How does Paris compare to Pitti? Pendleton, FrizmWorks, Viberg and more

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Boots on display at Viberg, at Man/Woman; above, Welcome Edition

This past January, after Pitti, I went to see the equivalent shows in Paris for the first time. I’d never been before and was interested to see how it compared to Pitti in terms of style, atmosphere and the brands. 

The style, to be honest, was a disappointment. I had high hopes because - as far as I understood - this was a real trade show with buyers meeting brands and writing orders, as opposed to the circus Pitti had become. 

But the other thing about Paris is that the brands are much more casual - more workwear, more fashion - and there is essentially no tailoring. I’m told Milan is better, and Unica (the cloth trade show) is certainly good. But I have to say it made me appreciate Pitti. There may be some silly peacocks around, but it really is the last place you see that much good tailoring. 

The brands, however, were really interesting. A lot of the casual makers we cover on PS don’t show at Pitti, but they do here - at the biggest show Man/Woman, the newer Welcome Edition, or in their own studios. 

And even brands that are at Pitti often have bigger set-ups in Paris. Coherence may be at Pitti, for example, but in Paris they have an entire apartment. Some brands are also moving - Drake’s now shows in Paris and not Pitti. 


The bright range of hoodies at Velva Sheen
Talking American-made tees

But let’s back up a second, for readers that are unfamiliar with all this industry stuff.

Pitti Uomo is a trade show, where brands and manufacturers show off their products so shops (eg department stores) can see them and decide whether to place orders. 

These orders are delivered several months later, so brands at Pitti in January were showing designs for Autumn/Winter 2024. These might be delivered in July, in order to go on sale in September. 

There are lots of these trade shows, though less than there used to be, and some are more public than others. 

The most important ones in Europe in terms of business take place in Paris and Milan, after the fashion shows. The designer brands that have shown on the runways have showrooms afterwards where buyers come to place orders. At the same time, other non-fashion brands take part in their own trade shows - such as Man/Woman - or have showrooms. 

This isn’t the kind of thing where influencers can just rock up and take pictures of themselves. There is no big public arena; the showrooms are appointment-only. But, if you’re a journalist it is a great way to get to know brands. 

For example, Meg Company - which runs Yuketen, Chamula, Monitaly and Epperson Mountaineering - has a showroom where you can get time with the founder Yuki (below), talking to him about his crafted menswear in the same way I’ve always done with brands on the stands at Pitti. 


'8 pig tails' chukkas at Yuketen
Yuki Matsuda

Good Art, the Californian jewellery brand with its own forge in LA, is here and nowhere else. So are lots of other workwear brands such as Stevenson Overall, The Flat Head and Viberg

It’s not all workwear though - there are also brands like 11.11, who I knew through their work with Stoffa, or fellow Indian brand Kardo. There are outdoor brands like Crescent Down Works and Wythe, and more familiar ones like Lavenham and Le Mont St Michel

With these kinds of heritage brands, you quickly get a sense of which direction they’re going. For example, Lavenham was interesting for the archive-inspired pieces they’re bringing out, in heavier weights (below). Whereas Mont St Michel had little of their characteristic cotton chores, and quite a lot of more fashion stuff that falls into the category of ‘brand extension’. 


Nice colours and heavier nylons at Lavenham
Trying the PRO 3L jacket at Goldwin

Pendleton were in their own showroom, sharing with a few brands including the Korean outdoors brand FrizmWorks

The latter are impressive for their value for money (though it is all made in China) but Pendleton were a little disappointing. The distinctive blankets were hanging on the back of the room, but they use much softer, lighter fabrics now.

I’ll do a separate post next week talking about four of our favourite brands we saw. That was the point of the visit, and being able to speak to all the founders in person does make a big difference to understanding the product. 

I will go to Paris again, as it was fun and useful, but perhaps when I have another excuse to be there. Next time we might try Milan, and see what that’s like. 

As ever, if anyone has any questions about these brands or the ones we'll feature next week, do let us know. In the past readers have asked questions about many of them, but we haven’t been able to give any detailed answers.


Brett from Viberg on the stand
Sun-Ray's brand book talking about its Japanese makers
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Look forward to the brands you mention .
It’s one of the things I really trust about PS having heard of the following
Trunk Clothiers
Private White VC
To name but afew


I quite like these insights into how the industry works, thanks. Also interesting that drake’s aren’t going to Pitti anymore.
What struck me by looking at some of the images is that if I dressed like some of the workwear guys I would probably get the same reaction from friends as if I always wore a jacket. Everyone just expects very substandard jeans/chinos and shirts/t-shirts.


From what I can tell from that short article, it seems to be far more of-the-times than Pitti; of course it’s a bit unfair to judge a trade show by its visitors rather than by the products on display, but Pitti just can’t seem to get rid of that stale 2010 #menswear aftertaste. Who knows, maybe Pitti will eventually go the way of Baselworld, replaced by something fresh.


Strange to see you in technical outwear like Goldwin. Almost fancy dress by your standards 🙂


Do tell us more!


+ 1!!!


Have you ever delved into the idea of mixing modern technical outerwear with the traditional clothing we see you in nearly 100% of the time — meaning mixing the two worlds in one outfit?
For instance, nice flannel trousers, fine dress shoes and a newsboy hat (something that’s your cup of tea) — worn with a fleece or light down jacket from, say, Patagonia or Arcteryx?
I’ve seen this done purposefully and it can work.


I would actually love for you to do a piece on that and some of your favourite items


I think a good extension of this idea of mixing and matching would be a new entry to the “how to dress like” series – with Aaron Levine. Have ya’ll ever met / discussed?

Also, an aside, I’m still waiting for a “how to dress like” with Lucas!


Bob M

Thanks for the post. I’ve always enjoyed Milan and it was a post about Pitti and influencer Noboru Kukata that jump started a wardrobe overhaul for me.
Ironically, that overhaul shifted away from brands and fashion and towards slow fashion … timeless pieces that look good, but not necessarily the latest. For example, I enjoy Rubinacci ‘s look book on his site, but might purchase just one item if it fits with my wardrobe.
Still, I’d be interested to hear more about the shows and latest influencers, especially since I dropped my subscriptions to fashion magazines and rely pretty much on PS now.


The Pendleton shirts that I saw in Fenwick were made in China too. My questions relate to other brands that are available in my local shopping centre. Were leading French brands (e.g. Hartford, Lacoste, Armor Lux and Saint James) present at the Paris show? Similarly, were big international brands (e.g. Paul Smith, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Hilfiger, Gant) present too? Do you know if menswear buyers from British retailers were present and ordering? If not, are such shows more relevant to niche and pricey brands like Drake’s?


What has become of Drakes? If Pitti has become a circus, then Drakes has in a way too, compared to what they once were at least. They still have ties and scarves, but only for the sake of tradition. A case of brand dilution? Just wondering what the owners are aiming at.


Thank you 🙂


Rather you than me – it’s why I love PS. You do all this stuff for us.
Personally I’d rather walk over hot coals than go to a trade show.


Hi Simon,
I always find the technical and behind the scenes articles interesting. I have attended trade shows over the years in different industries, (not clothing), as a customer, where I have also come across movement of businesses to different venues over time. To some extent I have found a number of factors including direct costs for venues, indirect costs such as hotels and travel. In addition a place becomes associated with certain innovations, industries or simply in a broader sense. becomes fashionable.
A location needs to be both cost effective and where word gets around that a business is likely to do well.
Hence, this doesn’t feel unusual to me.


Frizmworks does produce excellent goods for their prices. I own several pairs of corduroy trousers made by them. I remember finding out about them here, actually, in the comments section of a certain post.

Ronnie Pickering

This is going to be massively off topic – when I cycle into work I pass Hand&Lock (and that club you use). I’ve always been curious about it – an embroidery house established in 1767. I think they also embellished Penny Mordaunt’s dress for the coronation. While I’d imagine most of us aren’t going to have anything embroidered, in the spirit of celebrating craft (I imagine they are very good) and understanding how in earth they’ve survived this long I’d be keen to read something about them!

Ronnie Pickering

I think reflections in how you maintain a business over that period of time would be interesting – especially when we compare to the challenges in tailoring

Tom in New Hampshire USA

Just letting you know that I very much like the articles on the business side of menswear. I find it helpful to understand how products actually get to market. The atomization of standards of dress and the decline of the neighborhood haberdashery have intersected to create a very challenging landscape. I don’t envy the makers, the brand owners, the marketers, and the retailers, although on the other hand, nothing is routine.


Pitti is for show, Paris is for dough.


Fascinating insight into this aspect of the industry, Simon. To hear of Pendleton’s decline is saddening. One can hope that they return to the heartier woolens on which they originally made their reputation.


Not sure if best post to ask about but have you come across the brand FG Albertelli?