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After honing his craft under Carlo Rivetti and Paul Harvey at Stone Island, and immersing himself in the Massimo Osti archive at CP Company, Leonardo Fasolo launched NEMEN in 2012. As the forward-thinking, backward-leaning Italian-made technical design brand approaches its tenth anniversary, NEMEN has always been, and will always be, driven by research, functional constructions, attention to details, and innovations.
All of its exclusive fabrics are woven from yarns, tested, finished and finally cut and tailored, while its unique taste of dyes and special finishes all speak of its passion, tradition and craftsmanship. Each garment is the result of countless dyeing tests in combination with fabric experimentation, strict quality control and continuous research on innovative fabrics. Each and every item pushes possibilities in the making of artisanal treatments on technical garments. It is not only pure experimentation but the evolution of textile traditions that strives to find new expressions.
To celebrate NEMEN launching at LN-CC we invited London-based fashion and portrait photographer Ellis Scott to shoot key pieces in Hackney Marshes, before sitting down with NEMEN’s own Leo Fasaola and Peter Dahlgren to uncover its past, present and future.
As NEMEN is a new arrival to LN-CC, could you introduce yourself and NEMEN?
NEMEN is an Italian based brand, which is essentially equal parts forward thinking and backward leaning. Forever trying to find new expressions through garment research while retaining the craft and heritage of Italy’s textile traditions and bringing them into the future.
Are we right in saying that NEMEN is a family business that has only recently added non-family members to the team? What would you say is the secret to working with family?
Yes, it started off as a purely family driven company and has now slowly expanded to include a few other members. The brand itself has now become a kind of family where we all work towards a common goal in that same family spirit. The secret is more about finding people that are very dedicated and do it with passion.
As the collection launches at LN-CC, what was the vision and driving force behind AW21?
The global pandemic obviously affected so much and our SS21 collection was scaled down a lot simply out of necessity. So AW21 in many ways felt a bit like a return to form. Presenting our biggest collection to date with some brand new dyeing techniques we basically wanted to make some noise, which we feel this collection definitely has.
Now, NEMEN is known for its dye-work, which you continually push each season. Here, you've experimented with the creative process of discharged-dyeing, which instead of adding colour to the garment, extracts it in a post-dyeing instance. The extraction of colour results in a beautifully executed degrade. Could you talk us through the how, what and why of this process?
As you write, discharged dyeing is somewhat of the opposite of what we usually do. We’re often dyeing and over-dyeing to achieve our results, so it became a natural development to see what could be achieved with the extraction of color instead. The aesthetic became a feeling of something familiar yet unknown. Giving looks that aren’t that easy to decipher in how they were achieved, which is also something we strive for within NEMEN.
What other seasonal developments excite you?
For every season we’re also trying to think bigger, beyond making a few strong jackets, we want the collection to feel strong as a whole, with lots of styling possibilities being able to cross pollinate between categories.
Beyond the product, what do you hope people take away from this season?
It’s about experience really. With the world becoming ever more digital, and on the levels that we operate, the tactile is such a big part of truly understanding what we do. The pieces speak a lot for themselves and once people have the chance to experience one of our garments a lot of things tend to fall into place. Plus once those boundaries of perception and quality have been pushed, it’s hard to go back.
Finally, what excites you most about tomorrow?
NEMEN is turning 10 next year and we have a lot of very exciting things in the works right now that we really can’t wait to show everyone!
Photography Ellis Scott, @ellisscottphoto
Model Hassan Ira,
Hair and make-up Machiko Yano, @machiko_yano