“I adore Swarovski’s colorful creations—they’re in step with my sense of joie de vivre."
When German designer power couple, Rachid Bourak and Aysen Bitzer, founded their 0039Italy fashion label, they were on a mission to “liberate” the blouse from its staid, boring reputation and launch it as a high-fashion garment. It all began in a humble 12-meter-square booth with a single clothes rail at a Paris trade fair in 2001.
Today, 0039Italy can be found in around 1,400 stores across 50 countries, and it’s famed for its high-quality, diverse fabrics in an exceptional color and pattern range. But it wouldn’t have happened at all if Aysen had followed her first ambition. “I wanted to be a police officer,” she laughs. “The idea of chasing criminals and making the world better and safer tempted me a lot!”
So, how did fashion win out over the allure of a police uniform? “The idea came during an inspiring one-year trip to Rome. Everything about Italy—the language, the people, the style—has always fascinated me,” says Aysen, a former fitting model at Hugo Boss. “It was my and my boyfriend’s (now husband) first holiday, and we met some guys playing soccer in the sand. I wanted to join in but Rachid thought I should put something over my bikini! I didn’t have a tunic or cover-up, so it sparked an intense shopping trip to find the perfect solution. There wasn’t one. That was when Rachid suggested starting our own label. Later that year we showed up at the Paris fair and presented our first longer-length blouse called ‘Carla’.”
This helps to explain the name: 0039Italy is where their idea was born—a combination of the country and its dialing code. “Around 90 per cent of our textiles come from Italy, giving our clothes the authentic Italian brand spirit. Our label and stores, however, are dispersed all over the world.”
Despite Italy being such a focal point of the company’s ethos, they are headquartered in the small German town of Filderstadt, Stuttgart, Aysen’s hometown. How does the couple split the time each contributes to the job? “My husband is the organizing talent behind everything. As a mum with two children, I can’t be everywhere at once, so I take responsibility for the creative processes and representative functions.”
Swarovski has been part of the brand’s design vision from the start. “I adore Swarovski’s colorful creations—they’re in step with my sense of joie de vivre. Crystals enhance the impact of our blouses, and they also add a note of classiness.”
As to 0039Italy’s future: “In addition to supreme quality, we always want to offer our customers something new to make them feel confident and unique,” says Aysen. “Earlier this year we added a men’s line to our collection. Now we’re looking forward to further global expansion, as well as inspiring partnerships.”