Swedish brand Eton of Sweden, maker of some of the finest shirts in the world, and Italian Eidos Napoli, one of the most exciting new brand on the market, have announced their collaboration and exclusive collection which is available in Eton’s flagship stores in New York, Stockholm and most recently London from 10th October 2014.
It was my great pleasure to ask Creative Director of Eidos - Antonio Ciongoli (left) and the Creative Director of Eton - Sebastian Dollinger (right) few questions during the one-on-one interview at Eton’s store in London, discuss their latest collaboration and style of London guys.
Eton of Sweden is a brand founded in 1928 by Annie and David Pettersson in small Swedish town Ganghester. Their dedication to high quality and attention to details turn Eton into one of the leaders in shirtmaking.
Eidos Napoli was launched by ISAIA Corp in 2013 as a stand alone brand. Led by very talented Designer - Antonio Ciongoli - Eidos offers garments produced in Italy of full canvass construction influenced by Neapolitan tailoring and approached in a more casual way.
Mikolaj Pawelczak (Blue Loafers): I will start with an obvious question. Because you’re also launching your collection here in London, what do you guys think about London guys and their style? Did your opinion influenced your Eton and Eidos collection in any way?
Sebastian Dollinger (Eton of Sweden): (looking at Antonio) Maybe its hard for you to answer this question
Antonio Ciongoli (Eidos Napoli): Yeah it’s my first time, walking around a little bit. It looked as I imagined it, you know. I was a designer at Ralph Lauren for a long time and there’s a lot of emphasis put on English style and so you have an idea on the way guys dress, a little bit. So I was not surprised walking around yesterday by the kind of things that I saw. I think it’s wonderful, particularly the fabrics. I mean it is very different from what I do, from a silhouette perspective but I love the fabrics and you can not appreciate this kind of idea of a suit armour - very structured or something with very structured shoulder. It almost make you sit up right a little bit and we try to ‘slash’ you a little bit (laughing). We try to make you relax a bit more but it’s impossible not to appreciate it. For me and one of the things that I really like about introducing the collection like this in London is that it is a little bit a point of difference. From a tailoring perspective for sure, what we do, because so much of the way tailoring is perceived in this city, is something that makes you straightened up a little bit and something that is a little bit stiff and rigid. We are something that says ‘why don’t you just take a second, have a cigarette, have a coffee, calm down’, right? Something that is a little bit more casual..
Sebastian: .. And look as good but is less weight.
Antonio: Exactly. So I think that’s really nice. I think it is really nice to offer a little point of difference and obviously we are not the only one doing it. For example Thom Sweeney, I think that is great that he kind of softened the English tailoring a bit..
Sebastian: I think there are two main styles as I see England. I see England as either extremely professional, you got the professional guys and girls that need to wear suit for work, wear black shoes and ‘suit-armour’ for work, right? Then as English society or British society, there’s a lot of characters. There are lots of people wearing what they like, especially the guys. They are not so devoted to trends, they are much more into developing their personal, own style. And that’s why I always felt home about UK because I am a suit guy but I do love what I do for living. It’s my interest, it intrigues me to be a nerd with textiles. I’ve always felt there are lots of dressy people here. I also had a store on Threadneedle St just by the Bank for 6 months, just finished working for Harrods, and I saw what the guys were wearing, they were people on extreme high income but they have only been wearing these suits for work, you know. ‘I will only wear it for work and I do not care about it’. That were really decent looking suits but they were completely worn out on the inside. And I was in shock, these people earning £150-200k a year and do not care about the suits at their workplace. But then again there’s tons of people here that appreciate tailoring, they do not have to wear it for work or wear it at all but they do like wearing it because this is their individual style. That’s key for both Eton and Eidos collection that we both want to take the guys that simply have to wear it for work and give them an opportunity to be comfortable in it, enjoying it, while still fitting into the crowd without being too extravagant in their field. But also getting the mid section of the people that only wants to have innovation in traditional items and that’s when we come into play. We really want to give people more relaxed feel but still with the same sharp look. Working on lapel for example or construction of shirts and collars and heights, quality of fabrics and have innovation in the field where there’s not really much innovation. I think that’s desperately needed. Sometimes we both feel a little bit lonely on this side of the mason because there is so much tradition always putting only the same blue, blue, blue. Blue is nice but you can do it in so many nice ways, look at that for example, that’s exciting (pointing at the jacket from the collection) in a blue jacket, it would be exciting as a blue suit but there is actually so many other blue suits, many people knocking them out, that they are kind of killing people’s view on tailoring. Tailoring should be fun, maybe shouldn’t be overtly played with too many things but if you simply give new hints of details which really sparks interest in guys minds, they can feel that they can individually adapt in tailoring clothing their own personalities. And this is why a collaboration like this is important because we don’t want people to go into the store and buy like ‘I want everything on that wall, everything on that mannequin etc’. We think you should really go out there and ask yourself ‘who does the best ties? Who does the best shirt? Who does coat, shoes?’ - mix and match. I think that is healthy consumer, you know, buying from specialists, buying from people that know what they are doing and then it doesn’t have to be boring. I think that is a really well set up for both of these London type of guys and especially a lot of younger people that start their love for tailoring. London man is definitely an important guy on my ‘wall’ when I make things.
Mikolaj: You touched at least few important topics that I would ask you more questions about. I will start with your collaboration. What do you guys both bring into this and what Eton is giving to Eidos and vice versa?
Sebastian: Well, it is actually very evident in our stores. The collaboration gives us the ability to show how we like Eton to be worn, the opportunity to show our customer how to look and how to dress and make it available for him as well. Here it is. You can look at it Eton way just by coming to our store and have any other item, not only Eton. It helps us on a scale of showing the world what we just talked about - this is the way we want our brand to be perceived. It kind of proves it and shows it. This is what we really believe in. We believe in specialists, traditional but detailed tailoring and I think it is like a putting your words where your mouth is. We’ve always been talking about the love for what we do and believing in what we do and traditional stuff that is still fun. It just gives us that visual help that we always need, you know. That is what Eidos does for us. It comes with a fresh feeling, with a sort of great playful mind on things that are generally considered as classic, here they are in the least classic way possible. Still incredibly crisp and cool in a shear essence of the word. So, it gives a lot to us. That wasn’t why we did it. We started doing it because we like each other and we appreciate what we do, but that is what Eidos has given us and it’s been really cool.
Antonio: Yeah, I mean on the opposite side of the same coin it is almost a stamp of validation for us. If you think about it, Eton has got such a broad reach of consumer and we are fairly new, we’ve been doing it for almost 2 years. So for us it is the Eton guy, what is the guy like, what jacket does he wear, what suit does he wear. These guys are saying that Eton guy wants the Eidos so for us it is kind of stamp of validation and showing that guy, who is so well established already, showing the kind of shirt he’s wearing - this is the kind of jacket he should be wearing or sweater or coat. It’s been tremendous for us from, kind of, brand awareness perspective, trumpeting this is the kind of tailoring that we believe in and we appreciate it.
Mikolaj: We’ve talked about the customer and the guy you want to buy your clothes. How do you think the current trend on menswear, especially on the internet, influences your brands?
Antonio: I think it’s great. It allows brands like mine, which are younger, to exists basically.
Sebastian: I was just thinking the same thing. It allows brands like this to exist!
Antonio: Yeah, because when you think about, I am not saying the only one doing it at all (internet), but if you think about us before the blogs and the internet, the only product that was marketed towards younger consumer has been very driven by fashion. It is very topical, very superficial. It’s all about what it looks like and it needs to photograph really well so in order to photograph everything needs to be exaggerated. Jacket needs to be way to short, the lapel needs to be way to skinny. All of these things, it doesn’t matter what the quality is like. It gives a major fashion publication something new to talk about for one month and then they can flip it the next month and talk about something different so that they can sell some magazines. With the introduction of blogs, which are largely written by people who are unpaid, just passionate about it, they care more about it and they can write about things that are approached from more thoughtful and passionate perspective. That is a huge component of why we started Eidos - the idea that I as a younger guy, interested in tailored clothing and interested in the process, I am an complete nerd about the product, wanted there to be an option for someone that didn’t want something disposable, who wanted something that did not have a shelf life but at the same time was interesting and cool, right? Something that I was not going to spend a bunch of money at and throw it out the next season. I actually want something that you can give to your kids, find in a vintage store.
The main part of the interview can be found on my blog here: