Inside Stòffa, the NYC Brand That Makes Stylish Men Want to Toss Out Their Wardrobes

Stòffa, with its ability to marry old-world craftsmanship with a modern infrastructure and aesthetic, feels like the answer to a problem you didn’t know needed solving. Maybe you feel that fashion is overwhelming or irrelevant to your life now. But you still want to engage with clothes in a more honest way. That’s what Stòffa can do. It’s practical and attractive but also particular. It’s certainly not for everyone but for the ones it is for, seeing it for the first time must feel like coming home.

Part of that, I think, is the specificity of the guy they design for. I spoke to Eric Mcneal, who has styled for the brand for many years now. He was introduced to Stòffa as a customer, booking what he thought would be a one-hour appointment. He left four hours later, with some clothes ordered, a job, and some new friends. “I fell in love with the story and how slow and intentional they are,” he says. “When you work for a brand and with a brand, it’s rare to feel so seen.”

“What drew me to the brand is the feeling that we all enjoy life, we have hobbies, we enjoy real things,” he adds. To that end, Mcneal notes that they don’t work with models, but what they refer to as “protagonists”: men (albeit handsome ones) who are not just professional mannequins, but real guys, often from their circle—surfers, professors, furniture designers, artists, entrepreneurs, many of whom just so happen to be customers. Madan’s father has modeled. “That influences our styling. How we start is with How are we feeling? We talk about life and movies and how we feel. I think, really, that is the start of how we shape the collections.”

Courtesy of Stòffa

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Courtesy of Stòffa

Ragosta and Madan’s upbringings were quite different. Ragosta grew up in Rhode Island and can recall his father, a lawyer, being fastidious about his presentation, a stylish man who shopped at the local men’s shop, Zuccolo’s, run by two brothers. Madan, on the other hand, grew up in India, where making one’s clothes was an ingrained part of daily life—there were no “brands,” per se, one just bought fabric, or was gifted it, and had their clothes made. “It was a conversation in the house, like food,” he says. And yet both men fell in love with the idea of clothes and how they’re made, and somehow ended up sitting across from each other in a workshop in Italy, at Isaia, where Madan worked on product development and Ragosta on the made-to-measure program. They felt a kinship, as both were the only guys in the room under 30, but also it became clear that they aligned on certain values of making clothes and that they could see themselves striking out on their own.

Now, a decade later, they have grown from those pop-ups to having 10 employees, eight of them full-time, not counting the workshops in Italy that they work so closely with. Madan calls them partners and notes they’ve been working together since the beginning.

“It took us a decade to get here,” says Ragosta, “but the concept was here, pretty much the same, since day one.”

“When we first came to this, there were two different worlds: designer luxury and craft,” says Madan. There are brands that know how to communicate a certain message through marketing, to create desire and engage with the zeitgeist, and there are others that just focus wholeheartedly on making things at the highest level they can, and hope that the right people will find them. Madan thinks Stòffa can combine these two ideas, and the store is the next step in blending them together.

“This isn’t a point of completion for the brand, obviously, but it does feel like a milestone—because we’ve grown deliberately, on our own terms, and it’s taken us a minute to get there,” says Ragosta. “But, yeah, this does feel like the full realization of what we’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

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