I want people to live in my clothes — a feature with Alessandro Tondolo
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Alessandro Tondolo has mastered the art of slow design. The eponymous label’s first official Menswear Collection was presented at Somerset House during London Fashion Week. Rather than creating a new collection, Tondolo focuses on refining and expanding his MA Graduate Collection, COHAERESCO. “I’m always trying to find the final form of the clothes and keep going until it is perfect.” It’s refreshing to meet a designer with such a distinct design style, rooted in Tondolo’s interest in the relationship between humans, design, and nature. 

In 2023 Tondolo graduated from Central Saint Martins with a MA in Fashion and was jointly awarded the Canada Goose prize for sustainability in his graduate collection. The prize was recognition of Tondolo’s commitment to using sustainable practices and materials throughout the design process. The brand’s latest collection UNATIO ADUNATIO is Latin for “union” or “uniting” and keeps the natural world and sustainability at the forefront of the collection. Tondolo uses organic forms and the form of fungi as design inspiration. “The fabric textures are informed by different scopes, ranging from microscopic connections found in hyphae, a filamentous structure of a fungus, and mycelium networks, to extensive colonies of mushrooms and lichen.”  From mushroom-shaped bags, to textiles that mirror the shape of mycelium, to a jacket that echoes the shape of the Cortinarius Rubellus that shrivels when it dies, to gilled trousers, Tondolo’s designs are textured, layered and distinctive.

Tondolo initially wanted to use mushroom leather for the collection, but after researching the contents realised it was made from synthetic materials. With sustainability at the core of his brand, the designer opted to use eco-leather from the food industry which avoids harming animals and is better for the planet. “The materials in this collection are all nature-based with an emphasis on recycling and upcycling.” In the mushroom kingdom new life can rise after mushrooms decompose. Tondolo’s upcycling – like mushrooms – shows the power of rebirth and regeneration.

Not only does the brand’s clothing reflect forms in nature, they also reflect Tondolo’s respect and love for the natural world. “The collection is inspired by the structures in nature that complement each other, as opposed to the often self-centered interactions by individuals in society. Tondolo draws on symbiotic behaviours in nature, which create interconnective structures.” Through the clothing having warm and earthy tones and being ethically sourced, the brand is a reminder that humans can coexist beautifully with the natural world and also produce clothing with the planet in mind. 

It is very important for Tondolo that the clothes look distinctive, but have functional components. The bags have generously sized interiors and trousers have pockets that look subtle yet have the space to hold treasured items. The clothes are designed to be worn for multiple occasions– from work to dinner, to a wedding—  focusing on the quality and feel of each piece. “My designs are not extremely loud. I want people to live in my clothes.” The beauty of the UNATIO ADUNATIO is the sheer craftsmanship and level of detail embedded in the fibres. 

Tondolo’s official first menswear collection reflects the power of interconnectivity and co-existence between humans and the natural world. “The only way forward is to understand our interconnectivity with others and that we must work with nature – not around or against it.” It is inspiring to see a brand, slowing down the design process to create beautiful and functional clothing, showcasing Tondolo’s exceptional craftsmanship and love for the natural world. 

Written by Amber Weir from GLITCH Magazine

Words by Alessandro Tondolo, Founder of Tondolo



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