Shipping to
United States
Shop The Story
1/1
Photography by Mr Laurence Ellis | Styling by Mr Dan May
Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher

If you suspect that men in Italy enjoy a quality of life that the rest of us can only dream of then our photographic record of a day spent with four guys from Slowear will confirm your prejudice.

Based in the northeastern corner of the country, just outside the city of Venice, where we shot this story, Slowear has come to define a sophisticated off-duty look with an international appeal, but a distinctly Italian character. The brand feels very contemporary, but the company's history goes back 60 years, as president Mr Roberto Compagno explains. "We started in 1951, when my father started producing trousers," he says, "and that was all we did for 50 years. At the beginning we worked as a producer for big companies, but in the 1970s we started with our trousers brand, Incotex."

The market was divided into young men who wore jeans, and more elegant men. We proposed a new casual style that was more sophisticated with better fabrics and a range of colours

The ambition for Incotex was not simply to produce new styles of trousers, but to pioneer a whole new way of dressing. "Why we started was simple," remembers Mr Compagno. "Back then the market was divided into young men who wore jeans, and more elegant men who went to very different boutiques. We proposed a new casual style that was more sophisticated, with better fabrics and in a wide range of colours. We concentrated on the fit, looking every season to see what was changing."

Following the logic dictated by the success of Incotex's single product line Slowear decided, in the early 2000s, to expand its range of clothes, but without compromising its specialism. To achieve this it bought three existing Italian brands, each of which already enjoyed a great reputation - Zanone for knitwear, Montedoro for jackets and Glanshirt for shirts. Mr Compagno explains what happened next: "The style of the clothes was already similar because the look was sophisticated, and then we worked on the products the same way we had with the trousers, improving the fit and doing research on the materials."

The four brands are produced separately, to ensure that the unique know-how possessed by each isn't compromised, but they are united by a common aesthetic. Mr Campagno says, "The way to dress has changed. We used to dress more formally for work, in ties, shirts and jackets, but our idea is to be elegant in comfortable garments. However, this isn't classic, because classic is close to old. We're about good design that you can wear for a long time." Logos are notable for their absence, with good reason. "We don't use a lot of branding, because we have in mind a consumer with a personality," he says.

We're about good design that you can wear for a long time

Rather than focus on branding, Slowear's emphasis is on its clothes. "We think about trousers every day," says Mr Compagno. "We work on a lot of new materials, we're always looking for new interlinings and new ways to increase the comfort - the product must be perfect inside and out. Everything is important, because you only appreciate the quality after the tenth time you wear something - then you can appreciate the buttons, or the waistband." Because Slowear is a family-owned company it takes a long-term view with regard to production.

Mr Compagno explains, "We could save money producing in the Far East, but then our clothes would be the same as 90% of the products on the market - we'd lose our originality and what makes us special." One of the things that makes the brand special is its name, which owes an obvious debt to the Slow Food movement, which originated in Italy in 1986, defines itself by its opposition to fast food, and is dedicated to the promotion of locally produced, high-quality seasonal food. "The philosophy for us is that it's better to buy a quality garment that you can wear for longer," says Mr Compagno. "Rather than buying three pieces of rubbish you can only wear for one season."

This approach informs both the design and the production of the Slowear clothes. "With our consumer we don't need big changes every season, just little by little we introduce new styles - the changes are invisible but the customers appreciate being updated. "The fit may change over the years but the aesthetic remains the same. In Mr Compagno's words, "The look is understated, it's more style than fashion."

What are you looking forward to wearing this summer?
Super-light cotton Incotex trousers, the light cotton polo shirt by Zanone - we call it ice cotton because of its lightness. This is the perfect combination for Milan's hot summer.
How do you wear your clothes?
In summer I like to wear my trousers rolled up, with a pair of good English shoes without socks, small colourful bow ties and tight, short unconstructed jackets.
Where do you like to eat and drink in Venice?
Special cafés and restaurants such as ProntoPesce (prontopesce.it), which is not so well known by tourists. But there are special places such as Harry's Bar (harrysbarvenezia.com) and Florian (caffeflorian.com), which one must go to due to their history even though they are tourist spots.
What are you looking forward to wearing this summer?
The Incotex trousers made of ultra-light comfort fabric and the Zanone sweaters made of soft cotton crepe.
How do you wear your clothes?
My styling tip for an everyday look is a chambray shirt with a soft casual jacket, a pair of chino trousers, classic shoes worn with socks, a regimental tie and a pair of sunglasses.
Where do you like to eat and drink in Venice?
L'Osteria di Santa Marina in Campo Santa Marina (ristorantiveneziani.it), where you can find a perfect union between traditional Venetian cuisine and innovation. The presentation of the dishes and the service are impeccable. Booking is vital.
What are you looking forward to wearing this summer?
Incotex light cotton and linen trousers, in a fabric called Chinolino, with a flower-print shirt by Glanshirt. Also Incotex R.E.D. cargo shorts in cotton and linen.
How do you wear your clothes?
In summer I like to wear my trousers rolled up, with a pair of Castañer espadrilles.
Where do you like to eat and drink in Venice?
Lineadombra (ristorantelineadombra.com) - on starry nights, sit on the outdoor deck at one of Venice's modern restaurants. Order the sea bass fillet with potatoes and vanilla perfume, and take in a beautiful view of the Giudecca.
What are you looking forward to wearing this summer?
Incotex white trousers paired with the nice striped shirt by Glanshirt and our Montedoro jacket. It will be a very chic combination.
How do you wear your clothes?
I like my jacket to be a bit tight and I like to go without socks during summer.
Where do you like to eat and drink in Venice?
I recommend Harry's Bar.

With thanks to Hotel Danieli, Venice. danielihotelvenice.com

OR TRY THESE...


Advertisement

promo
promo
promo
promo
promo
promo