Gabriela Billini is a non-native New Yorker who travels the world to understand why people wear what they wear and how. She is an independent fashion reporter, trend chaser, and self-proclaimed beatnik.

Slow Fashion with A1923

Our publisher is a big fan of Simone Cecchetto‘s A1923: an artisanal menswear collection that has had moments in retail outlets such as Barneys, but exists mainly as a cult brand favored by those who love artisanal menswear.

So it was that I found myself in A1923’s Paris atelier, previewing the AW17 collection with the help of sales rep Christina Lynch.

The small, bright cave that doubled as a showroom was a perfect complement to collection. The space insisted on the rugged appeal and destructive features that are A1923.

For the first order of business, Christina informed me on was that all shoes are hand-painted and hand-stitched. Hand-stitched shoes? Yes, please.

Hand-stitched shoes? Yes, please.

The first thing to note is the exotic, and high quality leathers they use. A current go-to is kangaroo skin for both shoes and the outerwear. (Kangaroo, which feels like rubber to the touch, has 10 times the tensile strength of cow, making it both resilient and supple.)

A1923 AW17

The whole manufacturing-to-consumer process is so important to the DNA of the brand. They buy the pelts themselves and treat it to the designer’s liking, making sure that what they’re offering to their clients is up to the expectation of the designer and the clients as well. Boots have a buffalo sole for durability and edge.

Boots have a buffalo sole.

They carry every step of the design process very personally, and are proud of the way they can cater to their clients’ tastes: so much so that the brand is now venturing into a customizable sector in three key areas. The client can select the type of leather, up to three colors to dye, their preferred color sole, and welt. Bringing the customer into the process of the manufacturing process of the shoes they will wear for many years produces a unique and intimate connection that the client will never forget. They are guaranteed to get the quality and design they always expect, with personality infused.

The brand is now venturing into a customizable sector in three key areas.

The same supreme quality and design from footwear carries over to the apparel, with exclusively English and Japanese fabrics used. The brand washes and colors the fabrics themselves, to cater to the color range that it identifies with.

600 gram linens are used, rethinking the fabrics used in a typical Autumn/Winter collection and repurposing them for utility and look. The manipulation of fabric gives it a nice, smooth hand and yields a warm trouser with a hit of metal for closure. The blazers are also made using the 600 gram linen, in MF (hand) stitching.

Exclusively English and Japanese fabrics are used.

One of my favorite features in the collection is the paper and cotton trousers. Oddly enough, you can feel the paper in the stiffness of the hand but naturally the strength comes from the cotton. I imagine they make a warm pair of legs.

The finishings of the garments are brilliantly raw, but not overlooked. Exposed boning, yarns, and seams are left visible, but held down for comfort with the use of transparent tape with sheen. The designer ignores the excess fabrics typically used in lining. He accentuates the beauty and brings attention to the construction of each piece, which is so thoughtfully done with mastery and skill.

Conclusion:

In the times of fast fashion and factories stamping out repeat styles, it’s hard to find a designer who offers such high quality and old production techniques, while many designers looking to make cheap, lower quality goods. This is the brand to shop for someone that is looking for supreme quality design, handwork and passion. This brand is not looking to target the everyday consumer. This one is for those looking for the passion that drives the designer to do their work every day, illustrated in the final product.

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Find A1923 online

With love,

FWO

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