Have you ever wondered why made in Italy silk scarves are so famous and why they cost as much as they do?
Below are 5 factors, outlining how silk scarves with the true “Made in Italy” label are made:
Made in Italy Design
Historically and today, fashion design is an integral part of Italian life.
Italy has always been design conscious and has invested in art throughout its history; even before Italy became a unified country when it was divided into dozens of small city-states, local aristocrats spent enormous amounts of money on art, luxurious clothes and culture in general.
There are many theories about why the Italians are so good at design and these two quotes sum up my favorite theories:
“Italians enjoy the privilege of living surrounded by art, beauty and culture. They are the heirs of the ancient Greek civilization.”- Rosita Missoni (co-founder of fashion label Missoni)
“Because they love to communicate and design is communication; when they speak their whole body is engaged and the same goes for their design. It is feisty, loud, elegant, shiny, all the good things in life! La Dolce Vita!” - Chrystina Schmidt (co-founder of Skandium)
And here's an article from the BBC about why Italians are so stylish.
Made in Italy Silk
The Lake Como district, just north of Milan on the border with Switzerland is where 85% of Italian silk and 70% of Europe’s silk is made. Como used to produce the silk worms and cocoons, but the two world wars destroyed the industry and silk cocoons are now imported from China. However, in order to honestly add the "Made in Italy" label every aspect of turning the cocoon into a beautiful silk scarf is done and made in Italy. Designing, weaving, dying, printing, sewing, packaging and all the other steps in-between.
And good news for Italy: the silk worms are returning to Como. It will be fabulous when this happens on a larger scale!
Here's a 5-minute film produced by CNN talking about the silk industry in Como, showcasing one of the largest silk manufacturers in Italy:
Here’s a brief history of silk I wrote some time ago if you'd like to learn more.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my work is visiting the manufacturing plants.
In Como, most of the businesses that produce silk scarves are family owned small to medium sized.
The companies I choose to work with take great care of their employees, justly earning the true "Made in Italy" label by not only making sure that all of the manufacturing processes are made in Italy, but that the working conditions are good for their employees and the environment.
At least twice a year I visit the workshops that make the silk scarves that I sell in the boutique.
In Italy business is carried out on a very personal level; before any work subject is discussed, you spend time catching up on each person’s life, discussing world affairs and of course, the weather, often while enjoying a thimble sized cup of espresso which no self-respecting workshop would be without.
Afterward, we roll up our sleeves to begin the fun work of deciding about the upcoming season, which fabrics, patterns, fabrics and so forth.
Have you ever wondered about where your clothing came from and how much our planet is polluted by the textile industry? More and more we see news articles about the negative footprint that the apparel industry leaves on our planet.
In Como not only are there strict laws that govern every aspect of making textiles from using non-toxic dyes, using renewable energy, filtering and re-using the water (the textile industry uses tons of water!) to waste reduction and management.
Many countries in the world that make textiles do not have many controls, resulting in one of the most toxic industries on our planet.
The companies that I choose to work with proudly follow all the rules and also go a step further and do more than the law requires, constantly improving the process to create nontoxic, sustainable fabrics in a working environment that is clean and healthy.
Made in Italy Quality
Italian culture prides itself on producing quality goods. Food, fashion, automobiles, furniture and more.
This is certainly true in the Como silk industry and scarf production.
From the beginning to the end of the production of a scarf there are quality controls. People checking, not machine checking. This means that when a scarf gets to the final customer, it’s very unlikely to be flawed and that’s good thing.
There are two distinct fashion seasons: fall/winter and spring/summer.
Here in Italy, we love new fashion trends. The average person will shop for a few high-quality items each season. This way they can stay fashionable, changing the look of the outfit with accessories. Closets stay small and up to date and because they’ve purchased a high-quality item, it looks good all season, even though it’s been worn many times.
The designs and colors of Italian silk scarves also change with the most up to date fashion trends yet nonetheless are timeless, a result of classic Italian design.
As you can see, from enduring, lasting design to the quality of the finished scarf, all of these steps are costly. They are done with care to make a lasting piece of wearable art, and that’s what makes true Made in Italy silk scarves famous and justifies their cost.