Plaza Uomo USA - - JOURNAL -

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.

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