032c’s first-ever collaboration with the global bodywear brand sloggi launched in Florence this week during the city’s annual Pitti Immagine Uomo menswear presentations. But the 11-piece capsule, designed by 032c Readytowear creative director Maria Koch, is unisex, embodying a philosophy of flexibility and shareability that examines how softness can provide structure, and how the protective “armor” we wear can, in turn, be yielding.
These themes are showcased now through Thursday January 13 in a plush installation at the city’s Padiglione delle Ghiaie, where the collection debuted not on a runway but alongside a custom, “pillow fort” inspired structure. Surrounded by mirrored surfaces, the contrastingly cushioned temple is both a functional shelter and a playful demonstration of the idea of supple support behind sloggi’s raison d’être and the conceptual framework through which 032c Readytowear approached the collaboration.
Staying flexible amid contradictions has been essential to many in the last couple years, as our clothing needs have evolved alongside our work and travel habits. There is perhaps no phenomenon that better exemplifies this need for pliability than the rise of style-driven, elevated, yet functionally comfortable loungewear. “For me, the topos of loungewear is: to be at home, but also be somewhat active,” said Koch in Florence, finding harmony in the contrast.
“When loungewear became the WFH default, the world suddenly came around to our way of thinking,” said Paul Gautier, head of brands at sloggi parent company Triumph Group, adding: “Maria and her team at 032c are as obsessed with culture as we are with comfort.” The collection is also the product of an obsession with the nature of what is essential, and how to eliminate everything that isn’t – “without removing the poetry,” in Koch’s words. Providing 032c Readytowear with the opportunity to explore the lyricism of perfected “basics” – and sloggi with a fashion-savvy direction for comfortwear – the collaboration inhabits a “down to earth color palette of neutrals, greens, and purples,” within a “soft, protective” architecture through gender neutral, flexibly sized garments. The one-size-fits all terry cloth poncho, according to Koch, best embodies the collection ethos, a comfortable blanket-cum-cape providing security, comfort, and protection through “ideas of flexibility and community.”
The inaugural 032c x sloggi collection will be available for purchase online and through select retailers from September 2022.