New Brand Focus – Paul & Shark
Founded in Italy by the Dini family circa 1975, Paul & Shark is a brand that is synonymous with yachting culture but also to their national sense of elegance and style. This season it appears in the Mainline Menswear collection for the first time.
At the beginning of the 70s decade Paolo Dini found himself in a sail maker’s workshop whilst on an expedition to Maine and there his attention was drawn to an eighteenth-century sail which was inscribed with the words “Paul & Shark: It was Fate”.
This message obviously inspired the young Italian and the brand has always aimed to produce excellent quality products with the manufacturing of technical fabrics suitable for life at sea, all the while combining this with tailored details too.
Though the brand began just under 40 years ago the foundations of the business were laid long before then. Rewind to 1921 in Milan and they were in fact a knitting mill trading by their own name, Maglificio Daco. When Ludovico Dini- father of the aforementioned Paolo Dini- took over in 1957 they eventually changed the name to Dama S.P.A, during which time they began shipping their goods all over the world.
When they eventually closed down the mill to concentrate on fashion they started to produce fashionable sports clothing with the inspiration of yachting and its adventurous spirit.
One of the most unique things about the company today is that despite an international presence in fashion they are still run by the Dini family, with current president Andrea being the third generation to be in charge.
Interestingly Paul & Shark gained instant popularity in Italy and soon after it made the transition across into the UK where they became a part of the Casual scene and would not be out of place on the terraces, in bars or indeed at sea due to their clothing’s Italian flair and refinement.
One of their most iconic designs is the pullover sweater which was instantly recognisable even from its packaging. The water-resistant sweatshirt even came in a metal can for extra authenticity- the type of container you would find on boats used for multiple purposes.
Both yachting and football casuals’ wear have been very popular at Mainline Menswear over the years, but there have rarely been any brands who manage to combine the two interest groups quite so seamlessly as Paul & Shark have done. Henri Lloyd is another brand with a heritage in yachting/sailing and it seems this small subculture has an ever-increasing fashionable appeal due to its luxury and adventurous connotations. Paul & Shark’s water-resistant coats, jumpers and their fashionable polo shirts remain three of their most popular designs and all three have become associated with Casuals who have a particular penchant for these types of garments, having popularized other versions by brands such as Fred Perry, Lyle & Scott and Lacoste among others.
The Autumn/Winter collection 2014 is focused on transforming technical fabrics into contemporary and appealing styles, all of which display the brand’s familiar in-house style. Knitwear is often a key part of the Paul & Shark collections and this one is no different; one of the stand-out designs in the latest release has to be the sportswear Capri hooded jacket which comes in two bold coloured designs and channels the popular current trend for waterproof macs in urban ensembles.
Italy is such a hotspot for quality designer labels with Diesel, Armani and many more famously coming from the region, Paul & Shark is another perfect example of one of those premium outfitters. Their techniques are so specialist that they even patented them, one of which is the “3 in 1 Kompact Technology“, used on knitwear to provide a stylish yet practical seafaring use as well. Their distinctive logo badge is now a symbol of an affluent lifestyle all over the world- or to be precise in the 72 countries in which they sell.
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