Uniform Srl, which has manufactured military uniforms for Italy for more than 40 years, has created a civilian collection called Usai.
The label launches with men’s and women’s outerwear for fall and plans to develop a full ready-to-wear collection for spring 2011. The men’s wear was revealed Tuesday in New York, and by then a dozen U.S. retailers — including Stanley Korshak (Dallas), Tootsie’s (Houston), Jimmy’s (Brooklyn) and Susan of Burlingame (California) — had already picked up the women’s collection.
The name Usai is the surname of one of the two families that control Uniform, and also an acronym for United Soldiers and Industries.
For decades the Uniform factory in Brugnato, near La Spezia, focused exclusively on the production of uniforms for armed forces, especially the Italian Navy, with its major sea logistics center and dockyard in La Spezia on the Ligurian coast. (Years ago the company was called Consorzio Liguria.) In the early Eighties, Uniform had seven factories and 2,500 workers, but the business contracted after Italy repealed compulsory military service.
Chief executive officer Arnaldo Usai, whose background is in finance and consulting, joined the family business five years ago and immediately began pushing for a civilian collection, he said.
“If you make uniforms and military clothing for 40 years, you see there is a lot of know-how that is absolutely important to convey to the market,” he said. “The tradition in Italy is not massive production. It’s much more linked to the sartorial world.”
Historically, military garments have had enduring appeal with civilians, especially men, due to their utility and familiarity. Many iconic outerwear styles have military heritage, and right now the look is especially fashionable for women thanks to Balmain, Marc Jacobs, Comme des Garçons and others.
But Arnaldo Usai regrets the fashionable timing.
“I don’t want to be confused with someone aggressively looking at the market with a military flavor. We’re talking about something very particular and made in Italy and true. It’s a matter of identity and tradition. I don’t want it perceived as derivative or [attempting to capitalize on a fashion trend.] This project started five years ago,” he said.
The result is a range of utilitarian, natural-hued outerwear rendered in fine wools, cashmeres and treated cottons. The clothes are complex in construction, with highly detailed interior finishes and functional features like flap pockets and waist cinchers. Some are reversible, including styles that reverse to rabbit fur. Others are two garments in one, having two fully finished layers.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews