If you are a fan of some of the finest men’s Italian and French luxury houses in the world, chances are you have come across Belvest. Belvest has built its reputation as a crafter of clothing for some of the most famous brands around, which use the Belvest product under their own name. Family runs deep throughout the company. While Aldo Nicoletto founded the company in 1964 on the outskirts of Venice, Italy, Belvest has since been passed down two generations and is currently being managed by Mr. Nicoletto’s grandson Riccardo Della Piazza. The garment factory today is located in Padova, Italy (200km east of Milan), and employs more than 300 people who craft some of the finest jackets, suits and overcoats on the planet. Many of the employees are also following in the steps of they’re parents who also themselves worked for Belvest, showing that la familia continues to be at the center of Belvest’s values.
Watch:Belvest – Made to Measure
Poggianti was founded in 1958 in Forcoli, a small town in the middle of the Tuscan countryside. Originally, Poggianti did not create its own shirts, but manufactured its products to be sold by some of the finest Italian designers of the time. It wasn’t until the early 90’s when Poggianti 1958 was officially born, a collection of men’s shirts that would be offered under its own brand name. Poggianti has always believed in the true definition of “Made in Italy”, proudly continuing to entirely produce the highest quality shirts in their factory in Peccioli. These shirts are sewn by the expert hands of each of the company’s seamstresses in house, and are cared for down to the final detail. This attention is followed closely which gives the customer a shirt with the perfect combination of high quality, originality, and pure elegance.
Fritz Hiltl was a German master tailor who had the dream of offering bespoke-style trousers to all of his customers. With the help of his wife Hedwig in the small southern German town of Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Hiltl pants was born in 1955. Initially, only 20 pairs of pants were being produced daily – a big difference to the much higher number today. Hiltl’s motto is “the best of pants” and prides itself in offering a vast choice of colors, fabrics and fits.
After spending years learning from arguably the best Italian leather glove maker in history, Dante Trussardi, Valentino Mazzoleni started his own brand in 1958. The same can now also be said of Mr. Mazzoleni’s son Luigi, and his son Valentino, who are both now continuing the tradition of great artisan glove making from their father/grandfather. Mazzoleni gloves have one main philosophy: true art accepts no compromises. The company is proud to have never given into the temptation of lowering the level of its quality for the sake of increasing production. Manufacturing at its best – Mazzoleni does not simply see its products as gloves, but as pieces of art. Selected from the best cashmere and leathers, each Mazzoleni glove comes from a unique creative process which is always enhanced by the personal touch of the artisan. Mazzoleni gloves are sought-after by the most important fashion houses in the world because they have recognised and appreciated what it truly means to be “Made in Italy.”
Borsalino has been an ambassador for Italian savoir faire around the world since 1857. The hats are still made in Alessandria and reflect both an industrial approach and the spirit of craftsmanship. To make a felt hat, over 50 operations must be performed by hand, and the work takes seven weeks. For some hand-woven straw hats, as much as six months are required from start to finish.
Giuseppe Borsalino is credited with the invention of the hat shape. The story of how that happened is worth telling.
In the mid-19th century, the bowler hat was the hat men wore in formal settings. During the Risorgimento uprising of 1869, Cristiano Lobbia, a member of Parliament was attacked in Florence, then the Italian capital and seat of the national Parliament. He received a blow to his head, denting his bowler hat. This accidental crease (“the gutter”) became a distinctive look and style, which was renamed Lobbia in Italy (also known as the homburg) in honour of the member of Parliament, became a firm fashion item. However, early 20th century manners dictated that hats should be raised to a lady, and the homburg didn’t allow for a quick and easy movement. And so Giuseppe Borsalino decided to modify its shape: he pinched the front sides with his fingers, creating two dents that form a hold on the hat. The outcome is the perfect combination of curves and lines, a revolutionary shape that became a symbol of Italian design around the world.
Some manufacturers have the fortune of being able to tell a great story of their beginnings, Johnstons of Elgin is one of them. Over 200 years ago on the banks of the River Lossie in Elgin, Scotland, Alexander Johnston established the Elgin Mill in 1797, which is still being used at its original location to this day. These 200+ years have given Johnstons of Elgin time to become absolute experts in the tradition of textile manufacturing using only the highest quality of natural fibres. Specializing in luxurious Cashmere and fine woolens, Johnstons of Elgin are the only manufacturer in Scotland to maintain the capability to take natural fibres from their raw state, through every stage of the process, to perfectly finished products. These products require over 30 different processes as they transform raw fibre into luxurious Johnston of Elgin pieces.
Innovation has always been a driving force for Johnstons of Elgin. James Johnston brought the first bale of Cashmere into the UK in 1851 and quickly developed a system for the mechanical processing of the fibre, many decades before other British mills. The company continues to champion new technology, such as state of the art software to transfer hand-drawn designs onto digital files, allowing the most detailed of patterns to be woven into fabric. A commitment to innovation has allowed Cashmere and Merino Wool products to be produced in feather-light weights, establishing Johnstons of Elgin as a brand for all seasons.
Johnstons of Elgin honours its rich history while embracing its exciting future. Timeless luxury, made in Scotland.
Made in Tuscany, Ingram shirts have evoked style and high quality since 1949. Fabio Inghirami, founder of Ingram, was a trailblazer and keen observer of customs and their changes. The development of the Ingram brand throughout the 60s and 70s was based on the importance of embracing fashion without compromising one’s personal style and elegant roots. Ingram was the first branded shirt to be labeled with the famous “Made in Italy” slogan.
A third-generation family business, Zampiere has been producing handmade shoes using only the finest Spanish and Italian leather for over 50 years. Based out of Zaragoza, Spain, Zampiere strives for each client to feel unique, so they craft each shoe with its own personality. These shoes are not meant to be only seasonal, but ones that could be worn year round and enjoyed for generations.
A sister company under the umbrella of the German textile manufacturers “Heinecke & Klaproth”, M.E.N.S. is the name of the brand which is used to sell trousers internationally. Founded in 1901 in Hannover, Germany, the manufacturer is now run in the fourth generation of the family and continues to keep to its original values of creating the finest pants for a vast range of tastes. M.E.N.S. provides its retailers with only 5 collections each year, keeping its attention on the reliability, service, and quality. The 5 collections are always falling under the company’s three product groups: “Cotton, Denim & City”, this allows M.E.N.S. to focus on specific styles that keep to the company’s vision.
In 1966, Umberto Vallati, at the time a skilled craftsman in a small village in the Marche region of Italy, acquired a company which was locally famous for decades in the field of knitwear production. Over the next 4 years he took the time to invest in the best production technology around with one single purpose; to design, produce and distribute the highest quality knitwear in the world. With this, in 1970, the brand “Umberto Vallati” was born. Fueled by a 12,000 square meter manufacturing factory named “Manifattura Italiana s.r.l.”, Umberto Vallati can say with pride that all of its pieces are exclusively “Made in Italy”. This factory houses a full production line from start to finish, but also has a fully functional area for stylistic research, which allows its standards to never drop. At Manifattura Italiana s.r.l., the finest raw materials are combined with ancient artisan techniques by a workforce which demands perfection in every piece. Now in the Vallati family’s third generation, Umberto Vallati has collaborated with some internationally recognized brands such as Versace, Francesco Smalto, and Verri.
In the world of fine jewelry, it is impossible to look past Babette Wasserman. After learning her trade at Central St Martins College of Art, she launched her jewelry brand in 1997. Almost immediately her first collection was launched in some of the most important independant and department stores in the UK; John Lewis, Matches, Selfrides, and Harrods along with others. To this day, Ms. Wasserman remains the principal designer and Creative Director of the brand. The women’s jewelry range is completely crafted from sterling silver using semi-precious stones and crystals. On the men’s side, one can find cufflinks, men’s bracelets, lapel pins, tie bars, money clips and much more. Babette Wasserman has also made it to the international stage with collaborations on brands such as LVMH, Prada, Karl Lagerfeld, and Kenzo.
Heinrich van Laack founded his company in 1881 in Berlin with one thought in his mind: to manufacture the best shirt in the world. His vision has been carried out to this day as van Laack sets the highest standards in quality and bases those standards on its many years of experience in manufacturing high-quality shirts and blouses. The three-hole-button, manufactured using the Trochacea deep-sea snail, was invented by Heinrich van Laack and has been used to this day as the distinguishing feature of a van Laack shirt. Not just focused on production, van Laack focuses on innovation to push those standards set over 130 years ago. An example of this is the creation of “Air Cotton” in 2013 – a cotton that is 30 percent lighter than all conventional delicate cotton fabrics and gives a more unique airiness to the shirt, creating a new experience in comfort.
For the modern man, Richard J. Brown provides the perfect modern Italian luxury denim. While the young company may not have a rich history as other fine Italian producers, its timeless values and dedication to innovation and creativity make Richard J. Brown one of the most exciting denim producers in the world. Production takes place in the heart of the Milanese fashion industry, located within the compound of the former Richard Ginori factory. Here, study and research begin with materials of the highest quality including cotton and denim of Italian and Japanese origin, and are paired with products from the best textile manufacturers including precious cashmere and silk blends. The production is entirely supported in Italy and is entrusted to the professionalism and meticulous care of the highest skilled artisans available. A defining feature of any RJB trouser is the hand stitching on the back pockets. These are sewn by expert embroiderers with the finest yarns, which are used to reflect the colours of the jeans to ensure the cleanest final look.
In 1951 in a village near Barcelona (Caldes de Montbui), Josefa Torras and her son, Joan Serra, decided to start their own textile company specialising in knitwear. A decade later, they began to combine knitwear and leather, creating an innovative concept aimed at men and women who love exclusiveness and elegance.
Originally, the brand J. Cheaney was created in 1886 by Joseph Cheaney when he and his son Arthur started making shoes in Northamptonshire, UK. In 1903 that name changed to Joseph Cheaney & Sons when his second son Harold joined the business. Joseph Cheaney & Sons produce some of the United Kingdom’s finest shoes which are completely handcrafted from start to finish, using only the highest quality calf leather available. The shoes are all made on-site in the company’s factory in Northamptonshire, which is still being used in its original location today.
Throughout the First World War, the factory remained very busy producing around 2500 pairs of shoes per week, supplying the war efforts. During the Second World War, the company did not produce under its own brand name but instead crafted shoes for other large retail groups in the UK and USA. In 2016 Joseph Cheaney & Sons won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, recognized as the most prestigious business award in the UK, awarded to only the most outstanding companies or individuals in their field. Keeping to England’s international reputation of the finest shoemaking, Joseph Cheaney & Sons is truly a leader in their field.
In 1956, Mr. Ricardo Fragueas Álvaro, realizing that there was not a great variety of dress shirts offered to men throughout Spain, founded MIRTO. He set out to offer higher quality shirts along with new designs. The shirt remains the focus of the company’s creativity because, but it has since expanded to other fashion products for both men and women. MIRTO has been distinguished with the National Fashion Award in Spain which is granted by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. Each garment requires over 18 pieces of cloth selected from the finest textile manufacturers in the world. It then goes through more than 80 independently controlled processes to be completed.
Watch:Soul of Shirt
Founded in 1934 by the textile manufacturer Hans Bäumler under the name Hans Bäumler Herrenbekleidung in Mainz, Germany, the suiting company moved its headquarters to Ingolstadt in 1944. Baumlers partners with world famous weavers such as Vitale Barberis, Cerruti, Loro Piana, Zegna, and Reda.