Shaft Jeans’ is not just a story.
It’s not “just” a brand of jeans, a mix of cultures, a family tradition.
Shaft Jeans’ is a revolution.
The brand, born in France, today has come to Italy, where it makes innovative and patented jeans following sustainability standards: at the wheel, there are the siblings Letizia e Lorenzo Palchetti Tosi, who, when they speak about their project, sound so genuinely in love with what they’re doing and truly believe in their handmade and denim-made dream.
Between colorful patterns, the iconic flared trousers who’ve bewitched Måneskin, as well, and a couple of advice which sound more like mantras, Letizia and Lorenzo tell us about their act of rebellion in a field, that of jeans, that really needs some changes, especially in terms of environmentally-respectful choices. And their revolution has just begun…
How was your passion for fashion, and the world of denim, born?
Letizia: We were born with it! Blue blood (denim). Lorenzo’s grandfather was the first to import denim canvas from the United States to Italy in the 50s. Then, my mother carried on the family project. As a child, I played with the remnants of denim, and I enjoyed making micro dresses with jeans’ pieces that the suppliers gave to my mother.
Your DNA features French, Italian and American inspirations: how have all these elements characterized the brand’s history over time, up to today?
Letizia: Shaft Jeans was born in 1968 by Monsieur Shafir, a French gentleman who moved to Italy to follow his lover. Our origins are strongly rooted in this mix of cultures and linked to the ’70s: we are particularly known for our flared jeans, included in all of our collections.
“Our origins are strongly rooted in this mix of cultures and linked to the ’70s: we are particularly known for our flared jeans, included in all of our collections.”
What are the fundamental values respected in the making of every pair of jeans?
Letizia: Research, quality, respect for people and the environment.
How is your production process?
Letizia: Everything starts from a mood board, often linked to an event or a person from the 70s. Starting from there, we develop new ideas and models and create about 20 collections of 100 pieces each that go around the world. After the sales campaign, we disinfect the entire collection with our internal team of pattern makers and creatives and, after more than 10 fittings, we approve the final garments that will go into production. Our production is managed between our headquarters in Florence and our production sites in the region of Marche.
Your production is Made in Italy and presents an approach both contemporary, in the use of advanced techniques, and retro, for example in proposing embroidery or hand paintings. What elements do you consider when developing a new collection?
Letizia: Let’s say that we have been working with denim for more than 3 generations, and we are not tired of it yet! I use many techniques of the past and readjust them with contemporary instruments. From the tie-dye reported with a digital print on the bottom of trousers to a degrade technique to immersion up to tone-on-tone drawings made with three-dimensional lasers which are also super ecological in terms of energy consumption.
Denim is a piece of clothing that, in the last 40 years, has marked some fundamental historical moments and has always been associated with the idea of “rebellion”: what does this concept, and this association, mean for you in today’s society, even going beyond fashion?
Letizia: Rebellion today doesn’t necessarily mean following a trend, but believing in your project and moving forward. Rebellion can also mean following the rules of fast fashion but with a calmer and more relaxed attitude that goes against the logic of a market increasingly hungry for numbers.
Speaking of rebellion, let’s talk about the bond that your brand has established with Måneskin: how was this collaboration born and developed?
Letizia: We have been following Måneskin since our very beginning, they are a band to which we are very attached, and we are proud to have grown up together. All four of them have always worn our flared jeans and even today that they have grown in popularity and are followed by all big fashion brands, they continue to wear Shaft Jeans.
“Rebellion today doesn’t necessarily mean following a trend, but believing in your project and moving forward.”
If you could choose a person from the past, who belongs to the art world in general, to wear Shaft Jeans, who would you choose?
Letizia: I think I have a quite long list of people: Cher, Raffaella Carrà, Marianne Faithfull, Jimmy Hendrix.
What are the 3 iconic models that represent Shaft Jeans?
Letizia: Lola model, our paw, Milly wide bootcut model made of lightweight denim, Lara model, Måneskin’s favorites.
In what way are your jeans organic? What techniques and measures have you included in the production process to be more sustainable?
Letizia: We have a certified line of organic denim. Cotton is GOTS certified which is one of the most important and recognized certifications in the world. These types of denim are treated with green processes, much less water is used and most of the energy comes from renewable sources.
Speaking of sustainability, what elements should consumers take into account today when buying a new pair of jeans?
Letizia: As a consumer, this is a question that I often ask myself: firstly, I read its composition and understand if the prevalent fabric is cotton. Despite their weird acronyms and certifications of all kinds, natural fibers (cotton, linen, hemp, wool …), are the best choice. I’d also always suggest you read the “Made in” part, which indicates where a garment is made. If the garment is Made in Italy, we have the certainty that very high production standards have been respected, to safeguard people and the environment.
“These types of denim are treated with green processes, much less water is used and most of the energy comes from renewable sources.”
What’s the most useful advice you’ve received during your journey?
Letizia: I would mention two: “In case of danger, accelerate!” from my mother, or, “Are you the horse or are you the rider?” from my first American boss.
Lorenzo: “Think big and always believe.” The fact of having worked in more structured companies has allowed me to have a different mentality.
Is there a memory, a particular moment with Shaft Jeans to which you are very attached?
Letizia: I would say that every day is a school day and, therefore, a memory to collect. Among the most beautiful ones I have, perhaps there’s the moment where I saw part of my collection in the most beautiful store in Paris during fashion week or the picture of Måneskin with Mick Jagger in which Vic wears one of our jeans and Thomas one of our jackets. It’s nice to think that, during such an important moment for them, they were wearing our clothes.
Lorenzo: The first day in the company, seeing my mother and sister by my side for the first time made me even more mature. Through your work, especially when it comes to creativity, you often put yourself to the test.
“In case of danger, accelerate!”
“Think big and always believe.”
What was the last thing you discovered about yourself?
Letizia: A particular sensitivity to colors. The last time I saw an unexpected but beautiful combination of colors, I started crying!
The book on your bedside table right now.
Letizia: I am passionate about biographies of entrepreneurs and creatives, but right now I am reading the biography of Caterina de Medici, a strong woman who brought in rough France of the ‘500 all the Italian customs and traditions of the Renaissance and made the whole country bloom.
Lorenzo: The biography of Steve Jobs. Always work on details, have long-term goals, and never give up.