< Take Me Back


In a slight departure from my usual posting style this week, I am covering a fledgling label just sprouting (literally) onto the scene quite close to my home here in Florence, on the border between Tuscany and Umbria, thereby supporting my belief in local production and local creativity, as well as those that need and deserve that support the most – new businesses with great ideas.


New label RIGHT AS RAIN is the culmination of a journey that started with a dinner conversation between two very different people, Francesco Mugnaini, the designer, and transplanted Scotitish farmer, Sebastian Runde, with a single belief in natural beauty and our connection to the environment.  The unlikely pair compared and discussed the differences between natural beauty and the man made concept, giving rise to the idea of a collaboration, and of giving nature a platform to play an active role in the design process of a new clothing line.


RIGHT AS RAIN designer Francesco Mugnaini designed a men’s and a women’s T shirt that idealizes the body, making strong references through the cut and fit to its natural form, as a means of visualizing our connection to nature, not our separation from it. The T shirt was considered the ideal starting point for this ongoing experimentation and discussion, as a simple unpretentious garment, it is an empty canvas on which nature could create its designs. The designs and processes they put their shirts through, are intended as just the beginning of a visual conversation on our place in the natural world, as well as an antithetical statement to an over romanticized view of nature, as a force to be conquered, or as a servant to our needs.  Celebrating our small but significant part in the natural order of things, RIGHT AS RAIN ‘grow’ and ‘harvest’ their T-shirts within a 25 kilometer radius – now that’s what I call local!

Runde, the farmer, grows most of his own food, cultivates olives and fruit, and breeds almost extinct and rare breeds of donkeys and goats.  Originally from Scotland, Runde found himself in a newly purchased sports car after a 17-year stint in Switzerland where he owned and operated his own advertising agency.  Only 15 yards from the dealership, and about 4 years ago, he realized the madness of his values and promptly gave the car away, along with most of his belongings, closed the agency, and with only 3,000 Euros in his pocket and not a word of Italian, moved to and a 200 year old farmhouse in the wilds of Umbria, where he finally found his real home.

Working with the expertise of local producers, Maglificio Pievese, the unlikely partners tested multiple organic materials, including silk, cotton, hemp and nettle, through various interactions with nature. They buried the test fabrics and fully finished garments in the organic soil of Runde’s farm, in a local stream, and covered them with leaves in the forest, some for months at a time.  Some materials became brittle and rough through their exposure, but one stood apart from the others, and integrated natures commentary on their process – organic silk, and the end result is shirt where nature is the textile designer.  The shapes, patterns and colors on each ‘harvested’ shirt are unique, and vary according to where the shirt was buried, as well as the time of the year and the length of time.   Each shirt is unique with a range of colors, patterns and sometimes holes that testify to their growth process, and that diversify in the extreme, ranging from purple through brown and black patterns, shapes and prints, some diffuse, some graphic.

Each unique, nature inspired T shirt is shipped in a recycled box without printing of any kind on it, and individually scented with distilled essential oils made from the plants and native ground of Runde’s organic farm and the surrounding area of Umbria, as a reflection of the fields, woods and warm summers days of the region where the T shirts were ‘harvested’.  The ritual of opening the box, requires breaking the seal to lift the lid to reveal the shirt and associated scent.  Each shirt is numbered with an individual product-ID that allows you to trace the shirts personal history, and access information on who, and under what conditions, your shirt was planted and harvested.   Representative of a belly button, and our connection to the earth the shirt was planted in, the metallic medallion bears the individual ID number of each shirt.


The collection now incorporates a silk screen printed line of men’s and women’s T-shirts made from 100% recycled cotton and polyester fiber, as well as the aged double layered T for him and her. So, what happens when a Milanese designer meets a Scottish organic farmer over a couple of glasses of good Italian proseco? They end up growing shirts of course!

Website: www.right-as-rain.com

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