In June this year, Milan’s Menswear (Moda Uomo) will be rolling out an exciting runway across this stylish and classical European city. Designers from all over the world will be showing their menswear collections for Spring and Summer 12/13. As we all know, the northern and southern hemisphere always work 6 months apart. And boy is the southern hemisphere jealous of not being able to get their hands on the collections up north until later…much later.
February 2012, previewed Moda Uomo for Men’s Autumn Winter, or Fall Winter collections of some of the biggest fashion houses in the world. Just take a look at the following list, and you’ll be asking yourself why you were not there.
Corneliani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Costume National Homme, Dolce & Gabbana, Jil Sander, Frankie Morello, Burberry Prorsum, John Varvatos, Neil Barrett, Roberto Cavalli, Bottega Veneta, Emporio Armani, Ermanno Scervino, Salvatore Ferragamo, Pringles of Scotland, Vivienne Westwood, Missoni, Trussardi, Prada, Moncler Gamme Bleu, Calvin Klein, Dirk Bikkembergs, Iceberg, John Richmnd, Gucci, Etro, Z Zegna, Canali, Gazzarrini, Moschino, Nicole Farhi, Versace, DSquared2, Giorgio Armani, Diesel Black Gold, Ports 1961, Enrico Coveri, Roccobarocco, Valextra, Ballantyne, Marni, Jimmy Choo, Sergio Rossi, Bally, Fendi, Zagliani, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs Men, Woolrich, Brioni.
As you can seen, an incredible line up and one that isn’t seen in any other Men’s Fashion Week. Nope, not New York or Paris. Why? Well, who are the best dressed men in the world? Well, they are Italians. From the mafia to the business man (um, aren’t they the same thing?) all men in Italy look rich, wealthy, sophisticated and mean business. With a smile of course. Family means everything to them, heritage and looks. Blood line and strength. And with the history that Italy has, there is a sense of pride to carry on the tradition. Whatever that means to each individual.
The above design list, shows many Italian designers – and although we are going to highlight Neil Barrett deservingly in this post, you will see his products are made in Italy. Why? Because they are the best tailors in the world. He was also from a long line of tailors and worked in some of the best Italian design houses prior to commencing his own fashion line. Cheers!
Neil Barrett has been designing fashion apparel for over twenty years. Both his grandfather and great-granfather were master tailors and Neil’s passion for tailoring began at an early age.
Having graduated from the Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London, the designer began his career in the most institutional manner: growing up for ten years with Gucci and Prada, companies where he acquired a deep knowledge of the luxury fashion market and its dynamic, especially with regards to menswear.
In 1999 he decided to go out on his own and launched his own menswear brand, Neil Barrett, obtaining immediate press attention and praise from buyers. After just one year, he opened his first flagship store in Tokyo. His first men’s fashion show for the Milan Fashion Week was in 2002. In 2003 he was appointed creative director of Puma Sports Collections, an agreement that would see him, among other achievements, be the first fashion designer to create an “on pitch” kit for a football team. He went on to design the Italian National team’s kit that they wore for the 2006 World Cup.
Neil witnessed Italy win the title in Berlin with 20.000 fans wearing his kit.
Through the strength of his style, with constant thoughtful innovation and by making successful strategic choices the Neil Barrett brand continued to keep growing whilst many other similar companies were affected by the changes in the fashion market. In the first decade of millennium it was evidently a time for large luxury brand corporations many designers were taken over by large conglomerates. However, Neil Barrett remained focused with his vision, step by step, goal after goal. Turnover figures are now consolidated, as the market expands. In Asia the brand is particularly successful and has a strong presence in Japan and Korea as well as enjoying incredible growth in China, which has become the #1 country worldwide, overtaking Italy for Spring Summer 2013.
2009 was a time for choices: rather than investing in new flagship stores, the decision was to strengthen the very heart of the brand, its production division, based in Italy. In Fucecchio, near Florence, the fashion designer founded with other business partners, “Factory” which coordinates manufactures from over 27artisan producers for the brand, reuniting a force of great craftsmen with over 50 employees, efficiently implementing all production, distribution and delivery.
By then, 85% of the collection was, actually, Made in Italy. Moreover, the decision to reinvest in the company also coincided with continued believe in focusing on fabrics suppliers, new technologies and artisan producers in Italy.
2011 began with the strengthening of distribution: a deal with Chinese giant Joyce resulted in a Neil Barrett boutique being opened in the Landmark building, Hong Kong in July. In June Neil Barrett signed a distribution agreement with LG in Korea: 4 boutiques have since opened and 5th monobrand store will open in Spring 2012. Neil continues his partnership with architect star Zaha Hadid who will design all of Neil Barrett’s new stores.
Since 2004 international trendsetters began turning to Neil Barrett for their wardrobe needs: Orlando Bloom, Colin Firth, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lenny Kravitz, Ewan McGregor, Chris Martin and Mark Ruffalo just to name a few. Neil was especially proud when Brad Pitt chose to wear Neil Barrett for his change in image with “Mr And Mrs Smith”, becoming the first celebrity to wear one of the “hand aged” leather jackets that have since become signature pieces in the Neil Barrett collections. Neil has also provided over the years wardrobes for big movie productions including Spiderman 2 and 3, I-Robot and Ghostrider.