With the announcement last month on the impeding untimely death of Daffy’s, there’s been a lot of talk about the loss of the discount retailer and it’s random inexplicable deals. Shopping at Daffy’s was far from enjoyable, it was an insultingly ugly and poorly laid out store that was constantly ransacked, but it still always drew me in thanks to the consistent stream of rumors about (insert illustrious Italian brand here) being available for dirt cheap. Overtime I heard stories of Cucinelli, Isaia, and Zegna all being sold for below cost at Daffy’s, but every time I’d go there, all I ever found was a bunch of shoddy products from brands I’d never heard of.
Yet, Daffy’s did have one “true deal” that you could always count on if you were willing to ween through a sea of garbage, and that was Incotex pants. Daffy’s sold the Italian brand’s slim-fitting pants in a bevy of colors for well below what they were worth and when it comes down to it that’s probably the only real reason to mourn Daffy’s. While you can now pick up Incotex at Mr. Porter, Barney’s, and the ilk, there was obviously something appealing in getting an incredibly well-made, tailored trouser for next to nothing. Nonetheless, I’m sure Incotex will get picked up somewhere else and they’ll find a way to offer it for just as cheap (looking at you, Yoox) and then everyone will slowly forget Daffy’s even existed. While I never ended up buying anything at Daffy’s I still owe it to them for creating buzz around Incotex, not because I wear their pants often (full disclosure, I’ve never owned a pair, although my dad swears by them) but because they turned me onto Slowear.
Slowear could be considered Incotex’s “parent company” although that’s probably not the best term for them. Slowear is an Italian based company that produces pants branded as Incotex, knitwear branded as Zanone, shirts branded Glanshirt, and jackets as Montedoro. Now why they decided to have every facet of their line be a different “brand” I’ll never understand, especially because Slowear is such a great name on it’s own, but when you put all these products together you have what I believe is the next “big” Italian label. Slowear was founded in 1951, producing private label trousers for other brands, but in the seventies they decided to go out on their own, starting Incotex with the philosophy of creating simple contemporary pants that were remembered for their fit and attention to detail, not for branding. In the early aughts they applied this system to the rest of their “brands” creating a larger company that wasn’t just about pants but a complete wardrobe.
To me Slowear sits in a similar position as Cucinelli or Loro Piana in that they’re an Italian brand that’s trying to be about the entire package not just individual pieces. Much like Cucinelli, Slowear has a relaxed sensibility to them, the colors are all a bit earthy and the garments have a comfortable, broken in feel to them. While I doubt Slowear’s production is as meticulous as Cucinelli’s (therefore the prices are significantly lower) they are all still Italian made (except for Incotex, which I believe is partially made in Spain and partially made in Romania.) What’s most fascinating to me about Slowear though, is not that they’ve built up this entire attitude without having many solid accounts here in America, it’s that when you look at their website, you can’t help but wonder what they’re waiting for. Their look-books seem like an Italian version of a J. Crew catalog, they have a journal that covers everything from green living to food in Beirut, their products express that clean look that has come to define Italian design, but where are they expanding is slow and a bit perplexing having just opened up a store in the unlikely market of Mexico City. Slowear is about totality, it’s a packaged lifestyle that is refreshingly forward-thinking, the only thing to do now is wait for them to really hit the states.