sell socks, ties, scarves and belts. Online, but since a few months ago, also at exclusive menwear stores. In the meantime, I am working on the launch of my own label: Carlo Lanza. That will be my most important achievement. My label stands for craftsmanship, personal service and exclusivity. It is a life goal to make this successful. As a footballer you have a limited shelf life, but you are an entrepreneur forever. It determines, to a large extent, who I am and what I do. "
Name: Carlo Lanza (34) Occupation: Founder Mannen in Stijl Residence: Heerenveen Marital status: Domestic partnership, two children First job: Newspaper Route Achievement: That he will set up a new accessory label in January Motto: "Believe in yourself."