Day 12: Thursday’s Are For Designers (& a Farewell)

Hello again, Italy! I write one last time, as tomorrow is our last day here and it’s mostly for us to explore Milan on our own. Today, we checked out of our Verona hotel and hit the road early to visit three companies on the way back to Milan.

Our first tour was with Gruppo Sinergia, a logistics company that provides services for storing, packaging, and selling merchandise from other companies, similar to Amazon. However, Gruppo Sinergia differs from Amazon in a few ways. They choose to employ human warehouse workers over automated machines – this may seem like an antiquated idea, but Gruppo Sinergia recognizes that each of their clients use different shipping and packaging protocols that would be impossible to organize with a machine. In addition, employing workers ensures that each shipment can be personalized to a higher quality that businesses seek – this explains why they have been so successful. Gruppo Sinergia hasn’t lost a client in 10 years, so this model clearly has demonstrated a high demand within their clientele. It was very refreshing to see a company that does not specifically cater towards designer brands only – it felt very realistic and I could imagine myself employed in a similar company in the future.

Our next visit was to Sartoria Cavour, a local company that focuses on tailoring and manufacturing high quality men’s suits. I enjoyed seeing their giant sewing room – there were strings and threads strewn about everywhere while diligent workers operated roaring sewing machines. This quiet chaos spoke for itself; the suits we saw were breathtaking and of the most tasteful design. The presentation discussed many different types of fabrics used to make such suits, including silk, cashmere and bamboo. Bamboo is found to be only slightly more expensive than standard price, and it is much more resistant and long lasting than other materials. After the visit, we enjoyed freshly picked strawberries and admired the view of wildflowers and the Alps from Sartoria Cavour’s building front.

A view of Sartoria Cavour.
A close-up of the organized chaos at the production site.

Then, we stopped for lunch along the way to our next visit (special thanks to the Bursics for treating us!) and found ourselves at a castle in Valeggio sul Mincio, a province of Verona. It was a gorgeous day outside, so we stopped to enjoy the beautiful view before our last visit.

The view of the Fiume Mincio.

Long at last, we arrived at MF-1 Mario Faroni Knitwear Factory. This was our last company visit of the entire trip, and I enjoyed my time here thoroughly. Mario Faroni himself led some of the tour through the company, and he discussed many techniques in how to create a successful stitch of very high quality. In addition, MF created his own fashion school in September, which is housed above the company offices. Students learn how to style, tailor, and specialize fashions, and even get to model their work at a fashion show this coming July. My favorite part of this tour was the archives of fashions prior. We got to see a pair of Gucci pants worn by Madonna in concert, and we even got to see Versace’s last design (a colorful “Miami” sweater) before he was killed. These articles amazed me, and I can’t believe such high profile individuals seek out local Italian quality – it truly is the fashion capital of the world.

The group with Mr. & Mrs. Faroni at MF-1.

Since this is my last post, I would like to wrap up by thanking Pitt Study Abroad, Frank & Dr. Bursic, and all of my fantastic peers for making Plus3 Italy some of the most memorable weeks of my life thus far.

This has been a life-changing experience. I have gotten a unique look at the fashion industry, and have realized how well it integrates business and engineering. You can’t make a Gucci sweater without first ensuring that it has an enviously high customer demand, a streamlined design process, will generate a large profit, and is sustainable to manufacture in mass quantities.

Along with this newfound knowledge, I was lucky enough to see all of Italy’s beauty. From the hectic metros of Milan, to green Veronese countryside, and historic Venetian ghettos – I’ll cherish it all for many years to come.

As the famous Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi once said –

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy”.

Farewell, Italy – maybe our paths will cross again one day soon.

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