Upon studying the finer points of menswear over a period of time one becomes aware of the small details that make a garment, or pair of shoes, or a bag easier to use, easier to look at, and overall easier to live with...or not. Small things like the aglet of shoelaces, the side tabs of trousers, the shank of buttons etc, all add to the utility and overall productiveness of your wares. One thing we've been discussing lately amongst our peers in great depth are zippers. Most men do not pay attention to the zippers they use on their garments or their bags but these are some of the most important pieces without which your favorite garments and bags may not be your favorite.
Zippers are comprised of three major pieces:
Slider - The slider joins or separates the elements when the zipper is opened or closed. Various types of sliders are available depending on use.
Elements - The teeth, also known as elements, are the parts on each side of a zipper that mesh, or engage, with each other when passed through the slider. When the left and the right side teeth are engaged they are called chain.
Tape - Usually made of polyester, but depending on use, synthetic fiber tape, vinyl tape and cotton tape are also available.
Zippers are a fairly new invention. Buttons have been around far longer and are much more secure, but much like the rise of belts, zippers too have become an important piece of today's dress. All of the manufacturers we will discuss got have a healthy portion of their business in buttons.
YKK- YKK Corporation has been in existence since 1960 when it opened its doors in New York City. It is now head quartered in Georgia and are known globally as a leader in the fastening industry. YKK produces metal buttons and snaps, hooks and loops, plastic buckles and last but not least, zippers which are their claim to fame.
YKK zippers are offered in metal, coil and vislon. Metal is what is used most often on garments and bags. YKK's "Yzip" is their standard barer and is most often found on jeans, bags and other heavy-duty items which require a strong closure. All YKK zippers have their initials stamped on them and can be found on anything from Levi's jeans to Filson bags.
Lampo - Lanfranchi Lampo zippers have been manufactured in Italy since 1887. Giovanni Lanfranchi founded the company and started out making buttons based on the Corozo nut versions being produced in Germany. It wasn't until many years later in the 1940's that fasteners and zippers entered the equation. Lampo is synonymous with quality and luxury and are often used in a double zip format where the clasp of the zipper can be move from one side of the other in effect making it ideal for reversible garments. Many luxury garments today feature Lampo zippers.
RiRi - Another Italian based brand specializing in buttons and zippers. RiRi is the choice for many luxury bag makers and leather workers. Established in an old pasta factory in 1936 RiRi has grown to be a major force in the luxury fastening business. Famous for their smooth and tight fastenings RiRi zippers open and close easy and steady with small teeth which are attractive for manufacturers looking for a minimalist aesthetic.
Raccagni - A Spanish fastening manufacturer who was previously unknown to us before our introduction to luxury retailer Roztayger. Founded in 1983 Raccagni prides itself on its technological innovation, several certifications in the industry and the ownership of the Super "R" product which is the ultimate in luxury used by the likes of Tom Ford and high-end bag makers such as Bonastre.