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In a marketplace flooded with $100 cashmere sweaters and dissembling messages about “accessible luxury,” it’s a bold thing to start a minimalist essentials line that frames a $695 crewneck as a value proposition. Yet that’s exactly what Davide Baroncini is doing with Ghiaia. He created the brand, which launched in the fall of 2019—the name, pronounced jhe-EYE-uh, is a reference to the beach pebbles found in his father’s native Sicily–partly in response to the fuzzy math that makes preposterously inexpensive cashmere possible in the first place. Cheaper sweaters are made from short, coarse cashmere goat hair that feels soft initially but pills almost immediately. Ghiaia, however, only uses the longer, finer fibers from the goats’ bellies, transforming them at a family-run facility in central Italy into remarkably soft and lightweight sweatpants, hoodies, polo shirts and other modern wardrobe must-haves. With his back-to-basics approach, Baroncini is betting that people will once again understand the value of simple but impeccably made foundation pieces that stay in rotation for years, not seasons.
His approach has resonated with Matches Fashion, the London-based high-end clothing retailer that’s making inroads with smart shoppers in the United States. This fall, the store started stocking a selection of Ghiaia’s wares alongside its considered edit of menswear brands.
“It is the epitome of craft and heritage, but with a modern twist,” says Damien Paul, the retailer’s head of menswear. Asked for a favorite piece, Paul points to the patch pocket ribbed cardigan. “It’s perfect for layering, exquisite quality and ultimately comfortable.”
But with an assortment like this one, it’s hard to go wrong.