Menswear in Australia is experiencing a sort of renaissance. Our fashion industry has long been overlooked – Australian seasons and fashion calendars are out of sync with the Northern Hemisphere, branding us as a sunny outlier at the end of the earth – but social and digital media have changed the landscape.
Now, three heavyweight fashion bodies – The Woolmark Company, The Australian Fashion Chamber and the Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery – are shining a spotlight on eight Australian designers, each with a distinct story to tell.
Chris Ran Lin, Commas, Double Rainbouu, Ex Infinitas, P.E. Nation, Sener Besim, Strateas.Carlucci and Ten Pieces were chosen to head Australia’s ‘Guest Nation’ program at Pitti Uomo event in Florence – the most important international platform for men’s fashion and accessories collections. South Korea, Africa, Ukraine, Turkey and Denmark have all featured before.
The Australian designers were given the following brief: showcase the versatility of Merino wool. Expect Merino denim, directional knits and water-proof trenches.
Pitti Immagine’s managing director Raffaello Napoleone tells Broadsheet Australia is one of the most exciting and fastest growing places in fashion today.
“We have been strengthening our relations with Australia for a while, working closely with the Australian institutions promoting fashion abroad,” says Napoleone. “We want to highlight the essence of Australian design and lifestyle, with a selection of cutting-edge fashion designers and brands, within a global platform as Pitti Uomo and its audience of international top buyers, media and fashion key players.”
We caught up with four of these designers to discuss the capabilities of Merino wool and what they would like to see more Australian men wearing.
P.E NATION: Pip Edwards
Describe your vibe in three words: Activewear with a street edge. Sorry! We used five!! Haha.
Who is your man muse? We're inspired by men worldwide but some local Aussie favourites of ours include Josh Gibson (Hawthorn AFL Player), Scotty James (World Champion snowboarder), Corbin Harris (pro skateboarder), Gadir Rajab (contributing fashion editor, Oyster) and Nicky Night Time (music producer).
What would you like to see men wearing more of? We'd love to see them layering more and not playing it so safe. For us, it's about layering up the sport pieces to create more of a street look when going to and from training. Women already know how to do it so well – it's about wearing your activewear as your everyday look.
How have you woven Merino wool into your spring/summer look? Merino wool has the most incredible performance qualities of any fabrication we know. It's odourless, regulates temperature, is sweat wicking, is comfortable and maintains its shape. It's easy to care for and it's stain resistant – all amazing qualities for designing activewear. We have included Merino wool in our jumpers, jackets, sweats and track pants. It lends itself to all climates so it's incredible for our trans-seasonal global collections.
Describe your vibe in three words: Tailored, techno, cowboy.
Who is your man muse? Slim Dusty x Slim Shady
What would you like to see men wearing more of? Cowboy boots with tailoring.
How have you woven Australian Merino wool into your spring/summer 2017 collection? We’ve combined traditional, tailored garments with beautiful Australian merino wool suiting. This includes motocross inspired knitwear, ultra-lightweight, water-repellent, candy-coloured trenches and Merino denim.
DOUBLE RAINBOUU:Mikey Nolan
Describe your vibe in three words: Pool punks, beach babes.
Who is your man muse? Romeo.
What would you like to see men wearing more of?
We would like to see men having a little more fun, being more fluid and chill.
How have you woven Australian Merino wool into your spring/summer 2017 collection? We have made eight unisex Merino-jacquard knits that are designed for seasonal mood enhancement. Pre-neoprene days, surfers would wear Merino knits surfing in the winter months to keep warm, which is an anecdotal way to speak volumes about the performance benefits of the incredible fibre.
TEN PIECES: Maurice Terzini
Describe your vibe in three words: Sporty, punky, stylish.
Who is your man muse? Robby Loyed
What would you like to see men wearing more of? Ten Pieces!
How have you woven Australian Merino wool into your spring/summer collection? We have reinterpreted our key silhouettes in Merino wool.
The Guest Nation program takes place at the Fortezza da Basso from June 13 to June 16.