Sterling Ruby

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Los Angeles artist Sterling Ruby gave away little about the ready-to-wear label he’s set to launch in June during a breakfast for the upcoming Pitti Uomo save for one detail: the dark denim pair of jeans he was wearing from S.R. Studio. LA. CA., which he paired with a black hoodie.

The only other hint that’s been stated publicly in an announcement on the collection is it is to serve as a reinterpretation of American workwear.

The L.A. artist is a special guest of the trade show, presenting his first apparel collection — some 10 years in the making — at a June 13 event.

Ruby stood before media and other guests just ahead of breakfast being served.

“I’ve been interested in making clothes…for some time and most of it has been just kind of a private endeavor,” he said. “For the most part, it’s been something very internal. But over the last 10 years, I’ve started to understand the desire and the reasons why I was doing this to begin with, and I also started to work with people in the fashion industry, in the garment industry, from both owners of big luxury houses to the youngest designers.”

That’s included a number of collaborations with Raf Simons’ label in addition to Calvin Klein, while the designer was still there. Pitti Uomo was something that consistently came up in Ruby’s conversations with designers, he said.

“One of the things I’ve heard over and over again is that these designers that did Pitti Uomo loved doing it, that it had a lot of meaning for them and that if they could do it again, they would do it again,” he said.

Ruby went on to point out Pitti’s nonprofit status and its aims to preserve history for the industry.

Lapo Cianchi, Pitti Immagine’s director of communications and events, met Ruby through mutual friends and felt the artist’s presence was right for the trade show.

“It fits very well,” Cianchi said during Thursday’s breakfast, adding jokingly, “The attitude of L.A., California, which is the complete opposite of Florence.”

Ruby traveled to Florence for a site visit in the fall, selecting Le Pagliere as the venue for the presentation, which Cianchi described as a straw warehouse owned by the Medici family.

“When Lapo and I met and we started talking about it, I thought this is a very stressful thing for me,” Ruby said. “It’s a very nervous thing for me to do it in public, but I really enjoyed the support and the kind of discourse that we’ve had together over the last six months. So when it came time to doing the site visit in Florence and discussing whether or not this was the right thing to do, I think for me it was a no-brainer.”

Elsewhere at Pitti, Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller is the guest designer, presenting her men’s wear collection June 12, the same day Sicilian designer Marco de Vincenzo will launch his men’s wear collection.

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