Today, before going back to Milan, we visited two companies that were part of the Consorzio from yesterday. The first company was called Sartoria Cavour. It was a fashion production company that focused on men’s suits. The man who started the company was originally a tailor, so he was extremely concerned with making sure that all of his suits fit well and that people could order custom suits. He said that in terms of what his company makes, 15% of it is just custom ordered suits by local Italians and the other 85% is him high end suits for other companies. For example, Ralph Polo Lauren could come to him with specific measurements for a suit and he would have to make sure to make however many that he was asked. In his case, it wouldn’t be very many because his company was more about quality of the suit over being able to mass produce it. He could only make along the lines of 60 suits in a day, so he couldn’t make enough for global production. This means that he needs to make sure that he can maintain and stress this quality when working with his clientele because he can’t compete with the companies that are able to make more faster than he can if they are able to have the same level of quality as he is. In terms of a skilled workforce it seems like nearly all of the company’s actual workers are woman who are over the age of 40. It’s very difficult for the company to get young people to want to do the sewing for his company. He said that the young people would rather just work in retail and sell the clothes as opposed to sewing on the automatic machines all day. This makes it hard for him to find enough people to work at the store, but luckily they aren’t massive factories, so they don’t need all that many workers anyways.
The second place that we went to was Mario Ferroni. This place was more well known for its clientele than the last business. Mario Ferroni’s clients include Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Armani, and Kanye West. There’s many other, but those are just a few. The company is designed in such a way to be able to quickly and effectively create what are referred to as prototypes. This means that if a company wants a very small batch of clothes that aren’t meant for mass production. It’s more about the company being able to see what the clothes look like and feel like and have kind of a small test batch. This means that they have to be ready and able to make a small amount of clothes with good quality in a relatively quick period of time. They also maintain an archive of everything that they’re made since 40 years ago, which is good for inspiration and for recreation of their many high end lines of clothing. Yet again, this business suffers the problem that not many young Italians want to be joining the fashion industry as a mere worker. In order to combat this, Mario Ferroni is trying to start a school for the Italians to learn this. They also would have a sort of campus right next to the company so that these people would be able to be trained and then hopefully join the company and work for him. This would incentivize them by making it more of a learning experience where they can improve their skills and learn somewhat of a trade rather than simply working a factory job as a young person.
A little more in depth on Mario Ferroni as a company. In terms of raw materials, the company would need different kinds of thread, which they get from all over the world, but mainly Italy. They need all of the different sewing machines in order to have the quick and automated process rather than having to hand sew the clothes. They don’t distribute the products to the consumer themselves, but rather they send it back to the client that requested the small batch. A big concern within all fashion industry is the concern of wasting fabric when creating different designs. Luckily, Mario Ferroni is a knitwear company which means that there is much less waste because they don’t need to cut and overstitch their clothes. They need to make sure to minimize waste with this otherwise they would be much less environmentally friendly. Some safety concerns with this could be that perhaps a worker could get stabbed with a needle while operating the machinery or that their hair could get caught. This is avoided by having it so that there is a guard around the needle so that nothing can go under it and get caught. The needle never fully comes out. In terms of the workforce, they usually get most of their training on the job, but luckily Mario Ferroni is trying to pioneer his own school with a Masters in fashion in order to make it so that there is more of a workforce in an industry that many Italians don’t want to enter as a mere factory worker.