Vi­tale Bar­beris Canon­ico


Plaza Uomo USA - - JOURNAL -

Lo­cated in Pra­trivero re­gion in North­ern Italy, the coun­try’s great­est pro­ducer of qual­ity ap­parel, Vi­tale Bar­beris Canon­ico, is still go­ing strong. Dat­ing back to 1663, the fam­ily run busi­ness works along­side the local com­mu­nity to bring out unique tex­tiles. Although anony­mous com­pared to your av­er­age brand, most gentle­men are likely to find the Vi­tale Bar­beris Canon­ico la­bel dis­creetly sewn on to the fab­ric of at least one of their suits. Each year the com­pany in­tro­duces 4,000 new fab­rics and pro­duces 8 mil­lion me­tres of fab­ric to be used in more than 2.5 mil­lion jack­ets and suits. With a global pro­duc­tion, the world is their wardrobe. Suit fab­rics are VBC’s spe­cial­ity but they also pro­duce fab­rics for trousers and, as of re­cently, leisure wear and event func­tions. With a long list of in­ter­na­tional clients, VBC is of­ten as­so­ci­ated with J Crew, Suit Sup­ply and menswear brands such as Michael Thomas in Washington D.C. and Ci­fonelli in Paris. With­out re­strict­ing their ser­vices to a cer­tain group, VBC al­ways honours their fam­ily history and never com­pro­mises on their her­itage, phi­los­o­phy and crafts­man­ship.

Fif­teen gen­er­a­tions in, VBC con­tin­ues to rev­o­lu­tionise the tex­tile in­dus­try, even on a global level. Each step of the process is sub­jected to qual­ity con­trol, from start to end. VBC re­cently opened to the pub­lic the doors to two cen­turies of the firm’s fab­ric sam­ples, mak­ing an in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to the fam­ily history and tra­di­tion. Francesco, Vi­tale Bar­beris Canon­ico’s cre­ative di­rec­tor, sum­marised it as I ar­rived in Biella.

“We em­ploy 400 peo­ple in two fac­to­ries, some of whom are from fam­i­lies who have been with us for three gen­er­a­tions. We want be more than the ul­ti­mate tex­tile source. Our hope is that any young man who comes across our brand and vis­its our web­site dis­cov­ers a whole new world through us.”

Do trends af­fect your pro­duc­tion?

“Vi­tale Bar­beris Canon­ico is not a fash­ion brand, but trends must have a small yet de­ci­sive in­flu­ence in or­der for us to cre­ate fab­rics that are con­tem­po­rary.”

How do you main­tain your im­por­tance?

“Ev­ery­thing starts with an idea. Some- times we gather in­spi­ra­tion from our archives. We in­tro­duce new colours and de­velop fab­rics made from rare yarns but we al­ways bear in mind the clas­sic im­age that is part of our DNA.”

Few peo­ple know which fac­tory was re­spon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing the fab­ric in their clothes. Is it im­por­tant to un­der­stand the start of the process?

“Yes, I think it is. The fab­ric is the most im­por­tant com­po­nent of a suit, whether it is from a large scale cloth­ing re­tailer or a tailor. In a world of tai­lors it is the fine de­tails the sep­a­rate the wheat from the chaff.”

What dif­fer­ences should our read­ers be aware of?

“Look out for the best pos­si­ble raw ma­te­rial, made in Italy, and fab­rics not made with a cer­tain price in mind, but for the tailor and the end client.”

How can Vi­tale Bar­beris Canon­ico keep the tra­di­tion alive and stay com­pet­i­tive at the same time?

“By in­vest­ing large sums in tech­nol­ogy and striv­ing to con­tin­u­ously ed­u­cate the em­ploy­ees.”

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