Few clothing companies can lay claim to owning an aesthetic. The best brands combine beauty with function in a way that is organic and intuitive, when each of their products are simple, alluring, and useful.
This is Stòffa, who I found out about purely by accident.
Months ago, while enjoying drams of Macallan and Highland Park, Ian, a fellow forumite and friend, told me about them in hushed tones of awe.
“Have you seen their jackets?” he asked, to which I admitted I hadn’t. “You’ll be hearing about them soon,” he proclaimed, and while my interest was piqued, I never followed up, and quickly forgot.
Later, my editor, Jasper, sends me an email:
Stòffa is doing a trunk show this week in San Francisco. Write an article.
Since I had to leave for Los Angeles in a few days, I quickly emailed Agyesh of Stòffa. He was completely booked, but would be doing a trunk show in LA that weekend, so we made an appointment for Sunday. In the meantime, I did my research: what is Stòffa?
Turns out, Stòffa is everything you ever wanted in a jacket. And trousers. And much more.
Sunday rolls around, and I meet Agyesh in a new development in Culver City. He is keen to meet before he shows me any of his wares, and I’m glad I did. Over Blue Bottle Coffee, Agyesh reveals himself to be an everyman who loves clothes. “I was a computer engineer,” he begins, “Developing interfaces for the end user, where their experience was paramount. Then I worked at Isaia, had an unlimited budget, an amazing mentor and the very best resources at our disposal, and could go anywhere I wanted to creatively. But the concept felt so detached from the customer – the end user. And the waste,” his head kicks back and his hands wave. “There is so much waste, did you know that?
“With Stòffa, it’s practically nothing. With retail, you made so much more than what we sell. It’s almost impossible to get out of that cycle with retailers; I wanted a new supply and delivery chain from the start with Stòffa.”
The way Agyesh is able to do this is simple: take your order, and your order is made. There is no stock, nothing that may or may not be bought. There are just four jackets, six options of material, and every piece is made to order. And more important: made to measure. Also, fabrics are created in such away that they are used across categories, and the same raw yarn used multiple times.
“The guys that I know that are into suits, they are so conscious of fit and proportions,” Agyesh says, “Which is fine, but when they wear casual clothes, they are not nearly as particular. They settle with what is made for them. That is ridiculous.”
As a man with a stature less like the Adonis-esque models often chosen for menswear, I personally have found that, with suiting, bespoke offers a fit that cannot be achieved with simple alterations to off-the-rack garments. Agyesh takes that model and applies it to casual wear. “If you’re short,” he explains, “We won’t simply shorten the sleeves. We’ll shorten the length, raise the pockets. Everything to make it look proportional.”
With a background in programming UI and working at one of the world’s most well-known clothing manufacturers, I’m convinced this man knows about how things should fit. But what about style?
“I had in mind a relaxed and elegant style coupled with a little personality that suits the lifestyle and context of a man in the modern times. Someone who is always one the move and wants to maintain an air of elegance without forced formality through every aspect of his life.” The result is neither fastidious nor slovenly. Simple and casual, yet elegant.
He then shows me to his samples at the trunk show, and I am awestruck. Not by anything radical or unusual, but by the distinct approach to an otherwise staid concept. The four jacket styles are nothing new – their flight jacket, field jacket, asymmetric jacket (similar to a double rider) and longer coat are hallmarks of casual menswear and a staple in most men’s closets. However, it’s the way in which they are rendered that makes them fresh: large pockets, sweeping collars, and luxe fabrics.
Agyesh gives me a flight jacket to try on first. “This is the most elegant,” he says, and I immediately see why. The clean and familiar lines evoke just enough nostalgia while avoiding gimmicky costume. Instinctively I reach to put my hands in side pockets, and they’re there. Agyesh notices. “We wanted to make something practical, not simply an exercise in art,” he says.
Agyesh himself is sporting the asymmetrical jacket in taupe, which looks unassumingly chic with his breezy rumpled linen trousers and beat-up Superga sneakers. “I’ve had this for over two years,” he says with a smile. “All of our clothes are tested for a year or more. It’s something I’ve taken from my years as a developer – nothing was released until it had months of testing. I wanted to make sure everything not just lasted but looked better with time.”
Finally I tried on the asymmetrical coat, a three-quarter length piece with generous lapels that inconspicuously buttons off-center. “There is absolutely no structure in this, no lining,” Agyesh explains, “so we had to shape it with seams.” Indeed, for a coat so light, I’m impressed by its classic cut down through the waist and graceful a-line sweep outward. This is the jacket I’m getting. Or…Agyesh’s. Or maybe the flight jacket.
I’m still undecided.
If you’re interested in seeing Stòffa’s wares for yourself, you’ll have to make it to one of their trunk shows – remember, everything is made to order, and you can’t buy the clothes online. Stòffa has trunk shows every 5-6 weeks in LA, San Francisco, New York, and Stockholm, which hopefully will give you enough time make a decision.
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