Men from around the world are preparing for their bi-annual trip to Disney World. No, there won’t be any rides (unless it’s on a single speed bicycle carving through cobblestone streets) or cotton candy for sale, but you might actually see a character or two. This fairy tale land is not in the States, but rather the beautiful city of Florence, Italy. Twice a year, men from around the world flock to the Pitti Uomo shows. Here, buyers, editors, bloggers, and photographers do their best to balance work with pleasure. Often called the “world’s most important platform for men’s clothing and accessory collection,” Pitti is the ultimate stop for any man interested in the “sprezzatura lifestyle.”  Around a thousand of European’s best designers gather to showcase their collections for the up-coming season. Although the blogs may beg to differ, there is actual business being done. Buyers browse through the finest fabrics hoping to build and curate an eclectic collection for their stores. But that’s the boring part, right? The real reason that Pitti has gotten so much press lately is the photographers. Pitti has become some-what of a street-style fashion show. If you have on a slim fitting jacket (+4 points), trousers rolled (+1 point), camo print (+3), and the end all be all: double monks (+1,000 points). What does the gent with the most points get? Honestly, I don’t know. Oh, and one more thing:  make sure you’re not wearing socks with those shoes my friends.

The funny thing about Pitti Uomo is that the common man and/or woman you pass on the street has absolutely no idea what it actually is. I’m guessing that in part it has something to do with the fact that “Pitti Uomo” is in Italian, and we as Americans don’t really see the need to learn new languages.  Secondly, we don’t value fashion as an artistic side to expressing ourselves through the clothes we wear. I’ve noticed more and more lately that we try our best to simply fit in. No, living in NYC, Chicago ,or LA doesn’t count. Fitting in is comfortable for humans. As long as we fit the standard, then there’s an acceptance we feel within society. We try our best to draw as little attention to ourselves as we can. Why is it, though, that we want to live our lives like this? Shouldn’t we strive to be a unique individual? Maybe this is why we enjoy Pitti so much; men are finally expressing themselves on a whole different level.

Pitti is just a grain of sand in the men’s fashion world. Personally, I believe it shouldn’t take an event to dress your best. Yes, you may gain a bit of internet stardom (right up there a Real Word/Road Rules cast member), but why don’t we go against the grain and never again use the line of “dressing up” as an excuse to put our best foot forward. Life’s about expressing yourself in what ever manner you want it to be. Dressing well is a form of art (no matter what people tell you).

Yes, I enjoy seeing what men are doing to think “outside the box” at Pitti in regards to their wardrobes. I give those who aren’t dressing for the spotlight and/or photographers a lot of credit. They’re innovators in the fashion world, pushing the boundaries of normalcy. They aren’t looking to be photographed and blogged about. Their clothes are used to describe who they are. I dig that. I know we tend to dismiss “taboo” subjects, like menswear, but I challenge you to be receptive to what’s happening not only in Florence, but around the world.

A special thanks goes out to all the ladies and gentlemen providing coverage at Pitti. Photographers are capturing a moment in time that can not be duplicated. I appreciate the work of photographers like Scott Schuman, HB Nam, Justin Chung, Tommy Ton, Mordechai Rubinstein, Justin Bridges, Ryan Plett, and Sean Hotchkiss. They are capturing moments that only they see.  Hopefully the team at A&H will be able to join you next year. Cheers!

Photos are all from the talented HB Nam of Street FSN.

About Christopher Dam

Christopher Dam is a senior writer/photographer with A&H Magazine