I’d be lying if I were to proclaim I’ve been aware of Slowear for some time, for which I am slightly ashamed, as it encapsulates everything a menswear label should be and everything I admire. The family-owned Venetian brand is a leading example of a brand entirely devoted to craft and material with a contemporary cut. It’s abject of trends and fads and devoid of consumer patterns. It’s forward-thinking and innovation resides at its forefront, yet the brand is steeped in heritage which surpasses most of its competitors. This amalgamation of honest qualities is incomparable to a lot of other brands, and largely sets the metropolitan lifestyle brand outside the menswear-saturated pack.
For clarity and for those unaware like I once was, Slowear is the umbrella to a handful of craft-orientated labels that came together in 2003, yet the company started out with Incotex in 1951. Founded by Carlo Compagno, Incotex is lauded for producing ‘the best trousers in the world’ (and for inventing the chino, I’m told), and to be honest that profound moniker isn't far off the mark. Offering casual and formal trousers in a range of fits, the touch and design specifications make it all the more believable as the brand is heavily inspired by traditional men’s tailoring. For instance, the ‘blue loop’ is a clever addition which holds the belt’s tongue in place, and thus secures your belt and buckle. On the inside of the waistband there is a ‘shirt blocker’ — thin rows of rubber — which stop one’s shirt from riding up and out. Although in some circumstances Incotex trousers are seen as a casual trouser, it is still a sartorial garment, emphasised by the back’s V-split. An attractive detail which, aside from its aesthetic appeal, ensures maximum comfort — a tailor’s mark, if you like.
Today the company is run by Carlo’s two sons, Roberto and Marzio, and following their acquisitions of Montedoro, Zanone and Glanshirt — all of which they wore with Incotex growing up — in 2003, Slowear was officially born. The brand’s first syllable ‘Slow’ is a nod to the design approach that transcends all of the brands underneath its umbrella. Slowear takes time in perfecting fit, fabric and finish and aside from the construction, the ethos also filters through its retail service (which I will come onto later).
One of the three acquired brands in 2003 was Montedoro, a functional outerwear and accessories label originally founded in 1958 that provides the outer shell of the company with strong emphasis on quality and construction. It offers lightweight, functional and contemporary clothing from Harrington jackets and pea coats to technical and houndstooth wool-blend blazers. It’s all made with the modern, city-dweller man in mind, fabric and innovation truly underpin the brand, for which Zanone is the standout.