With over five hundred exhibitors Pitti Uomo is an impressive showcase. Pitti started as a buyers show where independent stores and larger department stores would order their collections for Autumn/Winter later in the year. This still happens but it is now as much about the press and bloggers who are heavily in attendance.
We spent the first day seeing some of our British clients (Nigel Cabourn/Duchamp/Hardy Amies). Mik Chung – our charismatic Korean agent - and his Korean crew, all dressed top to toe in Harris Tweed, made for good company.
Day two and our excellent agent Lorenzo gave us a preview of samples at Henry Lloyd and President’s both excellent collections. The Harris Tweed was used sparingly in apparel but the overall effect is that it adds value to a high end product. Of our Italian clients, perhaps the most impressive collection was undoubtedly the Milanese company Altea. They are a colour lead fashion house and to see ten of our brightest colours in gent’s jackets - for a winter collection – is sensational. We have to respect all client confidentiality on images but this is something to look forward to when we get clearance some time after June.
On a business level the fashion world is becoming more complex with an increased number of Licences being signed. Harris Tweed Hebrides is benefiting from this. As Henry Lloyd Italy want to stay true to their British heritage and companies like Filson who under their Italian licence of Filson Black label (Lumberjack style jackets selling for €800) are using The ‘Clo Mor’ to back up their own provenance. Many other smaller companies are using Harris Tweed in inventive (see Reds below) ways and all designers spoke very positively about client reaction.
The Florence show is the apex of menswear; there are inspirational collections born of the exquisite talents of both artists and artisans. The two French clients Eden Park and Hartford impressed and we would hope to work with them in the future. For sheer luxury and unique Italian style Belvest is something special.
A final mention should go to Nigel Cabourn and Ken Kennedy. The Cabourn collection featuring the tweed developed by Ken is both authentic and elegant. His stand was queued out every day with press and buyers. Nigel is an eccentric whirlwind of talent. A great client to have.