STYLE FILES: Hey Guys, Meet the Shoe of the Season

Italian quality and SoCal cool make Ermenegildo Zegna’s #UTE Triple Stitch sneaker a thing of understated beauty



When it comes to style, California has always done things differently. Instead of a power suit, for instance, Angelenos of influence tend to be spotted in artfully tattered jeans and a perfect white tee. Up in Silicon Valley, tech titans upset the Old World sartorial hierarchies when they embraced casual fare like the high-end hoodie and, in recent years, cashmere sweatpants. But above all, there’s the West Coast’s enduring embrace of the sneaker, a love that borders on obsession.


The #UTE Triple Stitch tote bag, $1,250, belt, $350, and sneakers, $750.


So maybe it’s a bit surprising that it’s an Italian label that has crafted a shoe so beautifully attuned to the breezy SoCal lifestyle. But that’s exactly what Ermenegildo Zegna has done with the #UseTheExisting Triple Stitch sneaker. A no-fuss slip-on with a sleek silhouette, this is a shoe that understands the casual glamour of a city like Los Angeles, where surfers, skateboarders and Hollywood moguls regularly rub shoulders and, in some instances, are one and the same. It’s like a cross between a sneaker and a driving loafer, perfect for days spent zipping between meetings in a Tesla Model X — not trudging on foot. Plus it’s understatedly chic, meaning it won’t look out of place at the San Vicente Bungalows or on a red carpet. And the luxe materials and cross-elastic detail that replaces traditional laces make the subtlest of nods to Zegna’s longstanding commitment to craftsmanship.


California has been on the forefront of ecological practices that protect the planet’s most valuable resources, and that’s a philosophy baked into Ermenegildo Zegna’s very foundation


Zegna and The Golden State share some other core beliefs, too, like their dedication to the environment. California has been on the forefront of ecological practices that protect the planet’s most valuable resources, and that’s a philosophy baked into Zegna’s very foundation. In fact, the #UTE Triple Stitch’s latest version comes in a gray felt accented by leather detailing in a rich and earthy color called vicuña, a nod to the llama-like animals of the same name (which are raised in Peru), whose fine, rare wools the brand uses in its garments. Zegna’s dedication to the environment is also reflected in Oasi Zegna (“Zegna Oasis”), a shining jewel in the Zegna family’s impressive crown. First established in the 1930s by the brand’s founder as an outdoor retreat for residents of the small villages near Zegna’s mills, today those lush rolling hills serve as a living manifestation of the brand’s desire to connect humans to the physical environment around them. That message is more urgent today than ever.


Oasi Zegna nature park in Piedmont, Italy.


Sustainability is a much-touted buzzword in the fashion industry right now, but it’s one that Zegna actually eschews, believe it or not. The company prefers specific actions to opaque terms. To wit, the #UseTheExisting campaign highlights the brand’s commitment to rethinking the life cycle of textiles and fabrics that would normally go to waste — ranging from finished, leftover textiles to unused fibers — and how they can be reworked into designs. For a family business deeply committed to tradition, it’s an incredibly forward-thinking initiative, as we in California also look toward the future of our planet.


Looks from the Ermenegildo Zegna XXX Fall/Winter 2021 collection. 


Feature image: The #UseTheExisting Triple Stitch sneaker, $750/pair, by Ermenegildo Zegna.


A version of this story originally appeared in the Fashionable Living 2021 issue of C Magazine.

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