Italians – Our Story
Seeking a safe haven outside Nazi occupied territory meant leaving home as Europeans knew it. The Scarcello’s left Cosenza, a city of Calabria with a view to living abroad until the world settled down again. Entry into America during the Great Depression saw in excess of four and a half million Europeans who had brought with them their cultures and ethnicity. Yet, Ellis Island, where the boats brought them and from where the Statue of Liberty could be seen, symbolized not freedom but defeat and even disqualification for these homesick and frightened Europeans. Having been forced to flee their countries, some yet, would not make it off the vessels. Those who were unable to financially support themselves indefinitely were returned from where they came. Others who were found to be questionable were rejected as America closed its doors on them. For the time being at least, Mike Junior’s grandparents would settle in Toronto, Canada.
It was during the “Americanization” process, that many a second and third generation Italian-American would eventually lose his rich heritage. Typically the Italians chose to settle in cities where they could earn and save money quickly for their return to Italy. Many thought being abroad would be a temporary solution for a world at war.
In reality, as it turned out, only a small number of Italian immigrants returned to their homeland while many more like the Scarcello’s decided that this new opportunity for success was worth chasing. Although forced to cut ties with their home country, the prospects for an Italian-American to make a new start was extremely stirring and difficult to ignore.
The Italians felt they needed to leave much of their culture behind in order to fit into American society; a society that would hopefully accept them. The Americas did accept them much to their great fortune, and yet they had no idea how the Italian presence would enrich a society in so many ways with new traditions, arts, cultures and an extraordinary blend of tenacity. The Scarcello’s family grew, and as fate would steer their young daughter toward a young member of the Carioscia family, American-Italy expanded.
The Carioscia’s met many Italians who became close friends but they also had family all over Chicago and in Toronto. The Americas was home away from home as they grew closer to a generous and loving race of people. They loved their food, their culture, their cars; especially their cars, and places where their traditions were shared. But it wasn’t enough.
When Hardcore Italians LLC was established in the suburbs of Chicago Illinois in 2009, it was a reflection of what father and son, Mike A. Carioscia (Senior) and Mike P. Carioscia (Junior) had noticed when they saw a glaring lack of Italian culture in the surrounding areas removed from their familiar own.
The Carioscia’s, alike are 2nd and 3rd generation Italians with ancestral roots in Calabria and Bari, Italy. In their midst, they knew they were facing a disturbing deficiency in the Italian tradition. Having always been surrounded by Italian people and customs, to the two men, the homeland traditions complete with the large, loud and expressive family members needed support or they would become extinct.
There was also the factual realisation that the misinterpretation of Italians is often broadened through ignorance and yet they are not stereotypical people. Far removed from a label that would not adhere, surely the Italians, an ethnic group of people who shared a common ancestry; who spoke the language as their mother tongue, would draw attention to their presence. They appeared complacent and instead, the very essence of their culture began to lose its striking colour. Never let it be said that the Carioscia’s ignored this disquieting concern.
They began to envision a bigger picture. Mike Sr. was so inspired by the “lack of Italy” in his midst, he decided to make t-shirts that reflected the Italian pride. Both he and his son began selling them on eBay. Not too much further down the road, young Mike gave the page flavour while studying at Northern Illinois University. After he graduated he decided to take the business on full time. That meant securing a warehouse and hiring trustworthy employees.
Today, eight years later, Mike Sr. maintains handling the production of the products part-time whilst Mike Jr. runs the balance of the business. Having created the Hardcore Italians website, he began to notice loyal followers. It would be the ingredients he needed to take his father’s idea to the next level.
They had dreamed of reuniting everything Italian. Everything ever loud, ever proud, ever vociferous, musical and everything Italy represented and proudly still does. Home was here in America and the old country may have been in excess of eight and a half thousand kilometres away, but Hardcore Italians were driven by inspiration. Their vision ensured they would become the closest representation of the mother nation their forefathers had left behind some 70 years before. The Hardcore Italians brand now symbolises the very tapestry of Italian representation. The Carioscia’s never lost sight of what they set out to achieve.
Hardcore Italians ~ The Brand
To honor those Italian ancestors who introduced the Carioscia’s to the United States of America through their blood before they passed away, their products became the brand, the personality, the reflection of Italian pride that is inaugurated from the very heart and soul of two men.
Their merchandise is a symbol of strength, power and fearlessness. It is an ever living representation of those who came to the New Land, who endured, who toiled, who faced every adversity and made their lives a success no matter what. Li Salutiamo. We Salute Them.
United We Stand
Nothing compares to a passionate tribe of noisy Italians comprising family, friends and associates who, with rich ingredients like personality, tradition, translation, dedication, determination and tenacity, a common theme becomes apparent. Two people saw a vision and Hardcore Italians had a powerful message that was driven by word of mouth in an Italian community.
When the final idea was implemented, there stood a message representing everything an Italian was proud of. Then with a prevailing thrust during the initial stages, it was all the brand required. It spoke volumes and before the website had even taken its first breath, the Hardcore Italians products were being shared so fast among the entire neighbourhood, they became unstoppable. The word travelled as fast as a rumour and suddenly, people hell-bent on supporting their ancestry began making requests for the designs. It wasn’t long before the entire Italian community was showing how proud they were to be of Italian descent.
It took a slice of time, patience and persistence and the website took in its first sale on July 7th, 2014.
Hardcore Italians continue to ensure their mission to Disperse Italian Pride daily is kept alive. Throughout social media, several million Italians have been united and there doesn’t appear to be any indication that it will slow down soon. The internet has become a limitless boundary and it is on these platforms that jokes are shared, stories are told, age-old recipes are handed down and the Italian pride is reflected one hundred fold.
In excess of hundreds of thousands of Hardcore Italians
products, each has been sold with pride since its inauguration way back in 2009 and Italians regardless of their age are proudly representing their heritage each morning as they launch into their day.
Every item in the store has been designed to capture the eyes and the imaginations of people who inevitably engage in conversations that inescapably share more about their Italian heritage and where they hail from in their stunning Italia.
Hardcore Italians take this opportunity to thank you all for being part of the Hardcore Famiglia (family). It’s a pleasure to have you aboard.
(The Scarcello home in Cosenza – Calabria, Italy)