To Sease is To Exist

Combining the heritage of natural fibres with the contemporaneity of performance wear, new brand SEASE is a force to be reckoned with.
To Sease is To Exist
It's rare that a new menswear brand comes into the market offering something entirely unique that isn't ludicrously avant garde, or worse, an old fashion trope dressed up in marketing garb. Which is why we really had our heads turns when we recently learned about SEASE, an Italian brand that combines three unusual pillars at its core: urban, sailing and skiing. On paper, it sounds at first rather incongruous, but dig a little deeper and it all makes perfect sense. The performance wear aspects of sailing attire and skiwear are easy bedfellows with todays contemporary urbanwear, which demands high quality performance fabrics that are innately stylish while having all the functionality you would expect from sportswear.  The SEASE wardrobe reflects the lifestyle of the contemporary consumer, for whom the city and nature are the two fundamental paths. Founders Franco Loro Piana and his brother Giacomo have put together a menswear concept that is truly unique, bringing together hi-tech fabrications with the inherent knowledge of natural fibres that their surname infers. Tech layers and merino wool soft shells are for more technical garments, while traditional cashmere knitwear is ideal for more casual looks. The Rake recently caught up with Franco to get the low-down on this exciting new brand, available on TheRake.com...

How did the concept for SEASE come about?

When I was living in New York city, I often spent weekends in Montauk. On Fridays I would pack for the weekend, which inspired me to focus on all the essentials, like gear and items for practicing sports in full contact with nature. So the brand was born from the idea of a bag and six items, blending heritage with performance in a very contemporary way. Since then, it has evolved from the idea of minimal kit into a Guardaroba Contemporaneo (literally Contemporary Wardrobe) of versatile items for living in the city and outdoor. Pursuing one’s passions and sharing them with your friends and team allow for an emotional attachment, like with a crew and their uniforms: clothes can convey a sense of belonging, evoke experiences, even almost absorb your emotions. When this happens, their intangible value grows.

What does SEASE mean? On the one hand, SEASE evokes the sea, which is the quintessence of a natural element, capable of unleashing strong passions and emotions. On the other, it suggests “ease”, meaning liberation, relaxation, rediscovering one’s own rhythm and harmony with nature. In SEASE a positive tension is created between adrenaline-fuelled elements and a more rarefied dimension that I think well interprets an emerging contemporary sensitivity. How did it all start? Two years ago, after leaving the family business, I felt the need to express my creative part, to begin a new adventure in the sector I came from, and I understood that the right way to do that would be to draw on my experiences. I focused on myself, on my values, and my passions.
So what does nature mean to you? My beginning was sailing. Starting from a very young age my holidays were on a boat, by the sea where I spent my days sailing offshore, and my nights at the harbour mooring under the stars, docking on otherwise inaccessible islands. Whenever we set sail, I remember this feeling of “casting off” that overcame the whole family, leaving behind the land and all its complications to live in the rarefied spaces and the dilated rhythms of the sea. But having the good fortune to live in Milan, a city that in a radius of 150 kilometres has absolutely everything, from the Alps to the Mediterranean, for me nature means the sea as well as the mountains. Consequently, SEASE reflects this same twofold dimension. How does all this intersect with your new brand SEASE? What we wore on the boat had become so precious at an emotional level that not only those of who were members of the crew but our friends who didn’t go sailing as well wanted to have our sailor jackets or our t-shirts. That was the true spark behind the creation of SEASE: clothes are an extraordinary channel through which to convey a sense of belonging, evoking a strong experience, or absorbing emotions. When this happens, their intangible value grows disproportionately. And this is precisely the fulcrum of identity and the strategy of the SEASE brand.

What lessons that you took away from the Loro Piana family business have helped you the most in building SEASE?

The understanding of a lifestyle brand and strategy - so how to set a clear long-term vision and pursue it. And quality of course: all the knowledge related to a vertical business and the value chain of authentic Made in Italy.

What were the biggest challenges? Understanding my own goals and translating them into a business project where I run my own risks. Of course a startup has its own challenges, which is why a clear vision is key. Having built a new style concept in SEASE, what are you most proud of? I feel quite proud of the fact that SEASE speaks to my most authentic values and passions, also allowing for a community to grow out of a brand ‘with a soul’: a lifestyle and yet tangible brand, incorporating hints from music and the life outdoors. These community feelings also account for SEASE's maturity as a brand, despite its young age. What are your favourite pieces from the current collection? Definitely the Armada in Sunrise, a technical outerwear item – hooded and insulated, that is ideal both for skiing and for urban use. The SEASE Sunrise fabric consists of a blend of wool and bio-based nylon (petrol-free, from castor seeds) resulting in an iridescent and contemporary version of the Solaro fabric, a true icon in menswear elegance. Also the Taylorhood is a strong piece, as it fully incorporates the SEASE vision of a contemporary wardrobe, blending elegance with performance: it is a hooded sweatshirt with a sartorial inspiration. Then, the High Pressure Spray Top, one of SEASE most iconic items that blends the elegance of an out-of-the-ordinary sailing item with codes from the streetwear.
Can you speak about the sustainability angle of SEASE? What sort of fabrics are you using or innovating with and what processes are involved? Our mission is to create value in an ethical and sustainable way, without compromising on the quality, style, nor performances of our garments. SEASE Protocol of Sustainability constantly evolves to embrace sources, materials and processes contributing to the overall reduction of the impact of each item. Being more specific about that, we select suppliers and partners who engage in efficiency programs - in terms of water and energy consumption, renewable sources, conscious waste and CO2 reduction overall. We produce all of our garments and fabrics in Italy, within a few miles from Milan, allowing for a great reduction of CO2 from transportation. Also, one of our key values is to develop technical garments starting from natural fibres: bio-degradable by definition, they require lower chemical treatment and are more friendly on your skin. Wool, for example, is an extraordinary fibre for its genuine thermo-regulatory properties and high performances, ideal for active destinations and harmless for the skin. We tend to use linen and hemp rather than cotton, also, because they require less water and pesticides.  All our synthetic fibres, like polyester and nylon are either recycled, or bio-based. We just launched our first down jacket with high-quality, recycled feather. Sustainability is a continuous commitment in Research and Development, not just a marketing strategy: rather a duty that any entrepreneur has, in order to foster awareness in the community and educate consumers to make conscious choices. What sort of guy is SEASE aimed at? It is difficult to cluster our audience in terms of demographics, such as place and age: we tend more to reflect a lifestyle, and its related values. I would say men who are searching for items to match elegance with performance, especially when they devote time to their outdoor passions. SEASE wardrobe reflects the lifestyle of someone who is constantly on the go, searching for hybrid solutions for commuting – both for business and pleasure, ideally reconnecting with Nature to escape urban pressures. As a consequence, SEASE garments are conceived for both the city and Nature, which is why they can easily switch from contemporary urban-wear into proper essentials for the life spent outdoors. When you're not busy evolving SEASE, how and where do you spend your days? To me, time is the real luxury: I like to devote my free time to the wellbeing of the body, and mind. Starting from a young age my holidays were often on a boat, by the sea, which is why I love most water sports. I like practicing sailing and surfing, as much as skiing. Travelling is a way to pursue one’s passions through adventures; experiences grow one’s interests as much as they allow to unplug. Why do you think there’s a need for a brand like SEASE right now? Because emotions, values, and passions play an evermore important role in making objects or products desirable. If you go surfing and have your board hanging in your bedroom, it continues to transmit positive vibrations even when you’re no longer in the water. A SEASE spray top, in the same way as a SEASE trench, is conceived specifically to be inserted within this dynamic, to always feel one’s passions directly, adding that wholly Italian sensibility that manages to express elegance and style ininformality too. Apart from being the place for one’s own passions, nature is a heritage to be preserved... People who go to the mountains with furs, run marathons, go sailing, are conscious of their uniqueness and value. For a brand like SEASE, drawing inspiration from a lifestyle linked to nature, creating products that have the smallest environmental impact is an important commitment, but also a necessary consequence.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP THE RAKE'S CURATION OF SEASE AW19