ITOCHU Announces Conclusion of Contract with Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers for Italian brand MARIO VALENTINO as Official Suits Supplier

May 12, 2015

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has concluded a contract for Italian fashion brand MARIO VALENTINO, in which ITOCHU holds master license rights in Japan, with Japan Rugby Top League team Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers (hereinafter “Kobelco Steelers”) as the official suits supplier for the 2015-16 season.

Brand founder Mr. Mario Valentino established Mario Valentino S.p.A. in Naples in 1952 when he took over his father’s shoe factory. Many people were captivated by the finest quality and innovative designs of the shoes produced by the factory, and the popularity of the brand spread throughout Italy and beyond to Europe and the United States. An example of the brand’s appeal was the coral sandal presented in the Roma Alta Moda Collection in 1954, which won world-wide admiration. The brand grew into Italy’s leading fashion brand, producing items such as bags, leatherwear, and perfumes. Today, more than 50 years after its founding, MARIO VALENTINO continues to evolve harnessing its unparalleled creativity and keen sense of the times and bringing fresh inspiration to people around the world.

Since concluding the master license contract for the Japanese market in 1991, ITOCHU has established the brand’s position as an orthodox Italian brand by expanding the range of items with a focus on menswear, including suits, coats, and dress shoes. This latest contract has been concluded as a result of the perceived match between the concept of an active, stylish, attractive male figure that the MARIO VALENTINO brand aims for and the image of the Kobelco Steelers, who pride themselves on their strength and bravery backed by the history and tradition of the Top League, which is the pinnacle of rugby competition in Japan.

Moving forward, ITOCHU will supply MARIO VALENTINO brand official suits for the Kobelco Steelers players and staff to wear when travelling between regular-season games or when attending official functions. In addition, from September, 2015, ITOCHU will commence the general sale of styles worn by players using the same fabrics and specifications, through Haruyama Trading Co., Ltd. It is also planned to feature Kobelco Steelers players in the 2015-16 advertising campaign. By strongly promoting the worldview of the brand through storefronts, magazines, websites, and various other media outlets, ITOCHU aims to enhance the value of the MARIO VALENTINO brand and raise its profile further.