Tailoring and Mario Foroni!

Today, on our tenth day in Italy, the group toured two companies. First, we visited Sartorial Cavour, a tailoring company for men that was created 30 years ago by two tailors. They began in a house with 7 employees and now has become a company with 37 members. Sartorial Cavour creates various suits and blazers with fabric that they import from countries around the world. Since they are a smaller company, they approach production by making only about 15% of their products fully tailor made. The other products are still created by hand, but there may be several of the same accessory produced. Also, because of their size, they often have trouble keeping up with the demand of clients. The second company that we visited today was Mario Foroni, a business that knits yarn to prototype fashion ideas of several high-end brands such as Gucci, Versace, and Armani. Since they are known to design for high-end companies, they base their approach to production on quality. Producing for high end brands exerts pressure on this company, so they face the challenge of training their workers to produce elite fashion. Today I would also like to address the theme value network principles for the Mario Foroni company, as they have to stick to a very strict protocol when designing and producing their various knitted products.

The company that was visited in the morning, Sartorial Cavour, is a small company located in Verona. They approach their production methods around both quality and profits. This is because they create both high-end suit jackets for companies such as Louis Vuitton, and middle end suits for up and coming companies in the fashion industry.

They are maintaining stable profits even through the current recession because of their skilled middle-aged men and women creating their reputable products. Currently, they are even working hard to extend their products overseas into the United States and are in the process of working with a potential client that would help them do so. Although Sartorial Cavour seems to be thriving, they have had some present troubles of producing a  large quantity of suits. They only yield about 60 suits per day and that is why only about 15% of them are fully tailor made. Every suit they make counts towards a large portion of their profits as they base their products on quality rather than fast fashion like H&M. For example, they create jackets that are able to last up to 10 years. Also Sartorial Cavour faces the problem of slightly unfitting suits because of people’s imperfections such as a natural dip in one’s shoulder. No skilled labor force can account for these imperfections. Lastly, they are facing a low supply of tailors, as women would much rather work in retail these days and make the same wage, than in a tailoring shop.

The second company we visited, Mario Feroni, as stated earlier, makes prototypes for various high-end designer brands. These products include hats, scarves, shoes, shirts, pants, and socks. Because of their emphasis on quality, they base their production on preciseness with their highly educated and trained workers. For example, to become a skilled programmer in this company, you must go through 5 to 6 years of training on the computer. The guide stated that some people even take a lifetime to become skilled enough to produce at the preciseness that this company demands. Mario Feroni differs from Sartorial Cavour in that they knit their products with yarn, rather than buy premade fabric. Because of their emphasis on quality, each prototype they create costs anywhere between 500 and 1500 euros. In addition, the tour guide mentioned that they sell their products at 10 to 11 times the price of the cost of the raw materials used to make it. Like any other company, Mario Feroni faces problems in their labor force. Something that is impossible to fix even when it is done by a skilled laborer, is the fact that ironing can enlarge a knitted product. This makes the product not match the proper size it was intended to be. Another inconvenience to this company is the amount of time it takes to train their workers. Even though almost all of their workers come from fashion schools, their high demand in quality makes them reteach their workers the way they want them to design. This costs lots of money, as well as delays in production. To fix this problem the company plans to create a secondary school that will be connected to the workshop. Once done with school, they will be employed by Mario Feroni. Now their high demand will hit an equilibrium point with supply.

The theme value network principles was apparent to me when we visited Mario Feroni. The tour guide explained to us how the products are always created in a strict manner of steps. First, the company meets with potential clients to form an idea. Next, the idea is computerized by the computer programmers. Then, the prices are separately knitted by machines that cost over 100,000 euros. After this, the product is assembled by hand. Lastly, the product is packaged for shipping. As far as inputs go, yarn is shipped to Mario Feroni by train, truck, or plane, from Italy, Japan, and China. These countries make the yarn by spinning cotton, polyester, or various other raw materials. The completed products are then also shipped to their consumers (mostly high-end companies) by plane, train, or truck. As mentioned earlier, things like the amount the product will shrink when first washing it or the amount the product will enlarge when ironing it, are the various contingencies that appear when creating it. Safety concerns are minimal but are more present when assembling the product because it is done by hand. Workers must be careful when threading with a needle. If the company uses fur from animals to create their product, they may encounter environmental factors such as animal cruelty and may have to deal with PETA. Lastly, as previously mentioned, the workers must first have gone to fashion school, then have been trained for 5-6 years before becoming skilled enough to work in this business. In conclusion, the two site visits today really interested me, especially the first one because my grandfather was a tailor from Italy. I am excited for the remaining days of our trip! Ciao!




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