MA.STRUM AW’11, interview with Donrad Duncan, Lorenzo Osti & John Sharp


As long time fans and collectors of menswear deity Massimo Osti’s various iconic labels, it’s comforting to know that his legacy is in safe sartorial hands. Both MA.STRUM’s Donrad Duncan and Massimo’s own son Lorenzo from the MO studios, are keen to push Osti’s spirit of innovation and continue to use hi-tech fabrics and textiles in a forward thinking way that we’re sure ‘Il Maestro’ himself would be incredibly proud of.

 The AW’11 MA.STRUM collection sees these two innovators join forces once more with a selection of pieces bearing the “Massimo Osti Archive” label, using exclusive fabrics rediscovered and transformed from Massimo Osti Studio’s Textile Archive. We caught up with Donrad, Lorenzo and newly appointed CEO John Sharp to find out a bit more about this impressive collection and to see which of them is the best dressed….


Proper Magazine: We should probably already know this as you’ve been around for a while now but where does the name MA.STRUM come from?

Donrad Duncan: I wanted to represent rhythm, life, music, something that connects everyone, which is how I came up with strum. MA is an abbreviation of Master of Arts. When the two parts are together, it represents mastering the art and rhythm of life.

 A selection of pieces from the latest collection AW11 from MA.STRUM bear the ‘Massimo Osti Archive’ label, can you tell us a bit more about these particular pieces and how they connect back to Massimo’s legendary work?

DD: Have you ever heard the saying “standing on the shoulders of giants”? I feel I have been granted this amazing access to that position. From his studio in Bologna, Massimo led the industry in inventing, experimenting with, and developing fabrics no one else was trying. He took function and utility and twisted it until it fit in a jacket in order to add a benefit to the wearer. Even though he was ahead of his time, we now have fabrics and technology that go even further. When I’m at the archive I have the advantage of seeing some of these products in what would have been their early stages and adding what is available today. I am designing pieces that use fabrics and accessories that are lighter weight, multifunctional, and unique to the market.

Lorenzo Osti: After few months of meeting, we begun to collaborate and initially decided to use the Massimo Osti Archive label on the garments that were most inspired by the Archive, mainly for the fabrics. As the collaboration extended, and Donrad visiting the Archive more and more often, it become clear to us that the whole project was influenced by the Archive, so we decided to extend the label to all the outerwear.

For us and our readers, the Osti archive itself is a collection we would all happily give our right arms for and should be awarded World heritage status such is it’s cultural importance. What is it actually like to be able to roam around and actually get your hands on all that archive clothing? Are you still unearthing new items/textiles? What are your personal favourite finds?

LO: My perspective on the Archive is quite subjective. I have literally grown up between thousands of garments: we had thousands at the studio, at home, we even had 14 containers full of jackets because the space was never enough. Sincerely, only few years ago I started to realize the value and the potential of this Archive, so I decided to classify all items: now they’re all photographed, barcoded and archived in a database searchable through different parameters. Despite that, yes, I still surprise myself in finding items I forgot about. My favourite are still some vintage military hi tech garments, such the aerospacial under-suits and underwater sealed suits from the 40’s and the 50’s.

Given that Massimo is one Proper Magazine’s genuine heroes/garment Gods, we have to ask you Lorenzo what was it like growing up with such a cool dad, were you the best dressed kid in the play-ground?

LO: Hahaha! Sincerely I don’t know, but I remember I was always trying to dress differently from my mates. I wasn’t looking to be “stylish”, but to express the way I was feeling different through what I was wearing.

John as a newly involved part owner of the brand how did you get involved with MA.STRUM and what is your background?

John Sharp: I have been working in the clothing industry for some 40 years now. I feel I have become accustomed to recognising a fruitful and inspirational brand and thus recognised the importance of Bonneville brand I subsequently went on to purchase. It was during my involvement of the purchase of Bonneville and also a mutual friend, that the Ma.Strum brand came to my attention. I was then made aware of the Massimo Osti involvement, and the archive situation, and was introduced to Donrad. I was invited with my knowledge of the markets to join the Ma.Strum brand and assist in the promotion and future success of what we all know to be a successful and inspirational design.

In answer to your question on my favourite article I enjoy to wear I believe my favourite piece to wear in the collection is the defence parker but I also enjoy wearing the tees and polo’s because of the design and quality.

Which items from the collection do you all personally wear the most? And who is the best dressed out of you guys?

DD: I have no one product that I wear the most. I tend to wear the pieces that I want to test, like this week I have been wearing an outerwear piece will be in the SS12 collection that is a light weight rain jacket made from parachute fabric and can be folded and stored in one of the compact front pockets, just like a parachute. As for who is best dressed, it’s all relative. Each one has their own personal style.

LO: My favourite fabrics is the Carbon Coated, and I still wear the first sample of Field Jacket in green and the limited edition made for Found-NYC.

There seems to be a key military theme running through the designs, which army/navy/air-force from around the world do you think has the best uniforms?

DD: There is not one particular uniform that I think is the best. I focus on the cut and the function. The archive has an amazing collection of military uniforms I use for inspiration, and when I travel I collect everything that has that utilitarian purpose, from buttons and fabric to jackets and bags.

As the Osti archive and MA.STRUM both share a futuristic attitude towards new textiles and design, what kinds of innovative fabrics do you think we’ll be wearing in ten years time?

DD: In ten years we will be utilising natural fibres as much as possible, and developing them to provide more benefit to the user. At the same time we will have advanced synthetic fibres to a whole new level. If you think wicking and temperature regulation are cool, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Speaking of the future, what can we expect from MA.STRUM in 2012?

DD: I’ve finished both of the 2012 seasons (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter) and am very excited about the collections. There will be about 12-14 new outerwear pieces in each season, including a few styles that will use a nylon twill with a subtle lustre that comes in midnight navy and our signature freight grey. I have added colours and yarns in the sweaters and jersey categories that people are really going to want to have. Also in 2012, I will be adding water-proof cotton trousers and travel bags as new categories.

If MA.STRUM was a film what would be on the sound-track?

DD: This ties back to my first answer. MA.STRUM is all about personal rhythm. Everyone moving together to their own drum. Every wearer has their own story and sound-track.

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