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Achilles designer Ion Gabriel launches his own clothing brand at Pitti Uomo

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Nov 10, 2023

A new project for Achilles Ion Gabriel. The Finnish footwear designer, who has led the creative direction of Spanish label Camper since 2020, is starting his own ready-to-wear brand. The launch will take place during the Pitti Uomo men’s fashion trade fair in Florence, with a show unveiling his first collection for Autumn/Winter 2024/25 on January 11 at a venue yet to be determined.

Achilles Ion Gabriel – © courtesy of Camper

While Pitti Uomo previously welcomed Italian designer Luca Magliano and British designer Steven Stokey-Daley as guests of honour, and American designer Todd Snyder presented a “designer showcase”, it is now Achilles Ion Gabriel’s turn to be part of the line-up for the 105th edition. The fair will be held from January 9 to 12. The designer has been invited to the event as part of a special project entitled “Debut Collection Pitti Uomo 105”.

Known for his cool, bold colourful shoes, 36-year-old Achilles Ion Gabriel has undoubtedly arrived at the right time and with the right experience to embark on this adventure. Backed by two financial partners from his own circle, he is launching a gender-neutral brand of ready-to-wear, accessories and shoes from his studio in Paris.

The designer doesn’t want to reveal anything before the show, except that the spirit of the brand will be in his own image. Production is organised through factories in Italy, Portugal and the UK. The first collection, described as “completely immersive”, will be distributed exclusively on the Achilles Ion Gabriel website and in a selection of top multi-brand shops around the world. This project is being carried out in parallel with his job at Camper, which he is keeping, splitting his time between Paris and Mallorca, where he took up residence in 2020.

Achilles Ion Gabriel, who grew up in Lapland, studied footwear at the Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK) in Hämeenlinnan, north of Helsinki, before moving to Paris. In 2012, almost immediately after graduating, he launched his first label, dedicated entirely to shoes. However it wasn’t long before his collaborations and consultancy work with major brands took over. The designer quickly made a name for himself with his unique creations, working with the likes of Marni to Sunnei, via Courrèges and Marimekko

In 2019, he launched a new footwear label, Ion. But that same year, he was recruited by Camper to take charge of Camperlab, the experimental line from the Balearic-based shoemaker, which propelled him a year later to Camper’s global creative direction. Within two years, he had brought a new creative energy to the brand, which proved to be a success in terms of sales.

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