Brands | October 9, 2017

The courage of ideas

Catuma was born out of a precise need: to bring something new to the eyewear market that it had never seen before. And, judging by the reception of these first years in business, it is doing very well

words Enrico S. Benincasa

Andria is a town of 100,000 inhabitants in the hinterland of Puglia, about an hour’s drive from Bari. It is a land of gastronomic excellence, starting with olive oil, and has an important tradition in the manufacturing and trade industries. Vincenzo Pastore, founder of Catuma, started out here, and the very choice of the name emphasises the link between his brand and its homeland. Catuma is, in fact, the name of the main square in Andria, where all the main roads of the city converge. This is metaphor for viewing the company, as a port bringing together entrepreneurial skills, design ideas and the manufacturing capabilities of those working in production. It is a safe harbour for influences from different worlds, from art to fashion, and from design to architecture, where technology and craftsmanship can go together in the same sentence, united by quality.

The adventure began in 2014, with a range made from stone and wood line that was met with instant appreciation from the market. The following year saw the launch of a series of carbon fibre and steel glasses, combined with stone and wood veneers. Then came the Surrealist collection, which helped the brand to reach new markets by participating in the most important trade fair events in the industry. Its products have a strong character, and are the result of a creative “healthy madness”, which has animated this adventure from the very beginning. Pastore has extensive experience as an optician and was driven to create Catuma by the need to bring something to the market that had previously been lacking.

The ideas underpinning everything, including distribution, are: sales experience that led the management to attempt to conquer markets like Britain, Brazil and USA, focusing solely on physical stores and not on e-commerce, with the goal of reaching 500 meticulously selected stores worldwide by the end of the year (“We do not sell anything online: we value the relationship we have with retailers who understand the quality of the product and can communicate it well to our customers,” Pastor told us last February). Silmo 2017 will provide the occasion for Catuma to unveil the ArTchitecture collection, which we got an early taste of with Levante. Made from decorated steel with laminated cork inserts, this model stands out with its juxtaposition of solids and voids, which mean that it is linear if viewed frontally but complex when seen from a lateral perspective. Paris will also see the presence of Dada, the new line of the company established last March and which, as can be discerned from its name, reveals a homage to Dadaism that is certainly not hidden in the design of the models for the two Cabaret Voltaire and Karawane collections. Around here, a name is never chosen at random.