‘Attending Pitti Uomo is like taking a trip to the Holy Land of #menswear.’
Catching sight of Archie Hume at Pitti Uomo – the world’s biggest, most ostentatious menswear trade show – you might wonder what would bring him here to the sharp end of men’s fashion. Surely this is not the natural habitat of a man dedicated to high end country clothing. Whose style creed is ‘traditional with a contemporary twist.’?
Pitti Uomo – a Gathering of the World’s Best Dressed Men
Here the landscape is wild. As one over-excited menswear editor put it:
‘Attending Pitti Uomo is like taking a trip to the Holy Land of #menswear’
Everywhere you look are eye-popping colours and razor sharp cuts. Impossibly handsome, impossibly dressed models drift around the room, cutting a noticeable, yet nonchalant swathe through the delegates. Each a muse, dressed, coiffed and coached by the brands and labels. Models that have descended from the catwalk to circulate amongst the crowd, deliberately, yet nonchalantly inviting attention. Begging to be asked – as they are several hundred times a day – which label they represent, where is the stand and of course, do they have time for a quick snap?
Pitti Uomo is men’s fashion on steroids. The atmosphere is highly charged. Every brand that matters is here, so as well as being highly charged the atmosphere is also highly competitive. Labels use every trick in the constantly re-written, highly creative fashion book to get the attention of the buyers, the Vloggers, Viners and Instagramers. And yes, the old dogs of the print press. It is fascinating. It is compelling. Inspirational and addictive. A show in the truest sense of the word
The Cream of the Menswear Establishment
It is the fashion provocateurs and the wonder shocks that cause the biggest stir but it is the cream of the menswear establishment that draws Archie to Florence in January. That and the Negronis. There are, in Archie’s estimation, around 25 international brands that top the menswear hierarchy. Brands that signal wearers as men who have a certain significance in life.
All of these top brands attend Pitti Uomo. All but a handful are brands sold by A Hume, international household names such as RM Williams, William Lockie and Pantherella, to name a few. We work very closely with them and Pitti Uomo is invaluable not only to view their collections but also to nurture these close working relationships.
The few elite brands we do not carry, we choose not to, as either we already have their niches covered or they’re not appropriate for our market. Still it’s valuable to benchmark the A Hume offering against the best in the world. Worth checking we’ve got it right. Worth seeing if there’s anything we’re missing. Anything we’re not doing that we should be.
Pitti Uomo represents the retail and merchandising high water mark and there is always something new to learn.
Interpreting Trends for Country Menswear
Archie is here to take the temperature of the room in terms of our brand offering but also in terms of emerging trends.
Menswear doesn’t move at the same frenetic pace as womenswear. The pace of change in the mainstream is more stately still but eventually the innovations at the sharp end are refined and appear as tweaks to colour and tailoring in the mainstream. The vibrant orange overcoat from Milan of two seasons back becomes the more wearable sandy ochre chinos of 2017.
Part of Archie’s skill is interpreting these trends for A Hume, assessing whether this is a trend appropriate for A Hume customers and judging how far along the spectrum to travel.
Trends Archie Judged A Hume is Not Quite Ready For
Left to right: Big Ginger Beard: bit niche unless you’re Ed Sheeran (could it be….?). Gadafi Chic: for aspiring dictators. Anglo Tribute Act : a tribute, or a parody? Still it’s nice to be admired;-)
Archie designs all the A Hume exclusive tweeds. Over the last few years he’s observed a shift away from exuberant, bright tweeds to subtle shades and shorter jackets. He designs A Hume tweeds using his skill and market knowledge, recognising the trends whilst staying true to the preferences of A Hume customers. He says:
‘We always offer tweeds with blue undertones – colour trends and overchecks may come and go. But our boys always like to wear blue. So there will always be an element of blue in our tweed collections to cater to their tastes.’
You can be assured that A Hume always maintains the highest quality standards and is ever true to our country roots.
If you enjoyed this post and know of anyone who’d appreciate a glimpse into the glamorous world of Pitti Uomo, please ‘like’ and ‘share’ using the social buttons.
(Feature image credit: Enrico Labriola).