In an Australian first, seven emerging menswear designers will make their debut at Pitti Uomo 92 thanks to a new initiative between the reputed Florentine trade fair and The Woolmark Company.
The special showcase, dubbed Guest Nation Australia, sees a lucky handful heading to Italy, including Sydney labels Ten Pieces, Double Rainbouu, Commas and Chris Ran Lin as well as Melbourne's Strateas Carlucci, Ex Infinitas and sunglass brand Sener Besim.
"When Woolmark contacted us we accepted proudly," says co-founder of Strateas Carlucci Mario-Luca Carlucci.
The lads, who were recipients of the Woolmark Prize in 2014 for both menswear and womenswear categories, have a good relationship with the Woolmark Company and have used fine merino wool in their collections since they started their brand in 2012.
New look for Milan
The innovative unisex label is known for its tailoring and avant-garde silhouettes. Their spring/summer collection – which they will debut at Pitti – sees the lads take a more colourful approach.
"We've gone bright this season which is a new direction for us," says Carlucci.
Usually known for its brooding gothic menswear, it's a drastic move for a brand steeped in black and grey palettes and one that sees them embrace red, yellow and purple wool which surely will have peacocks intrigued in Italy.
"Our Pitti collection also sees us use interesting wool applications, knitwear in jacquard prints and different textiles," says Carlucci.
Over the rainbow
Newcomer Double Rainbouu is a hip unisex brand that's already well received in the USA and Japan [already stocked in Barney's, Bloomingdale's, Fred Siegel and more], but the emphasis is to become cult status like in Asia and Europe says Nolan.
Usually known for bright graphic cotton shirts, the duo behind the brand - ex-Ksubi Mikey Nolan and jeweller Toby Jones - have created a line of merino wool knitweart to be shown at MBFWA and at Pitti.
"There's a feel good vibe to our summer collection," says Mikey Nolan who helped make Ksubi a household name as its former creative director.
"I've been to Pitti before – in my role with Ksubi for many years so I know what to expect there," he says.
"We're primarily a beach resort brand and think many overseas buyers look to Australia for good beach wear – and it's something they expect for us and what we're delivering on that."
The road to Pitti
To celebrate Guest Nation, Bondi's Icebergs and its view across Bondi Beach will host Pitti Immagine CEO Raffaello Napoleone, the man responsible for bringing Pitti to the world stage, and attendees will be treated to a preview on what's in store abroad in June.
"We've had a historic relationship with Pitti and this new initiative is another facet to that long standing friendship," says Laura Armstrong, the Global Communications Manager for Woolmark.
"For us this event is about marketing the versatility of wool not just for the autumn/winter climate, but the fact it is lightweight and trans-seasonal for summer/spring fashion too," she says.
"We love supporting emerging talent and showing the European market what Australian labels are doing with wool for summer
"Italians are one of the biggest buyers and users of our super fine merino wool," she says.
"They are rather impressed with what our menswear labels are doing with wool and ready to share that with the world during the trade fair."
Check out the gallery above to see the complete list of Australian designers heading to Pitti Uomo.