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How can a suit be suited across the centuries?

With a history of more than 350 years, Vitale Barberis Canonico (VBC) is one of the oldest woollen mills in the world and has flourished under the active leadership of family managers. It also has established a good relationship with Chinese media and celebrities over the past few years.

As two influential institutions in the Italian fashion industry, Vitale Barberis Canonico and Istituto Marangoni Shenzhen joined forces to support emerging designers in China, holding a Contemporary Suit Design Challenge. 

Vitale Barberis Canonico sent fabrics to Istituto Marangoni Shenzhen for the challenge

Vitale Barberis Canonico sent fabrics to Istituto Marangoni Shenzhen for their Contemporary Suit Design Challenge 

This collaboration aimed to stimulate a creative dialogue between the Italian and cultural heritage Vitale Barberis Canonico represents, the unique modernity and vision of the young generation, and Istituto Marangoni Shenzhen’s fashion talent. It was an incredible opportunity to impart and inherit outstanding traditional Italian craftsmanship to younger generations.

There were 17 designers from Istituto Marangoni Shenzhen divided into ten groups. After being inspired by Vitale Barberis Canonico’s latest fabric collection for spring-summer 2023, they interpreted and paid homage to this craft tradition, full of ingenuity, and completed the creative collaboration.

Some sketches and moodboards created by Istituto Marangoni Shenzhen students as the first steps of the challenge

Sketches and moodboards created by Istituto Marangoni Shenzhen students as the first steps of the challenge

In the end, the designers presented 10 sets of menswear suits with different styles but still classic and elegant, which perfectly integrated the excellent quality of VBC top wool fabrics and the innovative design language of young designers. These avant-garde and creative suit designs also respond to the trend of the times with contemporary aesthetics; they can meet different style needs and easily match multiple occasions. The suits will be used as samples to be delivered to magazines for fashion shoots, sent to celebrities’ stylists, and exposed to various media platforms. 

A student working on their collection for the challenge

A student working on his collection for the challenge launched by Vitale Barberis Canonico and Istituto Marangoni Shenzhen

Ultimately, among the 10 groups of designers, 3 groups were selected by the representatives of VBC and Marangoni Shenzhen for special awards.

On the left, a suit by HaoNan Huang. On the right, a suit by the team made up of XiaoYan Xu and Yang Yug

On the left, a suit by HaoNan Huang. On the right, a suit by the team made up of XiaoYan Xu and Yang Yug

The students who won the “Best Design & Creativity” awards are XiaoYan Xu and Yang Yu, with their contemporary suit collection “Hang” inspired by Peking Opera’s style.

On the left: the suit by ZiJia Cai. On the right: the suit by the team made up of EnQi Li, BoZheng Chen, and XinYu Zhang

On the left, a suit by ZiJia Cai. On the right, a suit by the team made up of EnQi Li, BoZheng Chen and XinYu Zhang

In the meantime, the group of designers EnQi Li, XinYu Zhang, and BoZheng Chen was selected for the “Best Craftsmanship” Award with their suit collection “Shimmering Forest”, the minimalist and elegant design of the suit set off the superior lustre and beauty of VBC fabrics. Students Hao Lu, YiJin Chen, and ZiHao Liu won the “Best Commercial Potential” Award with their “Quiet Dusk” collection, featuring an excellent take on the classic suit inspired by the human imagination of the universe.

Suit by ZiHao Liu, Hao Lu and YiJin Chen

A suit by ZiHao Liu, Hao Lu and YiJin Chen

The young generation and fashionistas of Istituto Marangoni Shenzhen combined their self-expression with distinctive style, innovative materials and techniques, and polished works with trendy design and modern inspiration. This collaboration was a tribute to the traditional Italian craftsmanship of classic suits and produced a concept and expression unique to the young generation of Chinese talent.

Actor YangYang on a TV show in a VBC suit designed by EnQi Li, BoZheng Chen and XinYu Zhang

Actor YangYang on a TV show in a VBC suit designed by EnQi Li, BoZheng Chen and XinYu Zhang

At the same time, it could be displayed on a broader platform, encouraging young designers to have the courage to bring new ideas to the fashion industry. 

Students at the awards ceremony for the challenge

Students attending the award ceremony 

 

 

Chloe Chan
PR & Communication Supervisor, Shenzhen
School
SHENZHEN
Course
Programme
undergraduate-Undergraduate Progression