Fresh off the loom

February 18, 2022

A light, breathable suit for hot days and cool nights.

After starting fashionably late, the wedding ceremony's finally underway. Everyone’s wearing a suit, and so are you, naturally. The room is stifling. You look around. Jackets are staying on. What’s your move, on or off? You feel that first bead of sweat starting to make its way down your spine. The second and third won’t be far behind. What's next?

Do you accept defeat and lean back, your jacket taking on the sweat like a sad sponge relegated to the draining board? Or do you shed the jacket? The guy next to you's just done that. He wishes he hadn't...

There’s only one option - stay still. Think of Waterfalls. No, wrong image. Think of mountains and snowy peaks, mammoths trapped in ice for millions of years - lucky things. Just wait, motionless, in the hope that a hint of breeze will drift in and rescue you, and your suit.

Sound familiar? Well guys, that's all in the past. Meet the Fresco Suit, your coolest new friend.

Making light of summer

When we launched the first version of the Fresco Suit, our idea was simple. Well, it was your idea actually. You told us what you needed: a suit that's breathable, hardly creases, fits perfectly and will last a very long time.

It had to be ideal for summer occasions, good for travelling, and unfussy. Finally, you wanted something that would work well as a standalone jacket or trousers options, whatever the mood. You needed something to be on hand to sort you out every time. The ultimate sartorial peace of mind.

Now in its fifth version, our summer champion is back.

The return of the fresco kid

Fresco means ‘fresh’ in Italian, but when it comes to suiting it’s a British word through and through.

The Fresco fabric was first created in 1907 by Savile Row cloth merchant J&J Minnis, now Hardy Minnis, and suppliers to the Queen, no less.

It was a serious textile innovation at the time and Fresco continues to lead the way with its strong, light and breathable qualities. It's made out of a high-twist worsted yarn, spun from combed wool and twisted 100s of times to make it super fine and smooth. This allows the yarns to be woven in a plain weave that’s both airy and durable.

The result is what we call 'cool' wool. In short, a durable, soft, lightweight fabric, resistant to creasing, has a fantastic drape and maximum ventilation. That's a lot to pack in.

If it’s your first time with the Fresco, you’re in for a treat: every time a breeze comes through, you’ll feel like you're standing there in just a shirt. It took a while for us to get our heads around it too, you'd never know looking at the fabric. Once you try it, you'll have a hard time wearing anything else.

In-creasingly good

Lightweight suits are all about the drape. But usually, the lighter the fabric, the more it creases and getting rid of creases was high on your priority list.

Well, here’s the test. Squeeze the Fresco fabric between your fingers, and it naturally springs back into place. Traditionally Fresco was used for travel suits worn by businessmen tired of their jackets crumpling like an accordion as they went about their daily business. And more than 100 years later, its ability to resist creasing remains unparalleled for a natural material.

And, as if Fresco wasn't cool enough, Hardy Minnis has now brought out the Fresco Lite. As you can imagine it has all the good things we just talked about but dialled up a notch for even more comfort… Basically, it’s a finer Merino wool yarn with long and super thin fibres—we are talking thinner than human hair—that make it even more durable as we can pack in more per inch of fabric.

The result? A suit that's smoother, lighter, softer and stronger.

A rich seam of Yorkshire tradition

Last year we headed north to visit the mill in England where Fresco is woven. It's in Huddersfield, a Yorkshire town famous for its place in the wool trade. Yorkshire itself isn’t without some top-drawer positive associations: beer, cricket, and home of the world’s oldest football club: Sheffield FC.

Huddersfield’s rich tradition in the weaving industry is all down to local skills, know-how built up over hundreds of years and the waters that run off the local Pennine Hillsperfect for making woollen fabric.

Navy, charcoal, navy pinstripe

So, after all of that, what colours does the Fresco Suit come in?

First up is navy. You can’t go wrong with navy.

Usually the combo of dark suit + sun = sauna. But the Fresco is so breathable you can wear it without risking a soaked shirt. It was 31°C on the shoot and Stéphane, who put our fresco to the test, survived the midday sun, cool as a cucumber.

The second option is charcoal. Another mainstay that goes with everything. We went for a shade that wasn't too dark, and allowed for a lighter feel - well, as light as you can get with charcoal. You know what we mean.

Last up is navy with a light grey pinstripe. Another classic when mastered properly, and judging by its popularity you agree that this one's got just the right colour balance and proportions.

Collaring the details

We wanted to keep with the relaxed feel of the Fresco fabric, but didn’t want to go so relaxed that the suit wouldn’t work for formal occasions.

So we opted for patch pockets that really come into their own when the jacket's worn separately to the trousers and a collar with a spread and height (7.5cm) that brings a modern touch to the jacket’s classic proportions.

A jacket's often just as much about the collar as the fit. It’s the collar that frames the face so we've done a lot of work on perfecting it.

The buttons are all in a lighter shade of natural horn for a more relaxed summery feel, but they won’t look out of place when you need to dress the part.

Tailored talk

Now it's time for the technical lowdown. The construction is quite similar to that of our Winter Suit (you'll be hearing more about that later in the year).

The chest (the bit inside the jacket) is half-canvassed. Unlike pretty much any suit at this price, we’ve left the canvas ‘floating’ rather than thermo-glueing it, so it takes your shape better over time. We've also used American facings in the same fabric as the suit.

This high-quality combo gives the jacket a natural drape and an impeccable fit. Switching from thermo-bonded to floating canvas is a bit like upgrading from a pager to an iPhone12. You will wonder how you ever managed without it.

The shoulders are still cut and padded in the Neapolitan style, which works best with light fabrics.

All in all, the Fresco Suit's designed for maximum comfort and versatility, cut to give you a bit more of a shoulder and designed to fit like a glove.

One leg at a time

A word about the trousers, which are not to be outdone by the jacket. As with our other suits, we’ve put button tab side-adjusters and loops on the trousers so that you can wear them with or without a belt.

The zip is a classic YKK nickel finish. The right material from the right manufacturer.

We've increased the inside leg to 92cm (37"). The trousers are delivered unhemmed so that even the tallest can join the Fresco club and get them hemmed at their tailors.

The Fresco fabric is comfortable to wear, as it feels soft and cool inside and out.

And with a fabric that doesn’t crease, your suit’ll be just as comfortable when you wear it at brunch the next day. Although it will thank you if you put it on the hanger overnight.

The fresco suits you

Since we first launched the Fresco Suit, your comments have regularly drifted in over the summer months.

“It's really excellent, that's what it is. I've worn suits for more than 15 years even. At first because I had to. Now I wear them for pleasure!" – Patrick

"I’m amazed by the value for money of your suit … the fabric is unique, and the cut fits me perfectly, both timeless and modern. Well done!” – Val

"The cut is impeccable.  It’s so comfortable that I even want to wear it around the house like a jogging suit. It’s really breathable and brings a real freshness.  In short, the perfect suit!" – Johan

"The cut suits me perfectly; it looks as if it were made to measure. It's fresh, light, beautiful, it's great!  To add to that, my tailor noticed the beauty of the fabric … I take that as a guarantee that he agrees with what you’d said!  PERFECT!" – Bob

If it ain't bespoke

In ready-to-wear, hardly anyone works with Hardy Minnis’ Fresco fabric. To get your hands on it you would normally have to head to Savile Row or one of the top luxury brands. Our Fresco Suit’s available to preorder for under €350 which shocked our suppliers somewhat. Many of them told us that even at twice that price it would still be excellent value for money. And they'd be right.

But that’s not how we work. We make quality clothing available to the maximum number of people, and making that possible is something we're really proud of.

Follow Suit

A few months back we committed to giving you the full environmental impact of every item we release. La totale as we say in France.

So this is what goes into, and comes out of each Fresco Suit.

44 kg of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to travelling 451 km (280 miles) by car. Here’s how our partners at Fairly Made come up with that number.

23 g of phosphor in the water. Equivalent to growing 382 kg of potatoes.

439 MJ of energy, which is about 149 h electric heating (average flat).

SUIT UP

The Fresco Suit will be available for preorder for €348 (239€ for the Jacket and 109€ for the Trousers) from Tuesday 22nd of February at 10am CET.

All deliveries will be made in time before the summer: for the early birds your Fresco Suit will make its way to you beginning of May (that's anytime between the 1st and the 10th). For last minute orders, i.e, in the last few days, you can expect it around end of May (that's anytime between the 21st and 31st).

And for those who're wondering, if it doesn't fit or work out for you, we’ve made exchanges and refunds easy for you. Return costs are on us.

But just to help you get the right fit, here’s the size guide:

Need to know anything else? Ask away via the comments below, or alternatively, you can check our international Instagram page for more info.

Cheers,

The Asphalte Team

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