East, West, and Vintage
A special project brought to you by Fortela and Manready Mercantile
Two people from vastly different walks of life have come together to create something special. Travis Weaver of Manready Mercantile grew up in Zephyr, a small town in middle-of-nowhere Texas. Alessandro Squarzi of Fortela hails from Milan, Italy, a large metropolitan hub of culture and fashion. These backgrounds might be considered polar opposites, yet their influences bring Travis and Alessandro to a passionate, mutual interest – a love for all things vintage.
Travis and Alessandro first crossed paths in New York at Liberty Fairs, a fashion, and lifestyle tradeshow in early 2014 through like-minded friends. Overcoming an Italian-English language barrier, they quickly picked up on one another’s eye for vintage accessories and started trading pieces right off their bodies. During the next few fashion cycles, they began skipping out on the shows early to go “picking” at flea markets. This new friendship spurred an idea.
Travis pulled vintage textiles from his private stash: canvas U.S. mail bags, Japanese boro, U.S. military tarps, and African mud cloth, and Alessandro deconstructed the pieces to create one-of-a-kind waistcoats. Despite years of notoriety for his style and clothing design, this unique concept was a first for Alessandro. The two broke into new territory for their brands.
Alessandro and his team at Fortela meticulously completed the garments, just in time for the July 2016 Liberty Fairs – bringing the partnership full circle. At the unveiling, Ashley Owens of Grandpa Style and Suited Magazine purchased the very first one, confirming the duo’s efforts to create something groundbreaking. The project was officially in motion around the world.
The Manready team hustled back to Houston to arrange a lifestyle shoot with friends and brands including Poglia, Sweet Trade, M. Cohen, New Union, Jyumoku, and Fortune Goods – pulling together the finishing touches of a project two years in the making. The complete look includes original U.S. military OG-107 trousers from the Vietnam war era, 1940’s Mexican biker rings, shoes from The Hill-Side, military inspired A-3 hats by Knickerbocker MFG Co., vintage bandanas, and the iconic Japanese farmer’s rope, a braid of indigo and silk traditionally worn around the neck.
This collaboration tests geographic and social boundaries: a collision of languages, cultures, a collision of mediums, new and old. When folks from wildly different walks of life come together to create, the result can be unifying, flirting with perfection. This collaboration is proof.
Official launch date of the Fortela x Manready Mercantile project is September 3, 2016, @ 12 noon CST. Available at Manready Mercantile in Houston, Texas and online at www.manready.com