Pitti Uomo 2022: Matter, Material and Men’s Style

Pitti Uomo 2022: Matter, Material and Men’s Style

The summer 2022 edition of the world’s largest menswear fair in Florence puts sustainability and gender bending on top of the fashion agenda

The world’s largest menswear and men’s accessories fair, Pitti Uomo, known as the ultimate reference point in men’s tailoring, trends, hottest new accessories, turn-of-the season ideas and innovative movements in retail, packaging and selling, wrapped up its summer 2022 edition on June 17. Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Italy, the long-time home of the fair buzzed with almost 640 exhibitors. Several specials of the three-day event included a showcase by a select bunch of Ukrainian fashion designers and a large exhibit area by Ecoalf the Spanish sustainable design label that has positioned itself as a leader in “upcycling oceans”. Another interesting section was the Scandinavian Manifesto, a showcase of fashion designers from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. There were several others.

This was Pitti Uomo’s 102nd edition and continuing its pre-pandemic segregations (an exception had been made last year to combine Pitti Bambi and Pitti Filati, fairs for kidswear and yarn), it was divided into four theme areas. Fantastic Classic was devoted to high fashion brands. Futuro Maschile focused on fashion-forward menswear. Dynamic Attitude revolved around outerwear and sportswear and Superstyling laid emphasis on new styles for men’s wardrobes.


Moments captured at Pitti Uomo
Pitti Uomo

Sustainable Style continued as a special section following its introduction in January 2022 offering large exhibition spaces to eco-friendly labels and designers from across the world. While trade papers quoted Rafaello Napoleano, the CEO of Pitti Imagine, estimating that attendee numbers once calculated and reconciled could add up to as many as 11,000 with more than 40 per cent buyers from outside Italy, there was little doubt that the trade fair showed signs of business picking up.

Here are some notes from the fair.

Sustainability is Gender Fluid

Repairing, sustenance, mending, saving, salvaging and sewing ruptured worlds together may have once been a feminine skill and need. But that’s firmly in the past. The sustainable instinct is now gender agnostic. From Salone del Mobile in Milan, the world’s largest furniture fair, to Pitti Uomo in Florence, the world’s largest menswear fair, the clarion call is for sustainable fibres, ideas, materials, design and a humanistic, sensitive world, that cares equally for people and planet. It may, however, take a while for discerning consumers, fashion ethics bodies, consumer rights agencies or the “green press”, as a section of the media may well be called in the near future, to wade through greenwashing claims and find the genuine players.

But there is no arguing with the fact that a large number of fashion brands are spending time, energy and money towards converting themselves to environmental nurturance and sustainability commitment to add value. Billboards about climate consciousness at Pitti Uomo were large, the campaigns most emphatic, the drum rolls loud. While Ecoalf made a powerful and persuasive statement with its Ocean Recycling project through men’s and women’s products, others that stood tall were brands like England’s Baracuta as well as Save The Duck by Nicolas Bargi. The latter positions itself as 100 per cent animal free and stands strongly against cruelty to animals.


Billboards about climate consciousness at Pitti Uomo were large, the campaigns most emphatic, the drum rolls loud.

Across the fair, there were shoes that promised to correct the wearer’s carbon trail and soles recycled from waste. PET reuse has spawned news-making design projects across the world seeping right down to fashion and design colleges and competitions. Bolognese designer Fillipo Rubini, who along with his twin brother Alberto, runs the packaging brand Eco Shopper, told TVOF that he sources waste for bags and packaging materials from different parts of the world including from India, thus offering his customers culturally relevant ideas in reusing materials.

While all climate conscious statements are shrill and sharp, how soon the fashion world converts to these promises is to be seen. Even a mildly sensitive consumer or creator knows that there are conflicts and contradictions everywhere. A stark one is the Florentine leather market that expresses its vigour and variety in big and small leather goods stores across the city. From flea market setups to luxury boutiques—all offer ‘pure leather’ merchandise. Many Florentine shops, in fact, reek of dyed and treated animal hide. The home of Italian leather is ironically also the address for climate change campaigns and animal-free projects staged at Pitti Uomo. A series of such antitheses are the daily reality of fashion production, supply chain challenges, retail and modern relevance.

It is high time for resolutions. Conflict resolutions that is, not New Year promises to turn a new leaf.


Knitwear on display at Pitti Uomo

Textures of Tomorrow: Knits, Lace, Jacquard

“The future belongs to knits,” said a buyer from Spain at Pitti Uomo. Quite apt. Knits for men in nylon and synthetic yarn, in pure wool and silk blends, for warm clothes and summer shirts, for shoes and bags even, were among the most visible, top trends revealing how the male wardrobe will look in 2023. If knitted garments (exactly like in womenswear) are defining the future of retail, menswear is also increasingly about thick textures and fabrics with details earlier associated with women’s wardrobes. This is a curious and commercially viable crossover of fabric between genders. For instance, at the brand Ampère from Amsterdam there were crochet-style shirts, pretty little vests, jacquard kimonos and eyelet shirts—all machine made in China. Elsewhere, there were nylon knits for outerwear that promise to wash without fuss and add body and shine with each wear and wash.

On the other hand, Knitbrary from Spain founded by Pedro Castellanos, makes artisanal handmade knits woven in Peru with wool blends for luxurious soft knits including stoles for men. British designer Maxime Fruit of Maxime who showed at the Sustainable Style section showed trousers and a jacket stylishly appliqued with wasted lace. Almudena Espinosa of the label Guanabana showcased knitted bags. Clothes made from waste or new, innovative knit and jacquard patterns—the future of fabrics is tactile, textural, full of thick and thin knits.



Designer Dhruv Kapoor’s exhibit at Pitti Uomo

India’s Dhruv Kapoor

While the Sustainable Style section, part of Pitti Uomo specials, had 10 designers from different parts of the world, including Philip Huang from Thailand (known for merging indigenous Thai techniques with modern fashion) and the well-known Waste Yarn Project, it was a delight to find India’s Dhruv Kapoor’s thoughtfully upcycled, recycled and very stylish collection at the fair. An easy, refined style defines Kapoor’s work and why he matters in markets outside India. Kapoor, who is presenting a show as part of the main calendar for the Spring Summer 2023 men’s Milan Fashion Week on Sunday (June 19), shouldn’t just be applauded because he is an Indian showing in Italy at exhibitions or digital presentations for the last four years. The designer deserves a mention because he can interpret global gender agnostic aesthetics in materials that matter to different markets. His embellishments are subtle, the tailoring, evolved.


Shades of green at Pitti Uomo

Green, the Colour of the Year

Surprisingly, or perhaps not, green is among the top colour trends for menswear. Extending from womenswear prêt and couture for Spring Summer 2022, green which lights up shop windows across Milan and other fashion capitals of the world has seeped into menswear in a charming sort of way. Deep green Italian leather shoes, wallets, socks, watch straps, watch dials and neckties may have been persistent in fashion-retail markets for years but we are talking of a different shade card and its unmistakable presence across men’s fashion—T-shirts, formal shirts, trousers, chinos, sweaters, sneakers, even tailored jackets and bags. An array of green hues now determines the fashionable man’s tastes and wardrobe. At Pitti Uomo, it was hard to pass by a brand booth without spotting some shade of bright green or vividly and strikingly imagined in argyle checks of solid renditions. Considering that green (as a metaphor) is the most currently used phrase in conversation and campaigning for the global fashion industry, it is about time we wore it on our sleeves.


Banner (L-R): Menswear designs on display; a campaign message by Ecoalf; style snapshots from Pitti Uomo.