When it comes to shopping, finding a truly unique piece is the best part, which is the philosophy of Italian streetwear label Exkite, founded by ex-pro kite surfer Renzo Mancini and Creative Director Eirinn Skrede. The duo, who are also married, aim to communicate a story of the past and adventure through each of their one-of-a-kind lightweight jackets. Now they are launching a capsule collection of 12 limited-edition pieces—four of which are XO Barneys jackets, parkas, and vests.
The idea to create jackets out of pre-flown kites came to Mancini and Skrede when Mancini found his garage full of kites he was testing while working for a prominent kite maker. “I really didn’t want to throw them away because, for me, every kite reminds me of some stories, some adventure—so it was really hard for me to get rid of it,” Mancini explains.
Like fate, Mancini met Skrede the same year he thought about giving the kites a second life. With Skrede’s background as a fashion stylist, making jackets out of the used kites was a clear answer. It also helped that the wind durability of a kite translates quite well as an outerwear piece. Mancini and Skrede believe the wearer can more closely feel the stories and the sense of adventure in a jacket. Additionally, each one includes a special label stating who flew the kite, where, and the original model of the kite. No two jackets are exactly the same.
“We collect kites from individuals, schools, athletes, and the test center, so the story may vary a lot,” Mancini says. Some are old and flown across the world, while others were flown much more recently. Of course, they initially started with Mancini’s own kites.
Now the eco-friendly jackets include a batch made with two exclusive surf kites by Exkite featuring a Barneys New York logo. As seen in the video, the kites started in the hands of Mancini, but there were also various individuals the label reached out to who got the chance to kite surf around the world. From Sardinia, Italy—home of Exkite—to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Spain, France, Norway, and back to Sardinia, the kites flew across continents for three months.
Exkite’s unique film project lends itself to the creative, free-spirited minds of its founders and the stories they want to tell. Mancini and Skrede thought this would be an exciting way to create exclusive pieces for Barneys, and it’s exhilarating to see the custom kites flown across various lakes, rivers, and oceans before the jackets are created.
“When they really get to understand the story behind the clothes, that it’s not just a jacket or windbreaker, that’s when [our clients] melt down and go out with five jackets instead of nothing. So I think the story is extremely important for Exkite. That’s what we are,” Skrede says.
As for arriving at Barneys, Mancini and Skrede could not be more thrilled. For Mancini, he says this is a success in communicating his passion for kite surfing to others who may not have known much about it. He’s also found a sense of belonging in fashion, where he’s learned more about Skrede’s background and has begun looking at kites from a different perspective. Says Skrede, “It’s nice because we have some really great shops here in Europe, but the steps to go to the States and with Barneys represents that there can be [something] better. It’s really, really top.”