A new collaboration has been born and involves a pair of top experts in the denim and fashion markets, Antonio Di Battista and Alessandro Squarzi. The two, owners of the premium denim brand Blue Blanket and the men’s fashion label Fortela respectively, have just started their first project Fortela with Blue Blanket by offering a special limited edition shirt model, Pasadena, made with Japanese dead stock selvedge denim and completed by special stonewashing and handmade finishings.


How did this collab start?
Antonio Di Battista (ADB):
Squarzi and I have known each other for long and reciprocally appreciated our work, but had never worked on any specific project together. As he had found a roll of Japanese dead stock selvedge denim from the ’50s in a company that was going to close, he suggested we might do a project together using this fabric that otherwise might have been thrown away. As I own many rare vintage shirts, Squarzi told me: “Choose one of your most favorite archive pieces and let’s start that.”

Alessandro Squarzi (AS): Di Battista and I share many passions. Among others, we are both collectors and deeply love jeans. Plus, I had always wanted to a high-research project with him as I highly esteem him. For this project I designed the shirt and Di Battista took care of its washes. This is how we did these 120 limited edition men’s shirts.

Alessandro Squarzi, founder, Fortela
Photo: Fortela
Alessandro Squarzi, founder, Fortela
Can you tell us more about the shirt?
ADB:
I chose to reproduce an old US shirt from the 1920s from my archive. It’s from a very old jean and rare brand, Roebuck. It is a very particular style for special aged areas and for its slightly aged enamel-covered metal buttons with some rust appearing on their surface. We reproduced this shirt entirely, rust included. This shirt carries many agings and worn-out areas as it is a very faithful reproduction of the original one. Plus, the fabric we used is very particular as it is made with a very thin selvedge which is only two-yarn thick.


Where does its name come from?
ADB:
I don’t like to give names to the products I offer as I prefer to use codes. Squarzi instead insisted we had to call it something. As I had no idea about that he asked me: “Where did you find it?” And my answer was “Pasadena.” That’s why we called it like that.
Antonio Di Battista, founder, Blue Blanket
Photo: Blue Blanket
Antonio Di Battista, founder, Blue Blanket
How was this experience? Will you offer more pieces in the future?
ADB:
I deeply loved it, and it was a great experience. Plus I did something I never do with my brand as Blue Blanket only offers unwashed items, while this shirt has been stonewashed and aged quite a lot, but the product looks amazing.

AS: I believe in these kind of synergies. I think they can always teach you something and I like to work with people who are more expert than I am so that I can learn from them. Among the other collaborations I recently worked on there were Manteco and Fay. I like to do special and very focused projects like the Pasadena shirt. I think we will continue offering some more pieces like, for instance, a beautiful pair of chinos we could launch for s/s 2022 and maybe later a leather jacket.
The result is great as we put in it all our love for denim and vintage as we like to offer products with true content and with a story to tell. A product with a history never goes out of fashion. Fashion that runs after trends, instead, ends up being out of fashion very soon.


How much does this shirt cost?
ADB:
It costs €490 at retail. I will sell 60 pieces through my e-commerce and stores and Squarzi the other 60 through his own network.



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