Stories / November 2019

Alessandro Squarzi on How Fortela Will Fortify Your Wardrobe

As The Rake launches Italian workwear label Fortela, we caught up with inimitable founder Alessandro Squarzi to understand what makes the brand tick.

Alessandro Squarzi is such a familiar fixture behind a photographer’s lens, many of us might think we know the man personally; that we have coffee with him, light his cigarettes, or pick the songs for his vintage cars. Whether he is designing, modelling, or sharing his escapades online, there’s no doubt Alessandro is as cool as they come – anticipating years ago much of what we consider to be on trend right now. Those small Western flourishes you’ve been considering for your belt and wrists? Alessandro. Have the urge to tie a neckerchief beneath your linen jacket? You guessed it: Signor Squarzi. Like some sort of trend-setter’s trend-setter, Alessandro’s influence seeps into all corners of this social sartorial tribe. And yet, Alessandro is simply wearing the clothes he loves; designing to suit his own tastes, and picking garments he feels most comfortable in. What’s the secret?

Whatever it is, we can now take cues from Alessandro directly, with the launch of his brand Fortela here on The Rake. Speaking with us about his vision with the Milan-based brand, Alessandro gives us an insight into the type of gent he is designing for, and his adoration for military-inspired shapes and materials. All garments are tailored exclusively in Italy, aside from collaborations with expert Japanese craftsmen. The result, as he puts it, is ‘an array of totally unique fabrics and pieces that you won’t find anywhere else’ – a true original - quite like the man himself.

One of the things Alessandro is keen to discuss is how deeply rooted Fortela is in its Italian heritage. While his personal style includes a fair amount of influence from abroad, ‘our roots are strong’, he says, expressing how ‘ultra-Italian’ his design process is. Each item of clothing is given hours of research. ‘We have always paid attention, especially when it comes to the fabrics’, he confirms, ‘but also with the important details, like how we design the buttons and the quality of our stitching’. The next thing he says is largely unsurprising, considering he is both one of the biggest collectors of vintage clothing, and a man disinterested in fast-fashion: ‘I want to design something you keep for a long, long, time – a sort of evergreen item – not just a throwaway trend!’

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