With three company visits on our line up, day 12 was jam packed. First, we went to Gruppo Sinergia, a company that performs several functions for its clients, including distribution and warehousing. They look to make logistical improvements in the shipping process. In their ten years of operation, they have never lost a client, which is super impressive. They have 4 warehouses and about 70,000 SKUs. It was pretty interesting to get a behind the scenes look at the shipping process that modern consumers demand to be both quick and free. While they do not have the speed abilities of competitors like Amazon, their advantage in the marketplace is that they can do more customized shipping because they are smaller. I found the whole visit to be surprisingly cool, and the concept of logistics is definitely something I’d like to look into further.
For our second company visit, we walked down the street to Sartoria Cavour and were each greeted by handshakes from the owner. They specialize in custom made men’s suit jackets, and have for 30 years. While there are normally 30 tailors, there were less today because of the current transition between seasons. This company also does commissioned work for brands like Ralph Lauren. The owner gave us a tour and then showed us how a proper suit jacket should fit by picking apart our chaperone Frank’s outfit. This company absolutely won my heart when provided us with fresh picked strawberries and other snacks to eat outside in the sunshine. The strawberries were absolutely incredible. I’ve found that the fruit here is so much more delicious than fruit in the United States. It will be pretty hard to go back to United States strawberries after this experience.
For our last visit of the day, we drove to MF-1. This was one of my favorite visits of our trip. They manufacture knitwear for high end brands like Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Louis Vuitton. It was easy to tell how renowned this company is from the lobby display of thank you cards from the most famous designers in the fashion world. The owner, Mario Foroni, came with us through the entire tour. At first, he looked like a typical old man. With a closer examination, however, I noticed that he was donned in a Gucci sweater and Yeezys. In fact, everyone working in the company was dressed beautifully. In Italy, people seem to have a great appreciation for fine clothing that people in the United States don’t have. I really admire that they invest in a few staple pieces of incredible clothing rather than a bunch of pieces of junk from Forever 21. Buying quality over quantity is certainly a more sustainable approach to fashion, which is a topic we discussed in our pre-departure meetings.
Throughout the tour, it became apparent how much drive and passion one must have to be successful in the fashion industry. Our tour guide told us that last September, Céline called her at 2am demanding a sweater to be made for their fashion show by 7am. The employees had to rush to the office in the middle of the night to create the sweater and avoid losing an important client. From our tours of various companies, it seems that the great work-life balance typical in Europe does not exist in the fashion industry.
The company was so warm and welcoming to us and wanted to take many group pictures. It was such a treat to tour the company and see many prestigious brands’ fall/winter collections. Today was a little tiring but very worth it. Overall, it was such a great end to our company visits of the past two weeks.