X PITTI UOMO
10 brands to look out for in the outdoor and utility space
In collaboration with Pitti Uomo, for this week’s physical fair taking place as always in Florence, we highlight 10 trailblazers inspiring to a new outdoor life.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON

Ten C

When asking Mr Enzo Fusco, president and creative director of FGF Industry, company owner of Ten C, what makes the brand different, there’s no doubt.

— The fabric our garments are made from, he states. It’s Japanese jersey, or OJJ, which has totally unique properties. Items made in this jersey, which has become a genuine mark of the brand’s identity and prestige, initially appear slightly stiff, but with time and use they adapt perfectly to the wearer. The fabric is also special because of the results obtained when using the garment-dyeing technique, which creates colours and nuances that are different and unique. This is an important detail because OJJ is an extremely tricky material to dye and process, so great skill and precision are required. The result is exclusive pieces that appear almost sculptural. The Ten C jacket can be customised because, especially in winter, for most models, you can choose the lining you prefer in the colour you want, so even if the outer shell is the same, the inner layer can change with the seasons, to a different colour or to whatever feels right for you at this moment.

This season, Ten C will be taking part in Pitti Connect.

— For Spring/Summer 22, we’ve decided to continue with our strong points, such as the mentioned OJJ, military inspiration, and a neutral palette, while at the same time seeking to innovate. New this season is Ripstop Crinkle Nylon, an extremely hardwearing and transparent fabric that requires taped seams. Moreover, we’re increasingly looking to expand our range of items in order to build a genuine Ten C look.

Following the success of last autumn’s collaboration with the Japanese brand Sacai, founder and creative director Alessandro Pungetti presents a new collab for SS22.

— He’s opted to work with Gang Box, aka Moya Garrison-Msingwana, a Toronto-based artist and illustrator. It’s our first collab with an artist and he’s also created several illustrations of our Arctic Down Parka, reimagining our flagship garment. This capsule collection features 3 t-shirts and a sweatshirt, made purely in black and white with a touch of the classic Ten C orange, tells Fusco.

Rolf Ekroth

The promising Finnish designer shares how he’s slowly re-creating his brand during covid.

— During that time, he tells, I partnered up with Finnish energy company Fortum. They developed this amazing new jersey fabric that is made out of straw called Bio2-textile.  My brand has been focused on menswear, but I think the pieces that we are doing work for everyone. I reference sports quite a lot in my collections, but lately, I’ve been interested in Finnish history as well.

At Pitti Uomo, he’s showing a video for SS22 as part of the fair’s digital offering.

— The collection is inspired by Juhannus, which is the Finnish midsummer celebrations. 95% of it is made out of stock material or recycled fabrics. We also re-used pieces from the last collection, for AW21, which we cut up a bit differently and dyed in different ways, including using onion peels. The focus was to show how you can re-use old clothes and make them look totally different and to highlight that you don’t have to use bleach or other toxic materials in your dyeing process. I also continued to work with Bio2–textile, with which we experimented with different dyeing techniques. The results are very good.

This summer, Ekroth also releases a new rainwear collaboration, Vallila x Rolf Ekroth x Wataru Tominaga, which will soon also be available in Japan.

Zermatt

Pitti Uomo 100 will be the first disclosure for shoe brand Zermatt and its collections.

— We are proud to consider it as our springboard into the industry, tells brand representative Giulia Tornatore. 

Zermatt itself is a new project. However, it is backed by a 60+ years shoe components manufacturing company based in the shoe district of Montebelluna in northeast Italy. 

— The inspiration behind our first campaign and the brand overall, is to create an everyday shoe inspired by the epic mountain hikes on the Dolomites back in the 30s, tells Tornatore, adding, 

— A fun fact is that we’ve named each of the styles with the name of a mountain peak. The brand doesn’t work by seasonality but plans to present drops and capsule collections. 

— As we follow the path of major brands who have been making this choice before, we firmly believe in bringing the focus back to the relationship between the product and the client rather than sticking to a rigorous timeline, Tornatore concludes.

buttertea

The German brand was founded two years ago with the aim to develop and produce cashmere products that, if properly cared for, can last a lifetime. All of the products are made within 6 kilometers in Tuscany, in the heart of Italy, and produced in the oldest and innovative spinning mill for cashmere yarn in the country before manufactured on handknitting machines by experienced employees.

— In addition to the highest quality, the topic of sustainability was very, very important to us and we use the most sustainable cashmere yarn that the market currently offers for the majority of our products. The fibers are neither dyed nor processed with chemical aids, making it the most natural way to wear cashmere on your skin. Also, the rest of the yarns we are using are produced with environment in mind and our spinning mill joined the Greenpeace Detox Commitment in 2016. Also, every customer can return their garment to us twice free of charge. In our buttertea spa, the piece is subjected to a ”beauty treatment”. We then send it back to its owner even softer and more beautiful than when it was bought, tells Hans-Bernd Cartsburg, owner.

At Pitti Uomo 100, the brand shows a small program of Autumn/Winter 2021 styles, ”as we assume that some dealers will still need to buy for the coming season after the uncertainties of the pandemic”, and the SS22 collection.

— Our highlights for next Spring/Summer are the casual hoodies and sweater influenced by the classic sportsman, as well as the newly developed line with super-light polos and T-shirts made from super fine cashmere.

oqLiq

Created by Chi Hung and Orbit Lin, oqLiq focuses on high-tech performance garments which aesthetically draw inspiration from oriental design, Asian mythology,  and traditional philosophy, such as Taoism.

— The design of our clothes implant the Zen spirit, the Tai Chi symbol (like Yin and Yang), and oriental elements coupled with streetwear style. Mixing technology and functional textile directly from Taiwan and sustainable materials, like oyster shell powder or dam sediment mud coating the leather, our collections adapt to the seasons and to individual needs, while maintaining its high performance. We offer a multicultural, sustainable, and traditional yet contemporary design, the duo tells.

One highlight for SS22 is a PTFE protective high-breathable full coverage cloth mask featuring a nanoporous membrane, 0.075 μm filtering, and 99.9% effective protection. It’s made from a 5 layer technology with water repellency to physically filter out viruses and bacteria from the air and if properly cared for, it can be washed at least 20 times while still maintaining the 99%+ filtering effect of the nano-membrane. 

— The fabric layers are Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex certified and they’re made in a sustainable and ethical factory that pays fair living wages, says Hung and Lin.

Mantidy

The London-based lifestyle brand for men offers high-quality all-in-one travel accessories and organisers, aiming to combine functionality and design in order to offer the perfect travel companion. 

— This is why we include all necessary accessories in the organisers, such as manicure sets and mobile phone accessories kits, says founder John McKenzie.

Inspired by travelling and the diversity of culture, Mantidy has created two collections. The handwoven collection is distinguished by the herringbone weave, which is handcrafted by women in Sibaltan Village in the Philippines, traditional mat and market basket weavers.

— With our green manufacturer and GREAT Women Initiative, we support local women entrepreneurs, allow them to receive better payment, and improve the infrastructure of their community, including solar-powered energy and running water.

The brand just launched a collaboration with New & Lingwood — with more to come for SS22.

— We’ll launch some new products, including wallets, collabs, and the Pooch Pouch where 10% of profits go to a charity called Dogs on the Street, McKenzie tells.

Brandblack

The L.A.-based shoe brand’s ambition, co-founder and creative director Billy Dill shares, is to bring beauty, simplicity, and seamlessness to idealists’ everyday lives.

— Our intention is to design products that elevate an active lifestyle through a balance of form and function. We are passionate about design and strive to create well-designed products, remove excess distraction, and create a pure product with a high level of functionality.

The brand, he says, has numerous collaborations coming that he’s unable to announce yet. What he can share though are the highlights for Spring/Summer 2022, to be presented at Pitti Uomo.

— Our hybrid hiking boot Sansin, the ultra-advanced basketball shoe Rare Metal 2, and our maximal carbon running concept Kaiju.

Sansin is a highly innovative hybrid hiker featuring featherweight details, durable and strong translucent rip-stop nylon, and Vibram Wraptech technology. The radically lightweight maximal cushioned running shoe Kaiju features strong and light nylon fused sail-cloth upper, a foam with 20% lighter formulation, and a state-of-the-art kevlar meta plate. Rare Metal 2 is, as mentioned, a technically advanced and ultra-lightweight basketball shoe with technical innovation materials, a padded collar, re-inforced upper, lace lock, and supercritical foam sit on top of Vibram Wraptech technology’s multi-directional rubber outsole.

24Bottles

The Italian design brand was born in 2013 to reduce the impact of disposable plastic bottles on the planet and our lives.

— We were searching for the most comfortable and functional solution to satisfy the need to hydrate in a healthy, elegant, and ecological way, tells Erica Prosperini PR & marketing specialist.

24Bottles provides a wide range of stainless steel bottles with an original, Italian design: elegant, reusable, and lightweight, perfect for any style and occasion. It’s distributed in over 65 countries around the world. Mainly Europe, but also the Middle East, China, Japan, the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The company is B Corp certified and has also embarked on an ambitious program to achieve carbon neutrality. The aim is to completely offset its carbon footprint by supporting international reforestation projects, rural communities, and other sustainability projects.

The two new launches include Sport Tumbler, a new addition to The Athleisure Collection, specially designed for sports hydration. The sporty insulated mug comes with an extremely grippable finish and features ”Sport&Go lid” as standard equipment and its full-length straw allows you to drink vertically. And 24Bottles’ Kids Collection, Prosperini tells, was created due to the great demand coming from the brand’s own community.

— Our children’s kit consists of a 250ml Kids Bottle, a small and light non-insulated bottle with an easy-opening straw cap and a 350ml Travel Snack Pot — insulated, ideal for baby food, but perfect for snacks, too.

B.D. Baggies

According to legend, back in 1904, a university student named Bradford Dexter Bagg discovered a trunk full of his father’s shirts. When he put one on, he noticed that although it was a bit baggy, the shirt fit. The success was immediate: all the students wanted a shirt that represented their spirit of freedom, in stark contrast to the rigid college uniforms. After finishing his studies, Bradford decided to start producing them with his initials inside a pure cotton bag, identical to the one he used at university to send his laundry to be washed.

The B.D. Baggies collection is designed in the U.S. and produced from 100% pre-laundered shirt which has a lived-in look and an unmistakable appeal. ”A shirt wearable naturally as a tee” as the brand calls it. The line contains original styles, innovative fabrics and treatments, and a new fit and the SS22 collection is structured around three themes. The Seasonal contains madras patterns on linen and cotton, Hawaii and bandana patterns; the Heritage includes washed Oxford, denim chambray, 100% garment-dyed linen, and super light cottons such as cotton muslin and poplin, and the Worker features overshirts and waistcoats in various fabrics, from garment-dyed cotton to denim and madras patterns.

Unimatic

The Italian contemporary watch brand was born by Giovanni Moro and Simone Nunziato, trained as product designers at Politecnico di Milano, in 2015. Blending the two friends’ passion for vintage and contemporary design, they describe the brand as a continuous watchmaking lab. The watches are all produced in limited quantities per reference, with no reissuing when sold out, and combine great design and a high-quality standard at an affordable price.

All the phases of assembly and testing are entirely made in Italy where each watch is individually tested for water resistance. Unimatic’s flexible production process allows them to develop custom projects starting from just thirty pieces per edition and the brand has released special collaboration watches with some of the world’s leading brands, including Colette, Luisaviaroma, Goods, Mihara Yasuhiro, and Mr. Porter. The lineup includes a few main product families: The automatic diver Modello Uno, the automatic field-watch Modello Due, and Modello Tre, a mecha-quartz chronodiver. The latest launch, Modello Quattro, comes with a new sleek 40mm case and is inspired by and built for the military. It seamlessly blends the Modello Uno case into a bolder, tougher aesthetic thanks to the fixed bezel and is the brand’s most resistant reference, able to handle anything thrown its way.

More launches are to be unveiled in Florence, but still remains under embargo.