Despite the COVID-19 pandemic still ravaging the globe, leading men’s trade fair Pitti Uomo is kicking off today in a IRL format, drawing the usual mix of established and up-and-coming names, with some 600 exhibitors showcasing their fall 2022 collections at the Fortezza da Basso venue.
Long deemed as a great resource for high-quality men’s fashion, Pitti Uomo has been adapting to the ever-evolving category, striking a balance between classic formalwear and more avant-garde brands, either for their sustainable credentials or contemporary positioning. While some marquee names including Brunello Cucinelli and this edition’s special guest Ann Demeulemeester have bowed out due to the pandemic, there are plenty of names to check out.
Here, WWD picks some of the more interesting brands showing at the fair’s pavilions to help buyers and attendees easily browse the three main areas, called Dynamic Attitude, Superstyling and Fantastic Classic.
Offering an aesthetic rooted in the Indian background of founder Amit Babbar, Itoh is based in New Delhi and characterized by an understated and relaxed take on formalwear, seen through the lens of contemporary Indian style. Each seasonal collection is conceived as a small capsule valuing the handwoven fabrics that Babbar sources from across India, spanning from cotton-silk to wool-linen blends and canvas. For fall 2022, Babbar is aiming to transcend seasonality, offering a collection rich in zingy colors and earthy tones with collarless madras checks and pleated shirts worn under generous and creased overdyed suits as well as fluid striped pajama sets, conceived as a contemporary and cool alternative to business suits.
Committed since their debut collection in 2007 to offering timeless men’s fashion crafted from luxurious materials for gentlemen looking for edgy everyday tailoring, German designers and life partners Hannes Roether and Nicky Wendt offer a workwear-inflected version of the suit, such as oversized corduroy options and pin-striped three-piece sets with stand-up collar jackets worn over finely knitted turtlenecks. Checkered overcoats and military-inspired blazers crafted from fustian complete the understated but refined lineup.
Knitwear From the Earth
A knitwear specialist for 35 years, Alpha Studio, which was founded in Florence by Franco Rossi, has been offering Made in Italy knitwear with a timeless quality in a wide selection of fabrics and knitting techniques. For fall 2022, the brand has developed a collection of argyle sweaters, rib-knit turtlenecks and mélange crewnecks done in a muted color palette of buttery whites, beige and camel exalting the natural quality of the yarns while conjuring a shabby-chic aesthetic.
Waste Yarn Project
The brand’s name says everything about Paris-based designer Siri Johansen’s ethos. The knitwear specialist’s founder uses deadstock and surplus yarns to deliver genderless knits created by hand on a manual machine in which color schemes are often randomly selected to mirror supply, turning each piece into a one-of-a-kind creation. Boasting extensive experience in knitwear design at marquee fashion houses, Johansen embarked on her solo fashion project with Sebastian Maes, a knitwear manufacturer, scouting deadstock yarns that could be given a second chance. “What comes out are individually made pieces that embrace randomness with infinite possibilities,” said Johansen. For the fall collection, her second, the designer developed cardigans, blankets and crewnecks done in blocks of candy colors, resulting in an eye-catching offering.
Filson heads to Florence for Pitti Uomo, but this time with WP Lavori in Corso as its European distributor and licensee. WP Lavori in Corso, which distributes brands such as Levi’s, Beams, Engineered Garments, Nanamica and more, aims to help Filson with their sales network in order to expand the 124-year-old label in Europe. This season, Filson is offering its signature apparel, outerwear and accessories built for the outdoors, like the lined wool Packer Coat, Denim Cruisers, down jackets and insulated vests, flannel and moleskin shirts, and utility pants and jeans. Filson is well-known for its original rugged twill briefcase, computer bag and large rucksack that lead the way for the extensive accessories range for braving the outdoors and commuting through the city.
Footwear sensation Premiata, the shoe brand that has been gaining steam in recent years, is ready to hit Pitti Uomo with some news: Its first ready-to-wear men’s collection, comprising sportswear-inflected styles with a strong focus on outerwear, with workwear-inspired parkas and oversized puffer jackets layered over tracksuits. They all boast performance-driven materials such as nylon and water-repellent organic cotton. “I’ve developed a wardrobe-building collection for metropolitan warriors, looking for multifunctional, structured and versatile clothing,” said Vincenzo Mazza, a member of the founding family’s fourth generation now leading the brand. The collection, which is manufactured in Italy by La Rocca, will be distributed across Premiata’s main markets, including Italy, Russia, as well as the U.S.
Naviglio Milano was founded in early 2020 by fashion buyer Alessio Aramini with the idea of repurposing vintage styles for a contemporary outerwear brand with a sartorial feel. Its name directly references Milan’s picturesque Navigli neighborhood and its canals. Aramini said he looked at old-school overcoats one would find in his dad’s or grandpa’s closets, trying to update the look and using eco-friendly fabrics, many of which are recycled. The fall 2022 collection, called “Differentiated,” nods to the notion of individuality in that each coat is designed imagining a character. Case in point: A yellow corduroy coat echoes the styles of ‘60s Mods, while a knee-long double-breasted peacoat references the signature ‘90s fashion editor style.
Outerwear brand Holden continues to merge performance, fashion and sustainability in their offering, which is designed in Venice, Calif., and produced in Europe. For fall 2022, the brand draws inspiration from art, music, culture and the outdoors and how these ideas and concepts intersect. This season features down parkas and kimono-style puffer jackets, bright fleece jackets and apparel, a hybrid capsule comprised of down styles in Italian materials, like pants in contrast colors, and water-repellent footwear made with Primaloft Eco recycled insulation. In addition, Holden produced genderless items to complement the men’s and women’s offerings.
The Footwear Edit
A family-run shoemaker based in Nantes, France and established in 1945 amid World War II thanks to the endurance and passion of founder René Cléon, the Kleman brand as it is known today was launched in 1988 and soon became a trusted supplier to several French government departments. Priding itself on not following fashion trends, the brand, now helmed by Mathieu Cléon, continues to offer sturdy, unisex styles imbued with a workwear, feel including the leather moc-toe boots and derbies, left unchanged since the ‘80s original designs. For fall 2022, the brand is expanding its signature collection with the addition of trekking-style details and more eco-friendly options, including designs made of vegetable tanned leather and recycled materials.
In sync with younger consumers’ demand for uniqueness and sustainability, Italian sneaker brand Run Of is introducing at Pitti Uomo its most advanced upcycling project, called Runwastable, a low-top sneaker crafted from repurposed biker jackets, which customers are allowed to select and have turned into their new shoes. The brand, which was established in 2020 by Matteo Ciuti, art director and product designer, offers vintage-tinged luxury running sneakers that blend high-low materials and boast performance features such as its patented outsole. Ciuti said his aim is to transcend the fashion-y sneaker trend and offer Made in Italy footwear with character.
Founded in 2018 by Dieuveil Ngoubou and Lancine Koulibaly, Umòja — meaning unity in Swahili — is a sneaker brand that prides itself on being 100 percent plant-based and plastic-free, all the while valuing the textile tradition of West African countries. The result of a two-year development process, the brand’s signature and bestselling MMEA style is a low-top design crafted from cotton, linen, hemp and hevea milk sourced in Burkina Faso, France and Portugal from trusted and audited suppliers, making the style fully traceable and recyclable.
Los Angeles-based footwear label Brandblack debuts its fall 2022 collection, called “Blur,” which does away with embellishments to focus on function and fashion in minimal products. The brand highlighted key footwear styles for this season from its performance category, including the Rare Metal 2 basketball silhouette, the lightweight nylon Sansin, the Santa Monica sneaker boot and the Kaiju that features their newest running technology. In its Moda category, Brandblack’s offerings include the sporty Luso sneaker, the California-inspired Bravissimo and Capistrano sneakers and their bestselling Saga silhouette. Much of the performance line is crafted with Vibram soles and sports-centric construction while the Moda offering features high-quality materials like full grain leather and suede overlays.