Nestling in the heart of Venetia is Il Gufo, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of children’s clothing. MilK spent two days in the workshops of the brand,whose savoir-faire is guided by its founder Giovanna Miletti’s passion.
Il Gufo, Italian-style luxury
Afew miles from Asolo, a village perched high up on the Venetian hills, are the headquarters of Il Gufo and one of its factories, Bonotto. This is where Giovanna Miletti has been lovingly making clothes for nearly forty years, surrounded by an army of assistants, apprentices and traditional tools. She began sewing babies’ bibs in 1980, when her children started nursery school, “to keep herself busy”, she said. Friends and customers were impressed by the meticulousness of her work and the quality of the materials she used. Style, cut and quality still ensure Il Gufo’s success today. From initial sketch and pattern-making to embroidery and quality control, every detail counts for the brand that also takes great care over its poetic visual identity and its inviting stores inspired by Scandinavian design. And “to dress children like children” Giovanna wants the best people by her side. Starting with her son Guido and daughter Alessandra in management. So it’s a family business…
Bonotto, the slow factory
At Il Gufo, everything is made in Italy: concept, design and fabric. For some materials, the brand works with Bonotto, the nearby fabbrica lenta. This slow factory, which takes its time to produce fabrics, is run by its creative director Giovanni Bonotto. Brands such as Chanel, Prada and Isabel Marant all come to find his magical textiles. Giovanni may use old-fashioned mechanical machines, but he travels the world in search of excellence. The warmest wool comes from Tibetan yaks, whose natural habitat is amid snowy climes. The best weatherproof fur comes from the Andean guanaco, which has to survive in desert temperatures that vary dramatically. In this factory, the term “raw material” has a whole new meaning. Art lover Giovanni (whose factory is full of paintings to inspire his employees) wants fabrics to speak for themselves and uses his know-how to make them unique.
Since World Hand Hygiene Day (5 May 2017), the brand has participated in Oxfam’s project #20seconds to raise awareness of the importance of washing one’s hands. For every donation of €10 (then sent to Oxfam) in Il Gufo stores, the brand gives donors a bar of soap and a mini child-friendly illustrated booklet.