PASSION, RESOURCES AND WORKMANSHIP
In the mid Nineteenth Century, Nicola Somma’s wholesale business began selling tricot garments, focusing solely on underwear. Originally based in Naples, he soon embarked on a journey and ultimately ended up in Bari in Southern Italy. With a sound knowledge of tricot fabrics and garment making, he decided to turn his hand to retail and opened up eleven stores in a relatively short space of time. Somma named it Svevo’s menswear after one of the greatest castles in the area, Castello Normanno-Svevo. The expertise was carried on to Somma’s son who eventually launched his own firm that specialised in tricot clothing for women and children. Twenty-two years ago the two companies merged. For the first 15 years, Svevo ran a wholesale business and supplied some of the biggest department stores in France and renowned Italian labels. But then seven years ago, Svevo decided to relaunch and create its own collection.
Mario Somma, the great grandson of Nicola Somma, makes it clear that the company is not bothered about trends. The goal is simply to make tricot garments for men to wear and enjoy regardless of the oc- casion. With tricot more or less part of this family’s DNA, Mario and his sister Vittoria manage the day to day dealings of the business and ensure that the focus remains on luxury tricot for men. Creating the tricot of the same quality and refinement that inspired their predecessors is paramount. Svevo is definitely a label worth keeping an eye on.
What is a luxury product?
“I believe luxury is something unique. In my world it is about appreciating the sensation and pleasure that pure yarn and perfect form bring.”
Why have you chosen to focus on luxury instead of mass production and cheap products?
“We focus on luxury products because quality is part of our history and in our blood. We could never throw away our family tradition and expertise, even though we continuously try to improve it and keep our eyes on the future. I wouldn’t say that mass production and cheap products are necessarily any easier to build a business around. In today’s world you’re exposed to new brands twenty-four seven.”
What is the relationship between the product and the region in which it is made?
“A product that is designed and manufactured in Italy is one you’ll love forever. Our factory is in the heart of Emilia Romagna, a region with an abundance of passion, resources and workmanship. Where would you find this attitude other than in Italy?”
Mario and Vittoria Somma.