While Italy may be known all over the world for its proficiency towards slow fashion and craftsmanship, only lately what has been defined as the craftiness of mind and hand has emerged as one of the season's more poignant trends.
While this has only emerged recently on the runways, through the Spring Summer 2020 collections of McQueen, JW Anderson and Marine Serre, some other independent brands have turned this into their signature style and offering.
One of these is Alanui, the brand founded in 2016 by Vogue Japan fashion editor Carlotta Oddi and her brother Nicolò.
Created as a single-product brand that offered only the iconic oversized unisex cardigan in 100% jacquard cashmere, over time Carlotta tried to consider the cardigan as a whiteboard on which she could experiment new techniques, stitches and yarns.
"I've always been a passionate traveller, and as truth be told, the key element from which the creation of the brand started is the concept of travel. Even the name of the brand takes inspiration from this concept: Alanui in Hawaiian means 'great path'," explains Carlotta.
The first piece Carlotta made was an oversized cashmere cardigan inspired by American iconography and a trip to New Mexico and, since then, she has travelled across the world and cultures, trying to expand Alanui's journey. From the hypnotic light games of the Aurora Borealis and the polar territories, to a road trip in the American Golden State and the Amazon rainforest, Oddi is inspired by every new path and possibility of personal evolution and is trying to convey those experiences and feelings in the collections.
Since 2016 the duo has collaborated with several like-minded brands such as Greg Lauren, Superga and Suicoke and lastly, Peanuts, which have helped them understand how to grow professionally as a brand.
This past February, the duo presented their ready-to-wear collection inspired by the intergalactic world that is the universe itself. Knitted yarns were given a bright flare as they were decorated by sequins, while tie-dye techniques were also used for a 'nebula effect'.
Although the brand has been successfully racking up a following since its inception, it too is facing the effects of COVID.
"I am trying to deal with this tragic pandemic by wondering what is happening and the possible consequences of it," states Carlotta. "This terrible virus reminded us of the transience of life and how connected and interdependent the whole world is. It has taught us how weak and defenceless human nature is in the face of danger and how fundamental it is to develop a sense of responsibility, solidarity and respect for others. To date, I think any prediction is premature in the absence of certainties formulated by doctors and scientists. However, I believe it will take some time before we see a resurgence in consumption."