On our way back to Milan today, we visited two companies; Sartoria Cavour Tailoring company and Mario Faroni Knitwear company. These two companies were vastly different but both extremely successful. The Sartoria Cavour Tailoring company specializes in men’s suit jackets and suits, whereas the Mario Faroni Knitwear company focuses on knitted goods in all markets.
The Sartoria Cavour Tailoring company bases its business off of both a business to direct client relationship as well as to big names like Polo Ralph Lauren. Because the company does a lot of business with clients directly, the product is being more customized for the consumer and less people would be involved in the process. The have a smaller factory, with less workers. The Mario Faroni Knitwear company is essentially a primary manufacturer that sells to a primary consumer, who then sells to a secondary consumer in stores or online. This causes for many more machines and workers as well as more “creative space” for clients to get ideas and inspiration.
The Sartoria Cavour Tailoring company faces challenges in regards to a skilled labor force due to the fact that tailoring in general is a dying profession. Less and less women are entering this profession because they would prefer to work somewhere else, and they have discovered that machines do not do the same quality job that a human being does. A machine does not account for imperfections like a real human does when creating the suit coat. With only 37 current employees in the company, a goal is trying to fill the gap and compensate for less and less individuals entering the tailoring profession. They are trying to do this by trying to find markets, streamlining clients, and trying to innovate. However, this of course takes a long time, so it is still a work in progress for the Sartoria Tailoring company.
The Mario Faroni Knitwear company faces challenges in the skilled labor force because programmers for the machinery must be passionate and good at their jobs. When on our tour, our guide explained that if you are not passionate for what you are doing, then you are less likely to be good at it. She explained that machines and technology, although incredible and innovative, cannot completely take over the job of humans, because the price for a product would be extremely high since the machinery costs so much. The customer just wants a good price for an item, so the company can often find itself in a limbo of using the same techniques and knitwear. It can take a very long time to become an expert at this profession, up to two plus years. Our guide also explained to us that it also involves following your instincts and having a knack for fashion, then she named various designers such as Armani (who was a doctor!) and Versace that had never been to fashion school but were aware of the ever changing fashions around them and succeeded in their fashion endeavors. The company plans on opening up its own school soon to bring in more skilled designers and programmers in fashion to help increase their skilled labor force.
The “organizational culture” of the Mario Faroni Knitwear company is unique in the sense that it is both very formal and highly organized, but is also very unstructured and allows for creativity. For example the main conference rooms and side room are placed for clients to come and discuss ideas and allows for the company to think of new and innovative designs. The upstairs also contained the massive and ever growing archive, which also serves as a source for creativity and innovation. However, the Mario Faroni Knitwear company also is very formal and organized in its production line. The yarn and string is all very organized in a back supply room, and the programmers are right outside of the machinery room working on the logistics behind the design and the machinery. After the pieces of a product are produced, they must be washed, dried, and hand stitched together. They then have to be ironed, and during all of these steps employees are checking for defects within the product. It will lastly be sent to the quality control team, who make sure there are absolutely no imperfections before sending the product to the client. This process is very rigid and is not as subjected to creativity and flexibility.
Today’s tours have been an incredible experience and has allowed me to appreciate the fashion supply chain even more!