AdnOLongtime friends Marco Pizzuti and Andrea Vecchiola are connected by two passions: Their love for footwear and (wind)surfing. In 1999, Vecchiola laid the foundation of the Fessura brand (which he runs with his two brothers until today) by inventing the iconic and patented “Elastic Bad Shoe,” using a wrapped elastic band as an upper. Pizutti on the other hand has worked as a shoe designer at his family company, the clothing and accessories manufacturer Zeis Excelsa, since 1990, designing for the company’s own and licensed brands including Dirk Bikkembergs ever since. In 2015, the two decided to found their own footwear brand, led by the desire to create a feeling of walking on the sand and AdnO was born. The classic AdnO sneaker combines a flexible rubber outsole with a thick and comfortable EVA insole (that can be detached and cleaned if desired) and a knitted one-piece upper, consisting of stretchy and more stable parts, where the foot needs protection. The sneakers are breathable, weigh as little as 250 grams and come in a variety of different designs, with colors and patterns being inspired by knit surf bags, to stay in the theme. There are low, mid, and high-top versions of the AdnO classic, and the range is extended by more winter-qualified versions, replacing the knit upper with suede and sheepskin, however always maintaining the no-laces surf shoe appearance. AdnO styles retail between €125 for a low-top knitted version and €175 for a high-top sheepskin variant at (mostly Italian) fashion, streetwear and footwear stores on- and offline, including Luisaviaroma in Florence, Maximilian stores in Northern Italy and Mode On in Tolentino.
GCDSGiuliano Calza’s brand is a true digital native–that’s maybe one of the reasons why it’s such a hit in social networks and amongst Millennial customers. After living in Shanghai for four years, Calza returned to Italy in 2014 and started GCDS as an online project. A year later, he registered the brand with his brother Giordano. Since then, the two of them have slowly grown their range of sporty streetwear and accessories–often playing with their logo and always with a fun and cute element: There are cropped Hello Kitty knit jumpers, fishnet tops with elastic logo bands and clip-on hoops with a studded GCDS lettering, all made in Italy. “We are very responsive to the customers and we observe a lot what’s going on online and offline, in order to keep it fresh and relevant,” says Calza. His bold designs have taken the brand to run shows during Milan and New York Fashion Week and also caught the attention of famous faces such as Kendall Jenner and Rita Ora. The latter once appeared in a sheer illusion GCDS bodysuit covered with a few delicate patches including a “God can’t destroy streetwear” patch (the claim of which GCDS is the abbreviation) covering her left nipple. The playful designs find a lot of favor in Asia, too: GCDS’s biggest markets are Korea, China and Japan, followed by Italy and UK, however most of the online orders come from the USA Calza reports. The brand is sold at fashion-forward stockists around the globe including Vfiles in NYC, Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong and Selfridges in London. GCDS’ bestseller, a knitted jumper with maxi logo, retails around €320. Logoed boots are €375.
SuperDuper HatsOnce again Florence is the location for a renaissance, even if only in fashion: For several seasons the hat has been experiencing a new heyday–and a young Florentine label has contributed its bit as well. The sisters Ilaria and Veronica Cornacchini of Umbria and Pisa native Matteo Gioli created the SuperDuper Hats brand–and all three are being praised as members of a new generation of Italian artisans. A millinery design workshop in Eindhoven brought the three of them together and kindled the desire of the former industrial design and architecture students to turn their passion for beautiful headwear into their profession. In 2010 they took the decisive step by founding their business in former horse stables just outside Florence–and were soon rewarded for their courage. After only a short period of time the trio already had a number of well-known clients, and in 2013 SuperDuper Hats won the “Who Is On Next” Newcomer Award at Pitti Uomo. Today the hatters sell their creations from Tokyo to New York; Saks Fifth Avenue numbers among their stockists as does Tsum in Moscow and Selfridges in London. In Asia alone they supply 40 shops. Their bestselling model is the Hobo, the ideal hat for traveling, which is made using super-light waxed straw for the summer model and rabbit fur or beaver felt for its winter counterpart. Retail prices range from €200 to €350, which is easy to justify given that every hat is individually crafted and Made in Italy.
AlanuiAlanui is Hawaiian for “the wide path”–and for Nicolò and Carlotta Oddi of Monza, Italy, the founders of the knitwear label, this path is apparently taking them straight to the top. This is all the more impressive given that Alanui is based on a very minimal product group: The label focuses on handcrafted, ethno-inspired cardigans, ponchos and sweaters made of thick pure cashmere. A single piece retails for €2,000 and yet fashionistas are rushing to buy them. Around eleven hours of work and 980 grams of the finest Cariaggi cashmere go into every jacket. Ikat patterns reminiscent of Indonesia and India, jacquard knit, interlacing and intricate embroidery are the ingredients for the wintery boho look. Launched only in 2016, Alanui has already made its way into select stores: the Oddis already had 120 customers on their list in their first year, including names such as Bergdorf Goodman in New York, Colette and Le Bon Marché in Paris and well-known online portals such as Net-à-Porter, Jades24 and Stylebop. The unisex oversize cardigans and sweaters are made in Tuscany. For the 2018-19 winter season, Alanui designer Carlotta Oddi, who previously made a name for herself as a stylist, will add yet another innovation to her internationally popular folklore look. So, watch out!
SunneiSunnei, a menswear brand founded by French-Italian duo Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo, is a perfect blend between street-savvy and contemporary lux. Since its 2015 inception, it has brought a new genre to fashion, one that is focused around laid-back tailoring taking place inside an-awkward-meets-cool universe. Sunnei’s tongue-in-cheek T-shirts featuring catchphrases such as “Everyday I wear Sunnei,” have become bestsellers–and useful marketing props–throughout the seasons, while the brand’s washed denims and relaxed blazers have established an equally loyal fan base.
What started out as a Milanese-based sensation with a following made up of predominantly hipsters has grown into an international force to be reckoned with. Sunnei stockists are spread across Europe, the US and Asia. The latter is a growing market for the brand sold by retailers there including Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford, Tokyo’s Opening Ceremony and South Korea’s Iamshop.
Online, the goods which start retailing at a price of approximately €120 for an Italian-made T-shirt up to outerwear in the four-figure range, have been picked up by names such as SSENSE and Farfetch. The most recent addition to Sunnei’s product range is a series of colorful sneakers, while a line of womenswear is rumored to come next.
AvavavTwo Swedes, Linda and Adam Friberg, took flight against the stream and moved from north to south. The co-founders of the brands Cheap Monday, Weekday and Monki set up base in Florence and are continuing to pursue their favorite pastime there, launching new zeitgeist labels. Avavav is the name of their most recent coup which they pulled off in the summer of 2017. It is a women’s collection produced using sustainable methods, a hodgepodge of favorite pieces and must-haves, all of which can be worn for more than a season. Designer Linda strikes a fine balance between making a fashion statement and retaining classic appeal–and once again captures the current taste in fashion. Soft lines, flattering drapé styling and subdued colors are the key characteristics of this feminine collection. Swedish design meeting Italian production methods is the recipe for Avavav’s success. “I am using the endless possibilities I have here in Florence, to be fast and flexible, while tapping into hundreds of years of experience of the local factories. Avavav is an evolution of my admiration for this Italian craftsmanship and my beliefs about affordable luxury,” she says about her approach. Low piece counts, the use of remainders from other haute couture companies and a systematically observed code of conduct throughout the entire production chain are established parts of its company philosophy. Retail prices for tops and blouses are €100 to €250 and slacks and pants are €180 to €250. Dresses retail for €160 to €280 and bags from €150 to €350. All sales are done through the label’s own online shop.