Project TWLV is the brainchild of footwear designer Antonio Panella and business partner Henrik Hobik, a brand built on the pillars of durability, authenticity and modernity in the booting world. Starting out in 2016, Project TWLV is a brand built on a wealth of experience across the fashion and footwear industry, now sitting as a respected label, growing in popularity and gaining worldwide acclaim. Here we speak to Antonio Panella – a man who has worked with huge global fashion houses including Paul Smith – about the development of his own expertise and the evolution of Project TWLV.
Originally from Milan, Panella, through work, has spent his last 15-20 years living in-between the UK and Switzerland and now heads up the Project TWLV brand with business partner Hobik out of Gothenburg, Sweden. “I studied fashion design at the Marangoni Institute in Milan, but my journey into footwear was actually by accident,” says Panella “To be honest, I wasn’t sure at the beginning but my passion for shoes grew over time and I have been fortunate enough to work with some really interesting people across my career,”
Having started work with a major boots manufacturer in Italy called Calzaturificio Di Varese, where he gained vital knowledge of the footwear industry and in particular men’s boots, Panella moved to London to work with Caterpillar and Wolverine where he fine-tuned his expertise in American industrial boots. “I have crafted my expertise over the past 25 years and absorbed so much knowledge, which has enabled me to create something unique and authentic,” he says. “It was after five years working in the boots world that I started working with Paul Smith and I was there for 12 years, receiving a positive reaction from the market and end consumer, as well as building a successful footwear business.” Following a discussion with friend and Paul Smith distributor Hobik, who had plans for his own brand, Panella went to visit him in Sweden to find out more, which was the birth of Project TWLV, a brand specialising in those key pillars of authentic, durable and modern men’s boots.
Royal Sand Suede Leather Logger Boots
“Project TWLV is a boots only brand and our prices range between £400-£600,” says Panella “we are really pleased so far, as we have only been going for three years and already have really good premium accounts globally.” With their expertise clear to see – one piece uses Kangaroo leather as it’s the only material that can be micro-weaved – Project TWLV focusses on what they do best… boots! And believe that this focus is the way to build organic and faithful followers who appreciate their pieces. “Having a direct focus keeps you ahead of the competition,” says Panella “However, we are gradually extending the range and constantly strengthening our relationship with key customers.”