Camper Creative Director Achilles Ion Gabriel to Debut Own Brand at Pitti Uomo

NEWCOMER: Achilles Ion Gabriel, the Finnish-born designer best known as the creative director of Camper and Camper Lab, is set to debut a new namesake brand at the upcoming edition of Pitti Uomo in January, WWD has learned.

Ion Gabriel, who previously worked for the likes of Marni and Sunnei, as well as Marimekko, and ran his own footwear label dubbed Ion debuted in 2012 and discontinued in 2019, is stretching his design muscles toward ready-to-wear.

The collection, the designer said, encompasses apparel, footwear and accessories with a gender-neutral bent and boasting an immersive component.

The new brand is to be featured at the menswear trade fair as “Debut Collection Pitti Uomo.” The designer also plans to stage a presentation during Paris Men’s Fashion Week later that month.

The brand will only be available through the Achilles Ion Gabriel’s website, in addition to a small selection of retailers.

“I am very excited to debut the first ready-to-wear collection of Achilles Ion Gabriel and share my creative vision at Pitti Uomo. It’s an honor for me and my team and we cannot wait for January,” Ion Gabriel said.

Although the “Debut Collection Pitti Uomo” characterization of Ion Gabriel’s attendance does not seem to have a precedent, he follows in the footsteps of other up-and-coming labels that have joined the fair in the past, including Luke Edward Hall’s Chateau Orlando and Chu Suwannapha’s Chulaap.

Ion Gabriel was appointed creative director of CamperLab in 2019 tasked with developing a younger, experimental range of products for Camper. In 2020 his design responsibilities at the footwear company were expanded as he was named creative director of Camper as well, overseeing design for the brand’s whole product portfolio.

Pitti Uomo, running Jan. 9 to 12 at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence, is shaping up as a packed affair.

Earlier this week, Todd Snyder told exclusively to WWD that he is returning to the runway in Florence during Pitti Uomo as the fair’s “designer showcase” with a menswear show on the opening night, Jan. 9, at 5 p.m. local time at the Stazione Leopolda venue.

The trade show also already announced Luca Magliano as guest designer, and  British brand S.S. Daley as special guest. The former’s attendance crowns a golden year for the Bologna-native designer, after his namesake brand has gained increasing heat on the Milan scene in the last few seasons and he received the Karl Lagerfeld Special Jury Prize at the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers.

For his part, Liverpool-native designer Steven Stokey-Daley was the 2022 recipient of the LVMH Prize for Young Designers.

Other recent guests of the men’s fair included ERL’s Eli Russell Linnetz, Martine Rose, Grace Wales Bonner and Thebe Magugu. Former guest brands and designers showing in Florence also included Jil Sander’s creative directors Lucie and Luke Meier; Y/Project’s creative director Glenn Martens; Jonathan Anderson of JW Anderson; Roberto Cavalli, and Craig Green.

A full schedule of events for the January edition of Pitti Uomo is to be released later on Friday.

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