Supercroatian: A brand inspired by sincere love for Croatia
- by croatiaweek
- in Business
“We cannot be Croats only “when the weather is sunny” and when we win medals, but we must always stick together and constantly cultivate togetherness and gratitude for our freedom and independence,” says Bruno Dragoje, the man who recently launched the Supercroatian brand.
Supercroatian sells t-shirts and hoodies with designs inspired by Croatian history and cultural heritage. Bruno, who created the brand out of a sincere love for Croatia, strives via the brand to send a message of love and hope throughout Croatia, and to tell Croats around the world that the Homeland awaits their return.
We caught up with Bruno to find out more about the brand and the man behind it.
Bruno, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I was born and have already lived for half a century in Zagreb. After college, I worked for a couple of years in sales and marketing for several employers, and then in 2006, together with a friend, I decided to venture into private entrepreneurial waters. Then we brought the Segway to Croatia, announced as a miracle that will change the habits of personal transport.
We really believed in it and Segway is still a state-of-the-art product today, even though its time has passed. Like other products that were ahead of their time, it remains recorded as the one that was the first and started new trends. Today it has been replaced by kick-scooters, but it is like comparing a Ferrari and a Golf. Although, the Golf is also a good car in many respects. It’s not a Ferrari, but it shouldn’t be.
In 2007, we launched the Segway City Tour Zagreb, which, as a unique tourist attraction for city sightseeing, marks its 17th season this year. The pandemic has left its mark, but as the Segway continues to provide a lot of fun – we continue on. New season is here!
When did you start Supercroatian and what was the inspiration to start the brand?
The idea and inspiration simmered and matured in me for a long time, but due to right and wrong reasons, I could not focus enough on it and get it going. However, the pandemic also came to us. Tourism and city sightseeing stopped almost overnight. And then, one morning, I say to my wife Darja “…how about Supercroatian, it’s been spinning in my head for days?” That’s when waiting, hesitation, reasons pro et contra, turn little by little into the first graphic solutions.
The inspiration was that special arrangement of 8 letters, for me the most beautiful in the world, and …something in words much deeper than words (D. Ivanišević, 1907-1981): H-R-V-A-T-S-K-A, which is love for the homeland, our history and cultural heritage.
As a small nation that survived despite everything on this wonderful piece of land, we must know and constantly remind ourselves of who we are and whose we are, in order to learn to appreciate our heritage and better understand the world of which we are a part. I hope that the time has come to put such thinking on paper, that is, on t-shirts.
How does Supercroatian differ from other printed t-shirts/hoodies with Croatian motifs?
On our market, for the most part, there are clothing items with Croatian checkers. Supercroatian wants to supplement that offer, draw attention to the fact that we have much more than we show. Every time I see how, for example, Americans, English or Italians use their national characteristics, cities, institutions and even universities to create well-known and desirable brands – my desire for Croatian unity and patriotism only grows. We show incredible togetherness when we achieve some sporting success, and the world noticed that.
However, we cannot be Croats only “when the weather is sunny” and when we win medals, but we must always stick together and constantly cultivate togetherness and gratitude for our freedom and independence. Our small contribution is t-shirts with a modern design that can be worn every day of the year and are inspired by love for Croatia.
If we are used to seeing the name of a fashion brand written in capital letters, for example Adidas and Armani, I wonder why we can’t also have T-shirts that say, for example, “Croatia: Respect-Love-Stay” or “Sinje more svijetu reci”?
What are some of the motifs in the collection and how did you come up with the ideas for them?
I believe that the traditions and values which characterise us as a nation should be nurtured. One of the examples in the collection is our national anthem. Is there anything to be added to the Sinje more, svijetu reci or Dok mu živo srce bije? Well, they represent the pinnacle of poetic patriotic fervor and say so much! There are also pleter (Croatian interlace), lace or the very name Hrvatska (Croatia) as motifs that send clear messages and are our greeting to the whole world.
To connect the Ferrari reference from the beginning of the story – who would want another car if they already have a Ferrari? And Croatia is to me like a Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini in one car.
What are the most popular products?
For now, in the men’s collection there are models with the already mentioned verses of the Croatian national anthem, as well as those with the inscription Hrvatska in the colours of our tricolour. The ladies, on the other hand, along with the national anthem, mostly choose lace and pleter.
We would like to expand the collection to children’s models, offer a collection for sports and recreation, but that will depend on how well the market will recognise our idea.
Do you sell Supercoatian products worldwide and how can people order them?
We are available through our webshop, and all short-sleeved t-shirts and hoodies can be viewed and ordered on www.supercroatian.com
Considering that Supercroatian is intended primarily for our people at home and in the diaspora, we are looking for distributors for the USA and Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. This would speed up and significantly reduce the cost of delivering products to customers.
What are your plans with the Supercroatian brand?
The offer of Croatian-themed clothes, in general patriotic, is modest on the market. Almost everything is aimed at tourism and can be bought mainly in souvenir shops, which citizens usually do not visit. Shopping centres have other plans… We don’t have a single Croatian brand similar to imported brands like Avirex or 5.11 which are both present on the Croatian market.
Given the saturation of the textile market, I would never have gotten into this if I didn’t think there was a higher goal, a purpose. This is not a story about T-shirts, but about love. If over time we manage to at least encourage people to…aah, you know what I mean, right? Imagine that on Saturday coffee at Zagreb’s Cvjetni Trg, Split’s Riva, Dubrovnik’s Stradun or Rijeka’s Korzo, we see some t-shirts with the inscription Dok-mu-živo-srce-bije.
Croatian sports successes, especially at the 2018 and 2022 football World Cups, awakened emotions of pride in Croats around the world and love for the Croatia. Apart from sports, how else do think these emotions can be aroused among those who are far away in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand…?
I have the feeling that their patriotism is stronger and more clearly expressed than it is at home. The diaspora has always preserved our heritage, cherished traditions and helped the homeland whenever it was needed. Regardless of the diversity of the Croatian diaspora and its spread around the world, we must be aware that there are at least another 4 million people who are viewed by some in Croatia through various stereotypes, sometimes even negatively.
I think that this is precisely where the strength and love can bring us a lot of good things – starting with investments, promotion of Croatia in the world, but also thanks and recognition for all the efforts they make so that the Croatian name, language and culture are not forgotten throughout the generations. Emotions are a two-way street and if there is no feedback from the other side, love fades. And as a young country, we are still not doing enough to realise the potential of our diaspora.
Here, while I’m writing this, Jedna domovina by Zaprešić Boys is playing softly in the background. That’s what I’m talking about! Wonderful song, great guys, they gave us so much in their songs…
Croatia is here, free and its own, for us and for them, and only TOGETHER we can grow and be successful and proud just like in 1998, 2018 and 2022. Not to mention August 5th, 1995!
It’s not for nothing that M. P. Thompson says: Stay close to your motherland, love her and be brave, country is a mother, everyone returns to her.
You can find out all about Supercroatian and their products on their website here.