Renzo Mancini, a professional kite surfer, has hit on a way to repurpose kite fabric into apparel.
As a test pilot for a kite surfing brand over a decade ago, Mancini’s stock of kites was piling up. “The brand was sending me the kites. I was testing them in the water and giving them feedback,” he said. “After a while, a kite is no longer usable. I didn’t want to throw them away.”
Mancini associated each kite he used with a memory of the places he sailed. “I remembered a nice moment on the beach or sports kiting,” he said. He thought others might be interested in his experiences.
Working with Norwegian designer Eirinn Skrede, who is Exkite’s creative director, Mancini in 2006 launched a streetwear collection called Exkite, made from upcycled kite sails, in Sardinia.
Slowly, but steadily, the business has grown. Mancini in June opened his first store in the seaside resort town of Porto Cervo, Sardinia, a flagship that features a kite school and Exkite lab where shoppers can customize their own items.
Mancini is planning to launch the brand in New York in September. While he said he wasn’t ready to name retailers, Mancini said he has appointments booked with several buyers. The collection is also sold at exkite.it.
Prices for Exkite range from $100 for a T-shirt to $500 for a jacket. A label on the inside of each garment details the origins of the kite it was made from, for example, who the owner of the kite was and where the kite surfer was flying.
“All of the jackets are one-of-a-kind and unique, even if they come from the same kite,” Mancini said. “We don’t want to mass produce. The jackets are a piece than could never be replicated.” Other items, such as T-shirts, which have a pocket made from kite fabric, “allow us to do larger quantities,” Mancini said.
“The jacket is the ultimate Windbreaker,” he added. “It’s waterproof, but it breathes as well. The kite is made in a way that’s really unbreakable.”
Mancini said his lifestyle appeals to people living in cities with busy lives. “They can have a piece our project, which comes with respect for nature and the elements,” he said.