Size? on Italian

April 2024

Our friends at Size? explore the Fred Perry Shirt through the lens of fleeting Italian subculture, Paninaro.

Italian subculture Paninaro was a style born in early 1980s Milan by its local football supporters. AC Milan fans would gather in Piazza Liberty at a sandwich bar called Al Panino, dressing in a mix of the latest European designer labels and classic American staples. Like most things, their collective name: Paninari was appointed by a journalist and translates quite literally to ‘sandwich enthusiasts/eaters.’

As the style evolved and more youngsters joined the scene, the football element became less important, whilst the concept of dressing expensively, having impeccable style and projecting an image of success and prosperity came to the fore. The meeting place changed to Piazza San Babila in front of the Burghy Burger Bar and the scene exploded in popularity.

Photos of youths hanging out in Milan spread across all of Italy and pockets of Paninari popped up across the country, supported by various magazines and comics through the mid-to-late 80s. The scene fizzled out by the end of the decade, becoming a victim of its own success with a national TV show lampooning the Paninaro with a regular recurring joke character who caricatured their style and perceived shallowness.

In honour of this short-lived subculture, Size? went back to the exact spots that these groups would congregate in nearly 40 years ago. New Fred Perry pieces have been styled with original 80s Paninaro pieces, taken from the archives of TOO HOT and Fred Perry in London.