WWD Series: Federico Barassi

January 23, 2022
Federico Barassi, Vice President of Menswear for SSENSE
Courtesy: SSENSE

How is buying evolving in the age of phygital seasons and the metaverse? 
Being that SSENSE has always been digitally native, moving to the virtual world felt quite organic. Over the last couple of seasons, we, as a team, were excited to see how our partners have transformed their creative communications into the digital landscape through lookbooks, video runways presentations and virtual buying platforms. 
A positive by-product of this shift to the digital world has been the increase in the democratization of fashion. Through the use of social media platforms and live streaming, brands were able to share their aesthetic experiences with anyone and everyone that is curious or interested in the world of fashion. 

How are you approaching buying this season, where physical appointments (and life) are back but much of the fashion process remains digital? 
This season as always we are focusing on building the strongest offering and sourcing the best emerging talent regardless of whether showrooms are physical or digital. Our buying moves towards dressing for a world outside of our home offices where we focus on timeless pieces and staples for the IRL world, but with an added twist of authenticity, whimsy, and self-expression.

Tailoring vs. Streetwear: who could win the match this time? 
We see it less as a battle and more as a marriage, with the distinction between the two worlds becoming less and less significant. 
With less of the world needing to wear suits, more of the world seems interested. There is a strong urge to dress up, but we stray away from a traditional approach as contemporary and vibrant twists allow for more self expression, similar to streetwear at its inception.  
This season we’ve expanded the scope of our tailoring offering most excitingly through exclusive tailoring capsules featuring designs from several of our top luxury and emerging designers.  
With this project, we decided to approach tailoring in a modern and unexpected way; producing garments in small quantities, adding a rarity factor to the pieces. We asked brands like Lukhanyo Mdingi, Theophilio, Dries Van Noten and Jil Sander to either reinterpret classic tailoring tropes or dig in their own archives to revive some styles that previously defined modern tailoring, and we’re looking forward to releasing these capsule collections throughout the year. 

What trends do you have your eye on this season? 
A key trend for the season we’re excited about is the reinterpretation of western classics with the resurgence of cowboy boots, trucker jackets, tassels, fringe and aviator glasses. There is a strong sense of comfort in the new approach to tailoring taken on by our partners.  
Brands like The Row, Lemaire, and Maryam Nassir Zadeh are making their mark in menswear with shirting and blazers that are less form fitting but instead showing strong silhouettes through movement. 
We’re also seeing a strong new wave of emerging menswear talent that we’re really excited about. Brands like Tokyo James, Thebe Magugu, S.S Daley and Harago all have a strong and distinct brand identity.

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