It’s FILA Week here at The Source!
Starting today, we’ll be rolling out content celebrating some of the key players from the FILA Mindblower collaboration that saw over 40 brands create their own version of the newly-reintroduced silhouette. The drop also helped to usher in the new FILA Mindbreaker 2.0, which was also included as an option for collaborators to work with. We spoke with a few of those guys as well, but for now let’s focus on the classic.
Our first stop is at Regina’s Grocery, a deli shop in the Lower East Side of Manhattan that also doubles as a creative hub for the CNNCTD crew. We chopped it up with founder Roman Grandinetti on how he manages to wear so many hats and still keep things fly — all credit goes to mom dukes though, if you let him tell! He also breaks down everything that went into the collab with FILA and how a generation of wise guys inspired the shoe and the brand overall.
Keep scrolling to get a look inside a deli with a killer sandwich and an even fresher set of kicks:
Let’s talk about the origins of Regina’s Grocery and how the shop’s concept came about.
I own a marketing agency called CNNCTD. I started by self-investing in ideas and businesses that we create, and [then allowing] the company to market and support them as much as we can.
Did you consider yourself a fashionable dude before getting into the business of fashion design?
I don’t know if I’d quote myself as a “fashionable dude,” but I do have fashionable parents. They kind of gave me this instinctual style; I don’t really travel outside of my comfort zone [in fashion]. I keep things very black or white.
How did you incorporate everything you learned from CNNCTD into what you guys are currently doing with Regina’s?
CNNCTD was always an experiential thing for all of us. We did, and still do, come up with ideas and see them all the way through. With Regina’s, I just wanted to do food. My first proper job was a summer gig in food. I didn’t really want to go the culinary route — it was a bit expensive for me, so I knew I had to make some money first. CNNCTD got to the point where we started doing and creating our own businesses under the same umbrella.
Regina’s [Grocery] was the first business that we had our eye on forever. We created a brand around it and made good food, which is why and how we’re currently moving [financially]. Our brand in particular leans more toward the creative marketing side, which is what makes each sandwich it’s own sandwich. There’s a marketing idea behind it, but there’s a reason behind each ingredient and name for our sandwiches. Every sandwich is named after a family member [of mine] that embodies their characteristics. It’s a bit of marketing, culinary and idea all into one. It keeps things authentic, which is our main goal in everything.
The store itself proves that you guys are more than just a deli shop, too — there’s sweaters, merch and the overall aesthetic of a creative agency. Is it intentional or is there a natural vibe going on?
It’s a natural characteristic for me, but it is [structured around] what we want people to consume. I think consume is a funny word when talking about food [Laughs], but it all goes hand-in-hand. Everything [in Regina’s Grocery] was absolutely handpicked, from doing [merch to have] a wearable item of clothing to creating a story. We’re a small shop so there’s only but so much you can do, but the food is our top priority. No disrespect to others in the food industry, but some spots have massive Instagram followers and a line out the door, but no heritage or authenticity behind their brand. They’re just pulling a trigger on something that looks colorful. Regina’s is definitely more of an instinctual thing than I’d say natural.
This is our home, similar to the way CNNCTD was for my friends who were creatives that didn’t want to get regular jobs. We figured out a plan of how to make money, and proceeded to go to every agency, every artist, and almost every person in the city until we started knocking down doors. We ended up working with some of the best people in the world.
One of those people being FILA. How did that dope collab come together?
FILA came about through my love of sneakers. I still am a huge Jordan collector — I have every Wheaties box with Michael Jordan on it [Laughs]. The connection to our sneaker was keeping it authentic. Every mafia, Sopranos-type, Goodfellas old wise guy wore FILA. It was a part of our heritage and what we like here in New York. We designed the sneaker to resemble our brand: the gum sole represents bread, and it’s done really seamless and close. It’s all one style of leather to keep it clean. You’re gonna get olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the shoe, so you want it clean enough to wipe off [Laughs]. A lot of the classic old-timers only wore simple [clothing] because calling too much attention to yourself wasn’t a big thing. We went with the older model instead of the revamped Mindbreaker 2.0 just to keep things on brand, and we’re psyched. FILA is a fellow heritage brand, so once they reached out we were ecstatic.
It’s also great that you can help reintroduce the Mindblower silhouette, which hasn’t been around for about 20 years or so. What do you think is the magic behind FILA that allows them to continue doing cool drops and collabs like this one?
I think it all comes down to authenticity. FILA kept an authentic name for itself, and sometimes the disappearing of a brand is beneficial. When you try to always keep up with everyone, you tend to get lost. When they came back, people respected the heritage of it all. The silhouette of a bulky, gummy sneaker that was hot 20 years ago is coming back into play, and it just fits. Good timing on their behalf, and even greater timing for us.
What’s the summer, and future overall, looking like for Regina’s Grocery?
Everything. We’re reaching to the stars with the stuff currently in the works. The Brooklyn shop is currently in the works, alongside a New York native, music head friend-now-family-member Julian [Cavin]. We have another little secret location that we might pop up with. There’s definitely more collaborations for Regina’s — a dessert sandwich coming out soon, too. There’s a bunch of little things in store, but again, we’re just keeping things authentic. We want to put a smile on people’s faces.
You can shop the Regina’s Grocery x Fila Mindblower right now in the brand’s web store. Stay tuned to TheSource.com all week as we celebrate #FILAWeek!