Venice-based pants label Incotex is partnering with denim veterans Marithé and François Girbaud on a series of four men’s capsule collections debuting during Milan Men’s Fashion Week with a showroom presentation.
“It’s been a tie-up that both of us firmly wanted. We’ve always appreciated François’ innovative liveliness and his irreverent approach,” Roberto Compagno, the president and chief executive officer of Slowear, the company operating Incotex, told WWD.
“We see it as a project of pure cross-pollination, with the aim to not only establish a co-branding activity, but rather to involve the mutual skills to generate something new,” Compagno explained, adding that creativity and industrial know-how will be combined in the first collection launching for spring 2020.
“The Incotex team has an innate understanding of what I want to create with pants today, and they have the talent and capacity to bring my ideas to life. I also feel I’m no longer alone ‘preaching’ in the wilderness, denouncing luxury businesses that talk about espousing environmentally responsible practices, but parade ripped, acid-wash jeans on the catwalk,” François Girbaud said.
Putting the spotlight on sustainability, the lineup is treated with a range of eco-friendly techniques including heat-bonding; ultrasound finishing and the patented L.A. Dip resin coating, allowing raw edges to be cut without fraying.
“Social and environmental responsibility is a topic we’ve treasured for so long and on which we keep working even if we don’t shout it,” said Compagno.“ Marithé and François Girbaud have always been among the strongest advocates for these issues, pushing textile companies to try and produce fabrics with a low impact — and I’d say with great results,” he added.
Called “Rockin’ the Fly,” the collection draws its name from the partially exposed fly appearing on each of the seven different designs, which are available in a range of 16 styles and silhouettes. The quirky detail was introduced by the Marithé + François Girbaud back in the Eighties.
“I’m actually curious to see how customers will react to a partially exposed fly, 30 years later,” Girbaud said ironically.
Girbaud has long pushed the boundaries in the denim industry, twisting silhouettes and adding unconventional details, as well as experimenting on washing and finishing techniques. The designer touted the support he has received by Italian companies across his career, noting the partnership with Incotex “feels like I’m picking up a conversation that was interrupted 30 years ago,” he said.
“With “Rockin’ the Fly” there is perhaps a certain provocation, but it comes from a position of integrity as part of my ongoing research, which rarely makes concessions in the name of ‘political correctness’,” Girbaud noted.
Infused with a sartorial touch rooted in Incotex, the collection is crafted from a warp stretch denim fabric with a textured mélange effect; a technical jersey; a cotton-linen blend and stretch cotton. Each model boasts functional and comfort features, catering to “today’s city dwellers,” as Girbaud explained.
The collection will be distributed through Slowear’s wholesale and retail networks, the latter encompassing 30 units, as well as through the company’s online shop.
Compagno said he has an “ambitious” sellout target for the entire partnership, “although for the first season we will work on positioning. We’re interested in distributing and selling the products to real connoisseurs, customers looking for the most advanced manufacturing processes, appreciative of the latest fabrics and of the engineering complexity behind each garment,” he said.
Slowear, which in addition to Incotex is parent to Zanone knitwear, Glanshirt shirtmaker and Montedoro outerwear labels, generated revenues of 50 million euros in 2018 and expects a 10 percent uptick in 2019.
As reported, in 2018, the company, founded by Carlo Compagno in 1951, sold a minority interest to Nuo Capital, an investment vehicle backed by Hong Kong’s Pao Cheng family. The value of the operation was not disclosed.