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A talk with Alessandro Squarzi

Let's discover together with our protagonist how Fortela was born and his great passion for vintage.

Who is Alessandro Squarzi and how did your career start in the world of fashion?

I am a person who was born with a passion for fashion, from an early age my dream was to work in this sector, and I succeeded. Everything was born thanks to my first job in a shop in Forlì when I was still a boy, from there was born a great love then transformed into a passion that now is my job.


How is Fortela born?

During my life, I have traveled the world collecting garments and looking for new inspirations, but what I have always wondered is why the clothes of the past were so difficult to find, not to say impossible. From here, Fortela is born. Fortela is the will and the need to give a new life to unfairly forgotten vintage garments.

Fortela Store in Milan

How would you define your style? In Esquire UK's 2018 and 2019 rankings, you were the first on "The 40 Best-Dressed Men in the World" list.

I always say that those who try at all costs to chase fashion end up being out of fashion. The style, on the other hand, can only be yours, regardless of whether you like it or not. My style is my style, difficult to define in a nutshell. It is certainly versatile and has as protagonists all those vintage garments that have a story to tell. One trend I launched is the one with white jeans, making it an item to wear all year round and not only during the summer season. Nowadays, also thanks to social media, many guys take inspiration from how I dress and then create their own style.

With 230k followers on Instagram you are much loved by your audience. Can we call you an influencer? How important are social media to you today?

This appellation has several meanings that, it is better to define. I feel like an influencer just because I can influence people to follow a certain type of style while remaining a real person. Social media has changed the lives of so many people, mine has not changed. What I built before the massive arrival of social media remains and is well known. I certainly owe social media redundancy in the world that Fortela has and that as a result I also have.

Alessandro Squarzi wearing Shetland Light Havana

What advice would you give to a young person who wants to undertake a similar career to yours?

Regardless of the area in which one wants to assert oneself, young people must seek within themselves talents that characterize them without being afraid to show them. Once you have become aware of your talent, you have to set for yourself goals and chase your dreams without giving up. Like I did.

The key to success?

Success does not fall from the sky, success travels accompanied by time and perseverance. Success can be both work and personal, it depends on what a person wants. My greatest success is to have transformed over the years a passion into a job that I love and allows me to spend a lot of time with my family, especially with my daughter. There will always be difficulties and obstacles on the way to success, the important thing is to keep walking.

How would you like to be remembered in the future?

I admit that this is a fairly self-centered question and my answer may seem so. For many young people, I could be remembered as we remember Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando.

Alessandro Squarzi wearing Shetland Light Havana

Do you have an icon you've been inspired by in your lifetime?

Definitely my dad. Extremely elegant man both in dressing and in his way of being.
I am strongly attracted and inspired by the 1950s, especially the American ones. I love the volumes, trends, and style evolution of those years in which I totally reflect. In fact, the other key icons of my life are Paul Newman and James Dean, I am still inspired by them.

What future projects do you have in progress? Can you tell us something?

One of my future projects is to open Fortela around the world. Today we are in Milan, Forte dei Marmi and Brescia, but we are working to expand more and more. The great satisfaction is that this is asked by many people. Of course, Covid is not helping us, but I am a very proactive person and I think we will make it.

What does "Made in Italy" and "handmade" mean to you?

Nowadays, the term “Made in Italy" is abused. Unfortunately, there are very few Italian companies that produce everything in Italy, and I congratulate them.
Fortela's handmade work comes from the need to reproduce vintage garments with certain processing techniques that cannot be performed by series machines, but that must necessarily be handmade. An example is our vests, designed and cut totally by hand by our expert tailors.

Alessandro Squarzi at his Fortela Store in Milan

A garment and an accessory you can't leave the house without?

Surely, I can't go out without a watch. It is an accessory that I like and that I have always worn, without feeling lost. One garment I'm strongly attached to is white jeans. I started wearing them when I was 14 and I never abandoned them again, they are a season-free evergreen.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have a hobby?

As I always say, another key to success is being able to do what makes you feel good. Thanks to my work, today I am able to restore a passion that I had from an early age, that is, riding a horse. Every time I have free time, I run to them in Forlì, where I keep my horses in a 5-star stable. I hope that one day my daughter Allegra can also be passionate about this magical world.

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