Tonie Ong

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The fashion industry has seen its fair share of trends, especially during the 20th century when the world as a whole witnessed many revolutions. The idea of fashion as an industry itself began with haute couture, a tradition of craft and commerce that is still alive to this day. However, the image of couture and fashion, in general, has dramatically changed. Fashion used to focus on extremely elegant and well-tailored clothing, but now, casual and comfortable clothing is the new norm. Upon the introduction ready-to-wear, streetwise clothing took over the industry, becoming one of the most lucrative ventures in the fashion industry. From such came the success of Incotex.

How the Brand was Established

Part of the parent company, Slowear, Incotex was founded by Carlo Compagno in 1951. They started operating in the Veneto region, far from the hustle and bustles of the country’s major cities. Compagno emphasized that the are where he started the company represents the brand’s ethos—slow-paced and full of quality. They started out as military uniform manufacturers, making breathable yet tailored garments for soldiers. During this time, the company was innovating various garments, creating new features that would come to define casual fashion. Also around this time, the concept of ready-to-wear fashion had been introduced, making their pathway to becoming a luxury brand that much easier.

The company was inherited by Comagno’s son Roberto, who initiated the label’s venture more into the mainstream. Soon, the company was known in other parts of Italy, gaining the attention of the fashion crowd in cities like Milan and Rome. In 2003, Roberto established Slowear, a group of companies in which Incotex was still a part of. When the other three labels rose to prominence, Incotex focused on a certain garment, chinos. Through the years, the label innovated and worked on the classic bottoms, cutting it in different silhouettes, offering it in different colors, and many more. It has become the brand’s foremost piece and their best-selling product to date.

What They Stand For

As part of Slowear, Incotex is devoted to creating pieces that are made slowly and crafted carefully. The company retained its tradition of tailoring their items, a practice the brand was founded on. During the latter half of the 20th century, when haute couture still reigned supreme in the industry, but ready-to-wear was slowly emerging, the brand was one of many that offered high-profile clients quality garments for their everyday lives. Even though they’re casual pieces, they’re made with the finest attention to detail and the best craftsmanship Italy is known for.

By the 1980’s up until today, a new breed of brands and labels infiltrated the industry: fast fashion. The lowest category in the fashion industry, fast fashion seeks to provide customers with clothes that are mass produced, not taking into account their quality and design value. A lot of times, fast fashion offers clothes ripped off from luxury brands and sold at incredibly low prices, without the quality and craftsmanship, however. This part of fashion is what Slowear and Incotex fight against—the notion that fashion can be easily made and produced. To this day, all their products are made slowly and not copied from anywhere else.

Impact on Fashion

Aside from their products and their principles, Incotext has contributed a lot to the fashion craft and industry. They’ve introduced fabrics such as the Chinolino—a combination of cotton and linen that feature qualities of both materials. It has the easiness of cotton with the softness of linen. They also pushed Indochino to the forefront, a dyed gabardine material that took almost five years to develop. Both fabrics are heavily featured in their designs as well as it’s been imported to various fashion and clothing brands. Other fabrics they’ve created are Flexwool, Ice Cotton, Shade Cashmere—all of which were created using new and technological processes.

They’ve also introduced new ways of working and creating new fabrics. For dyeing, they pioneered a new method wherein a finished garment can be dyed a new color instead of just dyeing the fabric before cutting it up. With this new method, an entire piece or ensemble can change color without having to sacrifice its shape and silhouette. Through this process, they’re able to offer chinos in new and exciting colors, from pastel hues to vibrant and bright tones. They’ve also come up with a new process of washing a garment without having to harm the fabric. It’s a meticulous process that aims to retain the quality of the product throughout.

Retail Ventures

Although they’re not under a luxury holdings group, which is a common practice nowadays, they’ve managed to expand their retailing exponentially. They’ve opened stores in Paris and New York, and are selling on e-commerce sites too, such as MR.PORTER and MATCHESFASHION.COM. The venture into online retailing is the only “fast-fashion” approach they ever allowed the company to partake.  

As the fashion world is plunged into a world of instant commercialism, Incotext and their parent company Slowear aims to push the industry back to its artisan roots. Just because a brand is offering ready-to-wear, doesn’t mean that the process of making the garments has to be as easy as wearing them. For the company, quality comes from the meticulous process and attention to detail that high fashion was founded on.

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