Alessandro Squarzi, founder of the menswear brand Fortela, denim expert, entrepreneur, collector and opinion leader, has spoken about the importance of craftsmanship (also see here). The SPIN OFF recently caught up with him to discuss sustainability and collaborations, among other topics.
You recently spoke about the importance of collaborations. Could you explain how much these experiences matter to you, and why are they important?
I'm a big believer in synergies. I believe that having the possibility to unite excellences and make sure that mutual skills can be added and put at the service of each other in order to develop something is great.
We've done several collaborations with Fortela, from Jacques Marie Mage with whom we did the glasses for Alessandro Squarzi, the Alden shoes for Fortela, Tricker’s, a large British shoe company with whom we worked for Fortela, Rios of Mercedes, an American western boot company with whom we collaborated, and Fay Archive.
In a certain sense, we at Fortela are artisans in the sense that we still operate through small productions, we can afford to play with what we do, such as the last capsule we made, for which we found a dead stock of Italian army pajamas from the ’60s, and from a pajama we pulled out a wonderful jacket made of a unique and unrepeatable fabric. That's the beauty of craftsmanship.
The world is entirely taken by sustainability today. We are sustainable, first and foremost, because we make a product that is not fashionable, therefore it doesn’t go out of fashion, then it is not scrapped or thrown away.
Our philosophy is that our garments are passed on. Secondly, we have been collaborating, for several seasons now, with the Manteco wool mill, a company that manages to blend ecology with luxury. All this could be possible thanks to their exclusive MWool, a new generation of sustainable wool, a raw material obtained from the strict selection and regeneration of pre- and post-consumer wool clothing. Through a mechanical low-impact process, these unused apparel pieces are transformed back into raw material, then into yarn and finally into fabric.
Relying on these highly specialized companies, especially from the point of view of sustainability, is one of our main missions.
The characteristics that garments must have in order to be defined as sustainable are the characteristics contained in the guidelines that lead to obtaining the well-known certifications. Manteco is certainly one of the great Italian companies in this regard; relying on them allows us to be sure of achieving this goal. Our mission is to rely on what is best, so we can give the best to our customers.
It is possible. As time goes by, we will get closer to producing according to such criteria, but we need to be sure that while running after sustainability we don’t produce some other type of pollution…we must not run the risk to produce other damages… In Italian, we would say we must be careful that it doesn't turn out to be a dog biting its own tail.