Today I was fairly sick and was unable to attend most of the site visits, but I thought I would write a shorter blog about some of the information I was able to obtain from the Mario Feroni knitwear company. I was only able to tour some of the factory before I felt sick again, but I learned some interesting things.
First, the company’s main focus is on the quality of their goods, but since their customers care about quality and price, it is necessary for MF1 to balance these two aspects as much as possible. Since the company works with top designers such as Gucci and Kanye West, however, they are able to make more expensive goods. They frequently use a production method called full fashioning, which is making the wool already in the exact pattern needed for each piece of the garment instead of having to cut it out of a larger piece of wool. This makes the process more precise and efficient but is also more expensive for MF1. Overall, since Mario Feroni’s products are all top quality, extra attention to detail and therefore extra costs are worth it and necessary to their brand. In fact, most of their high end knitwear is sewn and finished by hand in the factory. It is no wonder Gucci sweaters are so expensive.
In addition, the basic facts of the company can tell a lot about more in depth traits of the company. For example, its business structure dedicated to quality, somewhat artisan work is seen in their production method through their factory. When you enter it, there are many people simply using sewing machines or stitching by hand. It was clearly not a center for mass production. Each person was putting time and consideration into the pieces they were making. Also, in regards to the labor force, I believe it is becoming harder for many companies in Italy to find a skilled Italian source of labor. Unfortunately, I did not get to hear this part of the presentation, but I believe this is the reason Mario Feroni has opened his artisan knitwear school; he is attempting to get more people involved in his craft. This is similar to what we saw in the Florentine Leather School, as artisans and craftsmen are generally in low supply today.
In conclusion, I was sadly only able to gather this much from the site visits today. I am glad I had the opportunity to see the MF1 factory. Thank you for understanding.