A Conversation with Stefano Ughetti of CAMO

When Italian designer Stefano Ughetti decided to launch his own clothing label back in 2007, the intent was not to simply dress men. Rather, he sought to create a label that would put men in touch with what they want to wear, allowing them to stand out and showcase their individuality despite the varying restrictions or expectations that might be placed upon them by society. This unique design philosophy resulted in the birth of CAMO, a clothing line that truly celebrates classic Italian heritage and craftsmanship. From fabrics and materials to manufacturing and production, all aspects of the label are done locally in the small town of Biella, Italy where the label is based. We caught up with Ughetti at (capsule) New York to discuss the collection.

Tell us a little about the upcoming collection for Spring/Summer 2012. What was the basis or inspiration behind it?
The SS12 collection is inspired by the river Cervo (in Northwest Italy) which runs across the valley and into the Biellese area. The river, just as with human life, has a winding and articulated way. It has its birth (in this case, from Lago della Vecchia) then it goes through small villages and cities ending its course by jumping into the sea. This flow is a symbol of life. For us, the river Cervo is as important as any other river, torrent or stream.

You’ve mentioned before that you only like to use materials and fabrics that have been sourced from local factories and suppliers around the town of Biella. Why is this so important for you?

All CAMO products are made entirely in Italy, both the fabrics and the production. I searched for little laboratories not only in the Biellese area but beyond it as well. They are usually family-owned businesses and specialize in a very unique product typology, this way the manufacturing is characterized on a very high level and I can develop a special way of working with them based on a useful exchange of views. The product is not dictated but, rather, is created by discussing all of the details that I propose.

Before launching CAMO back in 2007 you owned a menswear concept store called Superstar. What motivated you to start your own clothing line? Did you feel there was something missing in the menswear market?
I started CAMO because my want to communicate was not completely satisfied by the concept store. Plus, I considered it to be more interesting relating with a global market and not only with a little one like the one in Biella where I still work and live today.

One of the brand’s philosophies is to help men dress in a manner that makes them feel more comfortable and at one with the clothing. Is this something you think most men struggle with?
I think that people have to express themselves. Men and women have to be more braver and more dignified. The only advice, really, is to dress up with the same freedom you have when you are at home, to be free to move, and to show yourself.

Last year, CAMO was nominated for the Who’s On Next award at Pitti Uomo which showcases some of Italy’s most promising up-and-coming menswear talents. How have things changed for the brand as a result of this nomination?
All of the concourses I took part in were very useful, but not decisive. I’ve never thought that my success could depend entirely upon a competition, so it’s very important for me to take all the opportunities presented.

What plans are in store for the label over the coming months?
We’ve just begun a relationship with (upscale Italian department store) LaRinascente in Milan starting with our Fall/Winter 2011 “Soul Collection.”

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