by Chiara Spennato
MYAR is the anagram of ‘army’ and also the initials of Andrea Rosso, who founded the brand in 2015. MYAR, the original recovered military apparel brand, is a mix between army heritage, sportswear and streetwear. Today, the Italian brand is distributed in 30 stores worldwide. Meet Andrea, Creative Director of Diesel’s Licenses and first-born son of Renzo Rosso, owner of Diesel and the Only the Brave holding group.
MYAR gives second life to military garments. What specifically about the army life and clothing fascinates you so much?
I’ve always been drawn to military clothing, while shopping in various flea markets. Its functionality, durability, comfort, practicality, resilience, colour, shape and pattern (especially in the various camouflage) have always had more attraction to me than other garments. The military attire essentially dressed everyone, providing a common uniform style.
You spent your childhood in Bassano del Grappa, a city full of history in the North-East of Italy, from the Roman Empire to the Alpini bridge, do you think Bassano had an impact on your vision and creativity?
Let’s just say the nature around Bassano and my passion for new things have influenced most of my creative visions.
Do you enjoy sports at all? Would you say sportswear and streetwear have influenced the MYAR products?
Sports have always been present in my life, from snowboarding and surfing to playing football and running. That’s to say for both the military and sports world comfort is very important.
In 1994 you founded the streetwear brand 55DSL, now incorporated by Diesel. As the son of Renzo Rosso, have you ever felt pressured to create something big in fashion?
55DSL was born inside of Diesel. Even though my brother and I were passionate about sports, unfortunately we were too young to work full time at 15 years old. When I finished school, at 21 years old, the experience I had as creative director of 55DSL was really a unique one. Learning a lot about product, sales, retail and wholesale, business, music, graphics and art, all under a company as big as Diesel. I’ve never felt the pressure to create something great in fashion, but rather something that felt mine, with my money and passion. MYAR is the result of this: even if it’s microscopic, MYAR helps me to create without any constraint, that you’d usually experience in larger companies.
Half upcycled and half sartorial. Would you define MYAR as a sustainable brand? What does sustainability mean to you?
In 2014, I knew very little about sustainability. I always thought we have so much left over we don’t need, so we should use these scraps to make new things. I believe a sense of responsibility, or sustainability, was already inside of me, somehow. I’ve been really lucky, because I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of product around the world. So, my normal reaction is to create new things and reuse what we already have.
You see MYAR as a modern way of looking at the past, how do you give a second life to those perfect heritage pieces?
Every garment has its own history. We document everything creating a QR code for each garment, and the QR code contains meticulous research in respect to the past and records the processing steps of small Venetian tailors. The used garments we buy are selected one by one, because many are completely dirty or ruined, missing buttons and zippers. Many used garments are not even the original ones, but replicas. The selection is important. The garments are sanitised (we use the term ‘sanctified’) and then we start customising them, and this is also documented in the QR code. These garments will then have a future in the buyer’s hands, who’s now a part of MYAR. This is for us the modern way of looking at the past. This vision shows through MYAR’s organisation as well. It’s also a different way of working and looking for creative solutions.
MYAR started with a trousers collection. Today, it offers Hawaiian shirts, tops, bottoms and there’s even a capsule collection with Italian sneaker brand Superga. Where do you see the future of MYAR? Do you have any projects in mind?
Yes, of course! We have many projects in the works. We’re gathering up some MYAR allies in the art and music field. We’re going to create for other people, sharing out knowledge and experiences in upcycling. Creating a positive encounter between the past military use and the urban contemporary approach. One day, I’d like to be able to photograph all those who have worked with MYAR. I can’t wait to get started!
Ending on inspiration, do you have any special places in the world where you like to go? A special vintage market or an old bookstore, perhaps?
Yes, I have many! Japan has always amazed me, there’s some places in unknown streets of Tokyo, near Koenji, that have magazines and military books of all kinds. ‘Militaria’, in Novegro, is the flea market where I met many military fans and collectors. ‘Sabre Sales’, in Portsmouth (UK), is the shop that provided me with the best products and ideas for MYAR. The military world is very special: you get passionate about it and then you get to know everyone in this world, as it’s really small. Everyone has a story to tell and share, and you can get a lot of inspiration from all those stories, especially those of the older veterans. As a result of that, I became very intrigued by it and began to create.
Credits: Photo by Luca Zambelli