Collectible DRY sat down with Charles Philip Pozzi, the founder of the innovative footwear brand Charles Philip Milano, to celebrate his comeback to the fashion world and discuss the future of the label

Text by: Gilda Bruno

Founded in Shanghai in 2010, Charles Philip is a footwear brand whose vision is best embodied in the refined juxtaposition of elegance and comfort. Presenting the public with a wide variety of colours, textures, and designs, the fashion label attempts to promote a different way of conceiving the so-called “Made in Italy.” 

“If there’s something missing in Italian fashion, it’s some room for irony, sarcasm, and fun,” Charles Philip Pozzi explained to Collectible DRY on a casual Zoom call last Tuesday. “Foreigners have this overly idealised view of what Italy and Italians look like, the one that was handed down to them by Italian masters such as Fellini in his La Dolce Vita (1960). From that sort of portrayal, people would expect everyone in Italy to be enjoying life to the fullest. The truth, however, is that when Italians do something, they do it rather seriously. Still, I have always thought that fashion wouldn’t exist without a good dose of spontaneous fun, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to express through my collections.”

Raised in New York by a Honduran mother and an Italian father, Charles Philip Pozzi internalised the entrepreneurial essence of the city that never sleeps progressively turning the self-motivating power of “you can do it” into his life motto. 

From launching his footwear label in the financial capital of China to exploring new business opportunities within the Italian food and beverage industry, the founder of the homonym brand has taken advantage of his cosmopolitan mindset to repeatedly push himself out of his comfort zone and test his abilities within different contexts. After a brief pause from the fashion world, Charles Philip Pozzi eventually returned to his first passion, footgear, which he describes as something that has always been highly influential to him, ever since childhood. 

Charles Philip Milano

Charles Philip Milano

“I was 14 years old when I first wore a pair of slippers,” he recounted. “Back then, I would style velvet ones with a tiny crest and a little heel. To me, shoes really do make an outfit, they either make it or break it. When I moved to Shanghai back in 2008, I decided that I wanted to restyle slippers in my own way using Italian fabrics such as linen, and cotton. So I made a couple of samples and I immediately fell in love with them, I just couldn’t help it. That’s how the Charles Philip brand really started.”

Promoting the idea that everyone should feel free to wear any colour or print regardless of other people’s judgments, Charles Philip loafers are thought for those who dare to play down the rules of fashion and embrace every aspect of their personality. Thanks to the implementation of long-lasting materials, 100% recyclable packaging, organic cotton, and through a reduction in the amount of textile dyeing used in each collection, the brand also winks at a greener future: all choices that the founder deems crucial when it comes to establishing himself as the leader of a modern brand.

“Moving forward, we will all have to play our part in sustainability. Solutions are already out there, so those who don’t try to make small changes in this direction are simply ignoring the problem. At Charles Philip, we’re doing so by further improving the quality of our artisanal products, so that they last longer without becoming damaged. We’re also looking at expanding our line adding new models, which will range from slip-on shoes to lace-up ones as well as runners. So, in that sense, we’re really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for us.”