From the traditional loom to the most exclusive weavers in Europe
Warp and weft. That’s all you need to create a bolt of fabric. The warp threads are stretched in place in a row on the loom. The weft threads are then woven into the warp threads one at a time from one side to the other. This technique is still used today to create all kinds of fabrics. However, there are not many weavers who sit at home working on their looms all day. Nowadays, mass-produced textiles usually originate from China, India, Bangladesh, South Korea and Taiwan. However, when it comes to the manufacture of suits and jackets every effort is made to ensure that the fabric is of the best quality. That’s why menswear specialists favour fabrics made by European weavers. Scotland and Italy are the heartlands of textile production, particularly where wool is concerned. Thanks to its advantageous location on the River Cervo, the region around Biella has long been one of the most important places on the wool industry map. Weavers here are still producing the best cloth in the world. The Outer Hebrides in Scotland are also home to many sheep farmers and an unparalleled fabric manufacturing tradition. The trademarked Harris Tweed is made on these islands and, for a few years now, has been experiencing a comeback in the formal wear sector.
From Paris to Milan and Munich – on the hunt for new fabrics
What does the perfect fabric look like? What colours and textures are fashionable? Various fabric and textile trade fairs throughout Europe provide excellent platforms for exchanging ideas, gaining exclusive industry insights and purchasing fabric for next season’s collection. This is where the designers and buyers for CG – CLUB of GENTS meet with representatives from the weaving mills to select fabrics for the new collections. Twice a year the CG – CLUB of GENTS team attends the View Premium Selection and Munich Fabric Start in Germany, the Milano Unica in Italy and the Première Vision in Paris, France. It’s only thanks to our close, long-term collaborations with weaving mills such as Marzotto Tessuti, Guabello, Vitale Barberis Canonico, Reda and Harris Tweed Hebrides that we can create authentic suits of the highest quality.
The story of the weaving factory Marzotto Tessuti begins in Valdagno in a beautiful valley in the province of Vicenza. In 1836, Luigi Marzotto founded a small wool weaving factory with just 12 employees. Between 1894 and 1972, the original, traditional textile workshop became more and more important thanks to the resourcefulness and innovative spirit of Luigi’s son Gaetano Marzotto. Today it is an international player in the manufacture and sale of high-quality textiles. The weaving factory is the foundation stone of the current Marzotto Group, which is now represented in three business sectors: wool (Marzotto Tessuti, Guabello, Marlane), plant-based natural fibres (Redaelli Velluti, Tessuti di Sondrio, Nuova Tessilbrenta) and silk (Ratti). The rapid growth of Marzotto Tessuti is primarily based on the company’s constant production development; artisanship, production know-how, creative skills and innovative methods have turned this little wool weaving factory into a textile manufacturer with over 3,000 employees.
It’s no secret that you need to visit the little villages in the province of Piedmont to get the most fashionably sophisticated fabrics of the highest quality. Guabello is one of the weaving mills located in this region. Since 1815, the company has been one of the region’s leading producers of high-quality wool. Today Guabello is part of the Marzotto Group and specialises in woollen items, elegant woollen blends and cashmere. The fabrics tell a story – a story of outstanding achievement, the Biella region and the high quality of the products. Special, innovative production machines make it possible for Guabello to create beautifully structured fabrics that are unbelievably lightweight. Furthermore, the Biella region and the production facility in Mongrando have generated unique expertise, dedication and passion, which have been passed down over centuries. In order to guarantee its high quality into the future, Guabello imports its wool from the best farms in Australia and New Zealand.
Vitale Barberis Canonico
The corporate history of the Vitale Barberis Canonico weaving mill can be traced back to the year 1663. The first authentic documents from this period describe a dyeing process that was very rare in those days. The company, located in the textile region of Biella, is the oldest weaving mill in the world and specialises in very high-quality merino woollen fabrics. In order to ensure the highest quality of raw materials, the sheep graze on the company’s own farm in Mudgee, Australia. This traditional company has a flair for exquisite materials, contemporary fashion and the latest technologies making it one of the world’s best weaving mills. General market developments such as the global economic crisis and two world wars had little effect on the company and over time it has continued to expand. Today the weaving mill is operated by the 13th generation of the Barberis Canonico family.
In the valley near Biella lies the municipality of Valle Mosso, which is home to 3000 people. The face of the village is particularly dominated by the cuboid factory buildings of the Reda weaving mill. This historic wool manufacture was founded in 1865 by local entrepreneur Carlo Reda. In 1919, the Botto brothers bought the weaving will and over the coming decades turned it into a great institution within the textile industry. Ercole Botto and his cousin Francesco Botto, who run the company today, focus on intensive growth by means of innovation without neglecting the tradition of the family-owned company. Reda specialises in woollen textiles and therefore has its own farms in New Zealand with approximately 30,000 sheep. To ensure the high quality of their raw material, the Botto family mainly buy wool from Australia and New Zealand, cashmere from Inner Mongolia and mohair from South Africa.
Harris Tweed Hebrides
Tweed cloth has been made all over Scotland for centuries. However, when synthetic fibres from low-wage countries became fashionable in the 1960s, demand for traditional woollen goods experienced a slump. A few years ago, designers rediscovered the fabric and are now using Harris Tweed, which has been a protected brand since 1910, for everything from sneaker appliqués and mobile phone cases to jackets. Producing Harris Tweed involves dyeing the fleece of the pure new wool instead of the yarn. Furthermore, only fabric woven by hand in the weavers’ homes in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland may be called Harris Tweed. These requirements are strictly controlled and only when they are fulfilled does the cloth received the unique Orb Mark. All this makes this robust yet elegant fabric absolutely unique, and the Harris Tweed Hebrides company exports it all over the world.