PITTI UOMO X Monocle

How can I discover the world’s best menswear?

Much more than a biannual clothing fair, Pitti Uomo is a symbol for the power of gathering expertise and sharing excellence. Based in Florence, its potency lies in its global reach. Brands the world over benefit from its international influence. Clothing ateliers and specialist apparel manufacturers in the UK and Japan always make a strong showing at the week-long affair. Both markets are key to Pitti’s position as a premium agent for the continued development of an independent spirit in the menswear trade. Pitti Uomo will return in June for its 100th edition.

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Japan:

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F/CE

A Japanese outerwear brand with an international flavour, F/CE’s hi-tech wares – think rucksacks, jackets and hiking gear – are designed for good looks and practicality. Collections take inspiration from different countries and the label’s design research for clothing lines in the past has involved trips to Switzerland, the UK and Morocco. 


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DESCENTE ALLTERRAIN

Neutral tones, technical fabrics and intelligent construction – Japan’s Descente Allterrain does what it says on the tin, equipping you for any weather. The brand was founded in Osaka back in 1935 for ski enthusiasts, though it has since earned its place with sportspeople in all fields and casual wearers alike. 


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SNOWPEAK

More than just a clothing brand, Japan’s Snow Peak produces immaculately designed goods for all things “great outdoors”: think sturdy tents, cosy blankets and smart, transportable cookware. Of course, it does do clothing too – the shell jackets and parkas are popular, even among city folk who want to keep dry on the morning commute. 


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CHOYA SHIRT

When Choya Shirt was founded in 1886, the word “shirt” didn’t yet exist in Japanese. At the time, the emperor, his family and other aristocrats were desperate to get their hands on Western-style shirting and Choya was created when the founders deconstructed British and French styles, turning them into an art form. To this day, the emperor still wears the brand’s crisp cotton tops.


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TEÄTORA 

“Workwear for creators battling in work chairs.” According to Teätora, its mission is to produce clothes for modern creators who require work clothes that function specifically well while sitting in the office — the contemporary coalface. Refined design, ultimate comfort and technical fabrics define this progressive Japanese brand.


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GEN ARAI,

BRAND DIRECTOR, GOLDWIN 

What lessons have you learned over the past year?
There have been changes in the way we sell and we realised the importance of being a brand that consumers want. Unnecessary brands and products are eliminated. 

Why focus on the outdoor for this collection?
We want to create products that are environmentally friendly, combining function with sophisticated design. 

Why is Pitti Uomo so important?
New brands like us need to make new proposals to the market. Pitti Uomo is an effective place to create opportunities. 


NANAMICA

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Starting Nanamica was a natural evolution for Eiichiro Homma. Beginning his fashion career at Goldwin and developing Norwegian outdoor brand Helly Hansen’s Japanese products, Homma became a master of the technical garment. In 2003 he teamed up with designer Takashi Imaki, who had lifted the Champion brand to iconic levels in Japan, and launched Nanamica. The aim was to create a functional fashion brand that would travel internationally. Collaborations with The North Face and Gore-Tex have helped Homma to build a distinctive label.


UK:

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COUNTRY OF ORIGIN

Country of Origin’s fun, bright, blocky knitwear has earned the UK-based brand a cult following since it launched in 2014. Production now takes place in England’s Wigston and collaborations with the likes of Bergdorf Goodman are testament to a label that has quickly cemented itself in the international fashion scene. 


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BEGG X CO

With experience dating back to 1860, Begg x Co technicians use a wide variety of weaving and finishing apparatus in the manufacture of its exceptional scarves, stoles, sweaters and throws. Drawing inspiration from Scotland’s magnificent landscapes, the Ayrshire factory is home to generations of proud local craftspeople.


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JOHN SMEDLEY

A colossus in British fashion, John Smedley was founded in 1784 and lays claim to being “the world’s finest knitwear”. Its site at Lea Mills in Derbyshire is the oldest manufacturing factory in the world and its fabrics have earned its products a royal warrant for quality.


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UNIVERSAL WORKS

David Keyte co-founded Universal Works from his kitchen table in 2009 with the aim of making “real, honest clothing based on fit and good design, though never over-designed”. The result is a back-to-basics line of essential work shirts, task jackets and functional clothing in an array of neutral colours. The look is very much “fatigue chic”.

 

 


SUNSPEL

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Founded in 1860, Sunspel made its name producing luxury T-shirts in the late 19th century and introduced boxer shorts to the UK in 1947. Polo shirts would follow in the 1950s and Sunspel’s status as a British leisurewear icon stuck. Every garment is designed and handcrafted in Derbyshire from natural, organic and even recyclable materials when possible. The brand has a strong sense of tradition, history and craft but does not rest on its laurels. In recent times it has collaborated with musician Paul Weller and created clothing for Daniel Craig to wear in his role as James Bond. 


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JEFF GRIFFIN, 

FOUNDER, GRIFFIN 

Where is Griffin based? 
At Loveland Farm in Devon [in the UK], where we grow fruit and vegetables and tend animals. We use green energy and manage our studio with fresh air and creative clarity. 

Why is Pitti Uomo so important?
It is where any relevant brand should be. We love to network with other brands and manufacturers. 

What’s next for Griffin? 
Nature has shown us how to evolve and adapt. We are using limited production runs, second-life fabrics and upcycling to create outerwear to last a lifetime. 

For more info please visit uomo.pittimmagine.com

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