Menswear's major trade fair, Pitti Uomo, is fast becoming the place to launch careers in the fashion industry and expand profiles – particularly if you happen to be Australian. Just ask Jarrod Scott.
The 28-year-old, who once had dreams of being an AFL player, is Australia's highest paid male model and the celebrity draw card at Peroni's annual VIP dinner. In a perfectly timed moment and coup for the beer brand, Scott was also freshly announced as the new face of Roberto Cavalli having just shot a men's fashion campaign that will debut worldwide in July.
"Coming to Florence and being part of the Peroni event is a great opportunity for me to appear in markets where I continue to do a lot of my fashion work," says Scott who has been a face of Givenchy, Tom Ford and walked exclusively for Chanel and Armani.
Not your average role model
For someone who dropped out of school at Year 10, life has certainly turned out roses. He works haute and high street brands, likes to race cars, run and cycle his bike for fitness and mental reprogramming.
"I'm here to make money and establish myself so by the time I am 30 I can say I've really made it. There's no point being lazy and looking back on what you could have done," he says.
This year, Peroni hosted their intimate dinner at Villa Salviatino. It was an invitation only soiree that pooled the brightest genes in the men's fashion world, both emerging and established identities.
Flying the flag
But along with Scott, the Aussie presence at Pitti couldn't be ignored this year with Guest Nation Australia shining a spotlight on our menswear talent.
Buyers from major international stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Matches.com are coming back for second appointments as they cruised the pavilion, discussing orders with Ten Pieces, Double Rainbouu, Sener Besim and Strateas-Carlucci.
Two Middle Eastern stores confirmed orders with sunglasses retailer Sener Besim while Corso Como is coming back to put a signature on the dotted line.
"I feel incredibly supported by Woolmark," says Melbourne-based Besim.
"The resources they have thrown on Australia means we've been able to stand out a lot. It's a tough gig showing in Europe because as a brand you get lost in the mix, but I cannot believe the response we've had in the pavilion this year, he adds.
Deals after hours
Double Rainbouu founders Toby Jones and Mikey Nolan are at Pitti for the first time as a brand. They got lucky with Isetan Singapore but insist it's late night bar discussions with buyers that also helps with transactions.
"We had a dinner with our UK distributor and then made our way to a bar in Florence where the big buyers are from Matches were hanging out," says Toby Jones.
"These buyers get swamped with cards at Pitti so you really need to be in their face and remind them who you are. I think that socialising aspect is very important in the Italian scene at Pitti," he says.
Ten Pieces duo Maurice Terzini and Lucy Hinckfuss have brought their androgynous lifestyle cool to Pitti – its sport chic with a nod to chiaroscuro dramatism.
"We're selling a lifestyle," says the owner of Bondi's Icebergs come fashion designer.
"Being at Pitti has been interesting for us as we're a very specific look," he says.
"There's a lot of conservative buyers out there but lots of compliments," he says.
"We're new to this but being part of the Aussie contingent has helped put us in the front and centre and you can't ask for more than that."