Isaia’s New Tartan

Three months ago, LAS made a post about Isaia’s new registered tartan. I was immediately enamored with the pattern once I saw it. It’s incredibly handsome, warm, and smart looking, and I can see it being used well for many types of garments. (I have my fingers crossed that they’ll make a scarf with this). So I contacted my friend over at Isaia, Agyesh, to talk about the company’s Neapolitan take on a Scottish tradition. He soon put me in touch with Leonardo Genova, the head of Isaia’s product development team (both managerially and creatively), and I sent Mr. Genova a few short questions about this exciting new tartan. 

Derek Guy: How long have you been designing fabric and what is your background?

Leonardo Genova: I literally grew up with fabric around me. My mother was a seamstress and my father was the Business Development Manager of a woolen mill, which also made clothing. So in other words, he grew up “a pane e tessuti" ("eating bread with fabrics"). My career started 28 years ago at a fabric mill where I spent my mornings working with bolts of fabric and evenings assisting the fabric designer. From there, I moved to the clothing industry at Confitri and then Canali. I’ve now been working for Isaia for over eight years. Moreover, I also own a small men’s haberdashery with my brother, which lends me another perspective and some insight into the actual consumer’s needs. 

Let’s put it in this way - through the span of my career, I’ve worked on fibers, yarns, weaving fabric, making garments with that fabric, and eventually selling them to the consumer. The only aspect I seem to have missed out on is the rearing and shearing of the sheep. (Maybe that will happen one day too.)

DG: What was your inspiration for this tartan and the story behind the colors you choose?

LG: I choose the tartan purely because it represents the perfect marriage between elegance, sportiness, and a beautiful old world charm. It is also a representation of the Scottish heritage of strong, individualistic men just like the true ISAIA man. Once the perfect tartan was designed, I looked to pick three core colors to ground the pattern: Midnight Blue, Brushed Grey, and a Dark Bloody Brown. Now, it was time to have a little fun and give each of those tartans a little personality. Keeping in mind that this was time for fall, I picked a Loden Green to go with the Midnight Blue, a Washed Ochre to go with the Brushed Grey, and a Aubergine-y Bordeaux for the Dark Bloody Brown. We finally decided to pick the Brown and Bordeaux combination to be registered as the ISAIA tartan because it had a unique sophistication and represented a Neapolitan take on the Scottish tartan. In short, it felt truly ISAIA. 

DG: What vision do you have for the use of this tartan?

LG: Despite the eclectic nature of the pattern and the colour combination, we’ve found it to be very versatile. We’ve used it to make trousers, suits, sportcoats, down vests, quilted jackets, and field coats. We also used it as an accent in a lot of accessories such as scarves, bow ties, and the lining and upper combination for leather goods. 

* Big, big thanks to Agyesh for taking the time to organize this interview and translate Mr. Genova’s answers. Agyesh is a champ.