In an exclusive interview, we sit down with outerwear designer Massimo Rossetti, the designer of Parajumpers – an outerwear project with an incredible story behind it, whose technical and functional parameters are met equally with frontier-pushing design. A collaboration with Yoshinori Oni has the fashion world abuzz and we wanted to find out more about creating technological fabrics, the future of precision outerwear, how to tell if your Parajumpers coat is the real deal and Massimo’s latest crush.
Tell us more about the birth of Parajumpers…
I’ve always loved adventurous travel and I tend to go off the grid every year for a few months at a time and it was on one of my wanderings when I accidentally met a serving member of the 210th Rescue Squadron in a rather gritty bar in Anchorage, Alaska. The stories of his missions, the intense training, the risks they took with their lives to save others and the deep camaraderie of the squadron, I felt humbled and decided I had to pay tribute to this courageous man. Being a designer I translated their work attire into contemporary outerwear and ready-to-wear for men and women…this is how Parajumpers was born.
This resulted in two permanent outerwear collections for men and women in addition to seasonal offerings and capsules. As it was important that this was not just about style and fashion but also about the characteristics of the men, highly technological components had to be part of the design so that everything is both functional and good-looking.
How did you met Yoshinori Ono and what was it about him that made you want to collaborate?
I am very curious and always eager to meet new creative minds. In fact, I spotted Yoshinori Ono's work a while ago and was fascinated with his technical background and the innovative materials he would use in his own creations. I eventually reached out to him and we agreed on collaborating and exploring new technical territories for the sake of Parajumpers' creative evolution.
Parajumpers is a fusion of luxury and technology – did you always aim to fuse both, functional outdoor clothing and high-end urban design elements?
Technology and functionality have always been our collection's guiding thread, but the quality of our materials and fabrics, as well as our hand-made finishings are actually the elements that make our garments what they are – a range of affordable yet top quality outwear. Our clients ask for functional and practical products, not just aesthetically appealing ones. Our coats are not seasonal trend pieces; they are built to last in your wardrobe.
Do you personally get involved with fabric creation, like your wool and polylactide lining? And how important is sustainability to you?
Yes, we are always involved in the creation and development of new fabrics. We work closely with partner suppliers, who constantly push the boundaries of research and development. We analyse and dissect new innovative fabric ideas and we always take great care in developing the most sustainable dyeing and finishing techniques.
What is your favorite piece of your AW16 collection?
Our masterpieces – the ones that are recurrent each season and never go out of style. We always reinterpret them with new fabrics, colours and details. However, the latest capsule created in collaboration with Yoshinori Ono is probably my latest crush! We've included never-seen-before technological elements that we translated into warm and lightweight clothing – you don't want to miss our latest spin on the down filled jacket; every man needs this one in his wardrobe!
You have a very strong signature style, which is why your brand has been suffering from plagiarism. How can your customers make sure their Parajumpers item is authentic?
We constantly work against copy-cats and the distribution and sales of counterfeits and we actually have a team working full-time against this and making sure that this issue doesn’t get out of control. Our quality checks are very strict and frequent both online and in our selling points. The safe way is the most simple one: if you buy your Parajumpers item in one of our flagship stores and official selling points, you can be 100% sure that it is not fake. We also have an online listing on which you can double-check everything for yourself: parajumpersstopfakes.com. We want to satisfy and protect our customers above all!
Who is the ideal Parajumpers man? Who would you like to see wearing Parajumpers?
The Parajumpers man loves nature and adventure. He is a simple man but very clever, a down-to-earth dreamer. He is strong and determined and he's not afraid of the past, present and future.
What’s your tip for someone who wants to start buying Parajumpers collection pieces? What should be the first buy and why? And how should they build on that?
The first pieces we suggest to buy are the classic masterpieces. But our sophisticated customers also enjoy our cotton and leather jackets. In addition to our classics, we invite our customers to try new pieces from our latest collaborations, from the technical Kegen collection (pictured below) to the vintage-military inspired Airship collection.
Do you have any other collaborative projects coming up?
We’re about to reveal a new capsule collection for our women’s wear line so…keep your eyes and ears peeled…
Words by Sophie Exton