Behind the scenes: How Ferrari, Puma designed latest apparel collection
Published August 28, 2023
by Jack Benyon
Here’s your chance to go behind the scenes to see how Puma and Ferrari design their apparel collections, with a unique insight into the 1965 Le Mans win-inspired collection which is out now.
Puma has been at the head of the recent evolution of motorsport apparel which has taken racing brands and equipment and made it popular on the street.
Some of racing’s biggest brands and of course a host of Formula 1 teams are now recognisable logos you can see worn every day, by millions.
Puma claims its latest collection “showcases an unrivalled fusion of racing heritage and contemporary design”. But how exactly do you turn 1965 into modern streetwear?
And how does it continue to use motorsport as a theme, but have to remain wearable for the people that haven’t heard of Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt?
Luckily for you, Podium Life goes behind the scenes with Marco Messina, Lead Product Line Manager – Apparel Motorsport, and Tim Bezemer, Senior Designer – Apparel Motorsport.
Can you give us a brief overview of how the design process works from start to finish?
Marco Messina: The process begins with thorough research into trends, market demands, and partner requirements (in this instance, Ferrari).
Collaboratively, Product Line Managers (PLMs), designers, marketers, merchandisers, and the partner establish a seasonal concept (akin to a creative direction) and the seasonal colors that will form the foundation of the collection.
PLMs compile a line plan, detailing the required styles for the collection, based on an analysis of the previous season’s performance.
Designers craft the products, aligning them with the seasonal concepts, trends, and the outlined line plan.
The collection undergoes scrutiny from the partner and various markets to ensure we offer the right products.
We initiate the sample production process, meticulously checking multiple samples to guarantee the launch of exceptional products into the markets.
Tim Bezemer: Always first is inspiration. This comes from trips/second-hand shops/ Puma archive/blogs/magazines/museums/movies, even music. I’m trying to catch subculture vibes first and then open it up to a wider, more commercial lens to also hit the needs of Puma and our partner Ferrari.
I’m designing lately also with A.I., but just as an inspiration tool. I love handcrafts and analog work so I also still sketch illustrations.
After finalizing the general concept in close partnership with Ferrari, the graphic designer and our PLM, I start to put the collection together, including fabrics, trims, graphics, fits.
We design in steps so I will present 50% of the collection to Ferrari first. After 100%, the first prototypes will be made and sent to us from the factories. Then we will check if the collection comes together as we were imagining it.
Can you tell us more about designing with A.I? How does it work? How has it changed your process? Are there any risks you’ve taken in design and how has that come out?
Tim Bezemer: As I’m a super old school, analog art guy, I was super against this new kid on the block [A.I].
But I had to change my mind 180 or 360 degrees.
It’s a great inspiration tool. I use it to create images as well for my moods, otherwise I would search endlessly on the internet or magazines. Of course it is not replacing my old style of research, it is just a great addition to that.
But still I’m not scared to lose my job. I design with emotions. Once A.I is able to do that, I’m out!
Has the recent Le Mans win in 2023, after 58 years without winning, impacted the design of this collection and the process?
Marco Messina: We initiate the process long before the recent race, so at that time, we were already aware of Ferrari’s comeback in Le Mans. We were confident that it would undoubtedly be a resounding success.
Therefore, for AH23, we made the decision to craft a collection that draws profound inspiration from Ferrari’s history in Le Mans. We looked to the past for ideas but also incorporated contemporary details and colors to establish a strong connection between the collection and the modern era.
Tim Bezemer: Especially in AH23, we put the rich history of Ferrari and Puma in a futro point of view, which means future-retro aesthetic combined. Ferrari is standing for fame and glory, success and speed so of course we always implement this spirit and the latest victory’s into our collection
Ferrari has such a rich racing history, how do you incorporate that into modern design?
Tim Bezemer: I love to take inspiration from the past and now, especially driven from the 70s and the likes of Niki Lauda, but also from the 2000’s like Michael Schumacher.
Looking at those images and videos always gives me an emotional feeling and a connection to be able to design a collection with more depth.
The modern world is based on this past. In racing, fashion, music, movies, whatever you see, it’s a renaissance of something already existed in a way before. Of course, there are exceptions like always in life, but I try to position my designs in between this grey zone of, ‘this looks like from the 70s and in the future and somehow unseen’.
Ferrari and Puma have a long history together, does that make the design process easier?
Tim Bezemer: Of course! Long partnerships are gold, in every aspect of life.
Do you think having a car or a race for inspiration make it easier to find design ideas than in other sports?
Tim Bezemer: Not necessarily. It is also nice to have a wide-open horizon for designing a collection.
It means the mix of sports can be really refreshing, for example the whole football terrace culture or outdoor all-terrain trend is also influencing our way to work.
How hard is it to keep a theme of a collection running through so many different types of clothing and even shoes?
Tim Bezemer: We have an amazing design team which is aligned through every moment while designing, so, not hard.
Is it tough designing a Ferrari collection knowing how many supporters the team has and how popular it is globally?
Tim Bezemer: No! that’s a big honor to work for a brand like Ferrari and all the supporters all over the world. I always loved Ferrari and I believe there is no other brand in the world gives you this feeling of luxury, speed, winning and elegance as a combination.
Marco Messina: It is undeniably a responsibility, but it is also a tremendous honor for me, as an Italian, to be given the chance to work on the Ferrari collection. Growing up, I avidly watched Formula 1, and Ferrari has always held a special place in my heart.
Now that I have the privilege to oversee a collection that involves my favorite team, I am dedicated to ensuring that we include products that truly embody the Ferrari and Italian spirit, resonating deeply with the extensive fan base.
It’s a passion-driven endeavor to connect with fellow enthusiasts and celebrate the essence of Ferrari through our offerings.
What do you think are the key things that make the design of a collection great?
Tim Bezemer: A clear authentic concept, easy to understand storytelling, emotional connection and simplicity over all.
More about the new Ferrari collection
The latest ‘Scuderia Ferrari Collection‘ drop from Puma features eight t-shirt designs, five hoodies, sweatpants, race shorts, and an exclusive ‘All Over Print’ monochrome design hoodie, track pants, and t-shirt option.
Of course, the collection features Rosso Corsa (Ferrari’s signature red) and another of its traditional colours, a yellow (Giallo Modena).
There’s still more to come from the collection as Bezemer’s favourite piece – a boiler suit – is yet to be released. Keep an eye out for that dropping soon.
Our favourite pieces in the collection
The Scuderia Ferrari Race Statement jacket (pictured above) has Jack Benyon’s vote, although he couldn’t choose just one…
Jack Benyon: The block colours almost give this jacket a technical hiking theme, and we’ve obviously seen a big trend of outdoor-themed products becoming more mainstream in recent years.
The red/white/black combo is always something that works in streetwear and it combines brilliantly here.
Adding the matching trousers might not be a look I’d go for but for the more fashion-brave, it’s at the very least a much cooler way to go all-Ferrari in your outfit when the whether is more Mont-Blanc than Modena.
If it’s trousers you’re after though, or a more low-key look, the T7 tracksuit really gives a retro feel with vertical stripes done with material finish rather than colour, so the red tracksuit is a great option.
It has a retro football feel to it that is certainly popular right now.
The Race Statement tee and shorts also would provide a more Monza appropriate vibe!
Saving the best for last, the Race Motorsport tee is a must. It features a car blended from one side to the other. On the left is the 1965 250LM Le Mans winner, and to the right, a view into car design future.
‘Scuderia Ferrari – from the past to the future’ is the slogan, and what better way to summarise this collection and the theme that underpins it?