Today we visited the sites of two
companies in the world of fashion: Sartorial Cavour Company and Mario Foroni Knitwear MF1. The two companies shared their planning and creation processes and answered all of our questions. Each company plays a unique role in their supply chains. Both companies sell both business to business and business to consumer, so they each play multiple roles in the supply chain.
Sartorial Cavour specializes in the men’s fashion sector of tailoring. Cavour manufactures for customers who directly buy from them and also sells to other labels like Ralph Lauren. Cavour does both completely custom tailored pieces and also takes measurements from companies like Ralph Lauren to mass produce. As tailoring has slowly become a dying art and small tailor shops are going out of business, much competition has actually become removed from Cavour. Because of their outstanding reputation and high quality, Cavour keeps a strong spot in the marketplace. To keep this business strong, Cavour should continue practicing its quality process and keep training and recruiting excellent workers that keep the shop the running. I think that Cavour should do more for training the youth in the art of tailoring and do more to get people interested and excited about the art of tailoring. The Florentine Leather School held a contest for its students every year to see who could create the best designs and reward them with their bag being featured in a line. I think if Cavour did a contest like that for its workers and students, it could gain some more interesting designs and innovation which could be beneficial for the propsperity of the company. Sartorial’s business structure is about perfecting the tailored suit. They are all about accuracy, skill, and time. Because they are so attentive to detail, their production process is much slower than that of a factory that makes general, low quality suits. Every day, Cavour produces about 60 suits. As a result, they must charge higher prices to account for the extra time and effort they put into their products being created buy the most skilled workers. Basic training for creation of suits takes about 2-3 months, however it takes years to become a master of the art. Each piece they make is designed to last ten years. Cavour’s inspiration is from the United Kingdom, which is known worldwide as being the champion and originators of the tailored suit.
Mario Foroni is a knitwear company that designs prototypes for both Mario’s own label and other designers like Stella McCartney, Gucci, and Dolce and Gabbana. MF1 uses complex computer technology to design and create beautiful knit designs which are turned into all kinds of fashion pieces. Patterns are designed in the computers which operate the machines that weave the yarn to knit the fabrics. These knitwear fabrics are used to create the prototype pieces for designer labels. Lots of time and energy is put into the designing and styling of the prototypes, as they must be perfect for the clients, or they will not be mass produced. Because the MF1 site we visited only creates prototypes and small quantities, they have to be the more attentive to detail and perfection. Even one wrong stitch could ruin their reputation and relationship with their clients. MF1 works with several high end fashion labels, which you could say are competitors in that they are all high end fashion brands. Despite this, each relationship MF1 has with its clients is special and exclusive to the client’s needs. There are other companies similar to MF1, and a way for MF1 to excel further than those companies is to maintain its outstanding reputation of quality and train the best of the best in knitwear. Mario said that the company is going to try harder to harness talent in knitwear by opening a school next to the site that trains in knitwear with the hopes that the graduates will continue their craft for MF1 and contribute to the company. I agree with Mario’s decision to open a school because I think that training the youth is an extremely important concept if you want to build a lasting legacy. One of the problems our tour guide mentioned was that you already have to be born with natural talent and that still is not enough sometimes, as the best of the best must also be trained by the best. When I look at the greatest companies in the world, I see that they are always moving forward. I think opening this school would be moving forward by recruiting talented youth and establishing a great learning base in knitwear for them.
After visiting Mario Foroni, we went back to Milan and had a relaxing dinner. The trip has been an incredible learning experience so far, from the site visits to the walking tours to practicing out Italian at restaurants. I am looking forward to our Bottega Velasca session tomorrow!