For their fifth presentation at the world-renowned Pitti Uomo tradeshow in Florence, MINI FASHION teamed up with The Woolmark Company, enlisting some of the most exciting young designers in fashion to present capsule collections incorporating Woolmark’s trademark Merino wool textile into their designs, a continuation of their previous partnership at Pitti Uomo 93 earlier this year.

Since its inauguration at Pitti Uomo 90, MINI FASHION‘s have been informed by individuality, exploration, and the life of the contemporary urban nomad. Their collaborations with Woolmark have seen a number of designers, including previous recipients of the Woolmark Prize, exploring the possibilities of Merino wool by presenting new and unexpected takes on a textile that lies at the heart of luxury fashion.

ph5 mini fashion field notes The Woolmark Company
Highsnobiety / Ahmed Chrediy & Dominik Schulte

Their latest project, titled “Field Notes”, places travel, memory and physical experience at its core, as well as the notion of transcending borders. Each designer in the “Field Notes” project has approached this broad and fluid concept with their own subjective interpretation, from practical considerations of modern travel, to mythologies of travel destinations around the world and the way we experience the places we visit.

Rising New York fashion label PH5, for example, turned their attention to the coastal city of Miami, Florida and the aura of sun, sea and neon lights that has cloaked the city since its establishment as a glamorous vacation destination and cultural melting pot throughout the latter half of the twentieth century.

ph5 mini fashion field notes The Woolmark Company
Highsnobiety / Ahmed Chrediy & Dominik Schulte

Set with the task of translating the traditional winter material of wool into the context of a place where the sun is always shining, designers Mijia Zhang and Wei Lin used a drying technique to shrink the wool fibers, creating a more lightweight, breathable iteration of Merino wool.

The result is a number of light and playful pieces, such as a wool top and jumpsuit, that subvert traditional conceptions of what wool can be. Far from the thick, hefty knits or aran and roll neck sweaters, nor the sheer delicacy of fine woolen scarves and accessories, PH5’s experimentation has created an understanding of wool as something that can be worn and lived in; something beyond practicality which can also be simply enjoyed.

ph5 mini fashion field notes The Woolmark Company
Highsnobiety / Ahmed Chrediy & Dominik Schulte

In many ways, Zhang and Lin’s unorthodox approach to Merino wool, supplanting its traditional practical advantages for a primarily aesthetic preference, disrupts a common binary in fashion between the practical, utilitarian aspects of everyday clothing and the lofty, conceptual ethos of many high fashion brands.

Their transformation of Merino wool into a casual, lifestyle fabric intended to be simply worn and enjoyed dismantles both the pure need for a garment to serve a particular purpose, as well as demands for a grand concept underpinning a designer’s craft. After all, sometimes it’s nice to simply have something to wear which looks and feels nice.

Highsnobiety / Ahmed Chrediy & Dominik Schulte
Highsnobiety / Ahmed Chrediy & Dominik Schulte

Despite the various barriers that surround it, whether physical, political, cultural or otherwise, for most of us travel is about new experiences, creating memories and finding something to be enjoyed or appreciated. PH5’s experimentations with Merino wool have produced not only a concept that takes the fabric itself on a journey outside of its comfort zone, but more simply a wardrobe that can be enjoyed in its own essence. And sometimes that’s all you really want.

ph5 mini fashion field notes The Woolmark Company
Highsnobiety / Ahmed Chrediy & Dominik Schulte

Check out our in-house lookbook for the collection above and then follow PH5 on Instagram to stay informed. Check out mini.com for more information on the MINI FASHION project and shop all the capsules via the link below.

Words by Gregk Foley
Contributor

Gregk Foley is a writer based in Berlin whose work explores the intersections of style, culture, politics and identity.

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