Ex-pro kiter Renzo Mancini turns retired kites into extremely weatherproof (and extremely wearable) jackets.
Renzo Mancini has spent most of his life kiting. For 17 years, he test piloted kites and even worked in the Research & Development department of Wipika, a pioneering kite maker. During a particularly blustery Sardinian summer, he was inspired to give new life to a garage full of retired kites.
Mancini shared his idea with Norwegian stylist Eirinn Skrede, and the two founded eXkite, a collection of clothing primarily made of retired kite materials. Made in Italy, the label specialises in colourful outerwear made of repurposed ripstop from kites donated from around the world.
“Behind every piece there is a story, there is a person, there is somebody that’s been flying the kite in a different part of the world and experiencing different stuff,” says Mancini.
Indeed, inside each bomber, parka, or gilet is a label that indicates the kite’s previous owner and the location where it was last flown. Since these old kites can’t be resold due to use, and have too much sentimental value to the owners to simply be thrown away, they are more than happy to donate their kites to Mancini, where they’ll get a new lease on life as a weatherproof piece of outerwear.
“When people give me the kites, they are so happy that I will do something with them,” he says. “It would be nice in the future to connect the people buying the jackets with the people who give the kites.”
To that end, Mancini’s next dream is to create a small-scale social network linking eXkite customers with the kiters whose retired gear comprises the goods. Tying into the importance of sustainability with the modern consumer, almost every part of each kite is implemented into the collection.
A line of cotton basics like jersey sweats and t-shirts include a pocket or similar design detail made from repurposed kite material. eXkite’s foray into the bottoms category includes a neoprene-like jersey made into a pair of sweat shorts with contrast ripstop on one leg.
These layering pieces can be worn underneath the heavier jackets, and is a way of channeling the brand in a subtle way. As Mancini puts it: “You carry the story, but not massively.”
With its signature mix of casual athletic styling, sustainable manufacturing, and attention-grabbing colour stories, eXkite offers an interesting proposition to consumers looking for casual clothes that not only look good, but do some good for the environment.