Pocket Guide: Fortela's Alessandro Squarzi

Style icon Alessandro Squarzi, the founder and designer of menswear brand Fortela, has a passion for Italian tailoring, Japanese textiles and vintage fabrics.
Pocket Guide: Fortela's Alessandro Squarzi
There are few men who grace the digital devices we use for a style fix more inspirational than Alessandro Squarzi. Transcending the roles of menswear designer, entrepreneur, talent scout, style icon and collector of vintage cars, motorcycles and watches, the salt-and-pepper-haired Italian has developed a cult following and has acquired an understanding of the varying modes of dress. Whether he’s sporting bespoke Edward Green and a bespoke Fortela double-breasted jacket and waistcoat made from Vitale Barberis Canonico cloth (pictured), or a Vietnam War utility shirt with white denim jeans and checkered slip-on Vans sneakers, Squarzi consistently does justice to his adaptable style, and pairs it with a friendly smile. Unsurprisingly, this 21st-century fashion-industry polymath is constantly on the move. We shot him when he was staying at the contemporary but grand Blakes Hotel in London for meetings about his two labels: Fortela, a ready-to-wear label inspired by a blend of Italian tailoring and rich Japanese textiles, and AS65, which offers repurposed and military parkas at a high price point. It’s clear that he designs for himself, and as such is a rake ne plus ultra.
The intriguing bandana that peeks out from underneath his Bagutta powder-blue shirt is a 1920s Elephant bandana. So often does he wear one - always with the trunks facing downwards - they’re like “a second skin”.
Approaching a century old, both of Alessandro’s bracelets are of Navajo heritage. The one he is pointing at was a gift on his 40th birthday, and the other is from Santa Fe, made from a 1920s silver dollar coin. 
Like his bracelets, Native American jewellery makes an appearance on his belt. The Concio silver belt buckle is his firm favourite. “My lucky charm,” he says.
Alessandro found this silver ring, which conveniently has ‘A’ and ‘S’ overlapping each other on its front in yellow gold, at the renowned Rose Bowl Flea Market in California. Thought to be from the 1930s, it’s one of many vintage pieces he owns. For reading purposes he sports Moscot’s Lemtosh model. A distinctive frame emanating a downtown-cool aesthetic, the squared-off, round model balances vintage with contemporary. 
Few people can combine formal and casual garments quite as elegantly as Squarzi.
Alessandro is one of the most revered collectors of vintage Omegas, though his Patek Philippe collection is just as enviable. This stainless-steel Nautilus was purchased in Riccione when his daughter Allegra was born.  
“Survival is key,” Alessandro says on the topic of his vintage Hermès wallet, bought more than 20 years ago in Paris. In addition to the usual suspects of cash, cards and identification, he also carries a picture of the Catholic saint Padre Pio.
“Edward Green is by far my favourite shoemaker. I find Italian and French shoes too long,” Alessandro tells me. He wears a bespoke model that’s crafted on Edward Green’s 202 last and that pops with his heavily distressed five-year-old Fortela jeans.
Originally published in Issue 52 of The Rake, June 2017. Click here to subscribe.