Made in Italy: la famiglia

From class trips to the Gucci Museum, through leather workshops with Florentine artisans, to simply observing the Italian street style, Fashion students at LdM have ample opportunities to better understand this deceptively simple phrase: “Made in Italy”. It means attention to detail, it means craftsmanship, it means la bella figura.

It also means the power of family.

Famous for being the “shoemaker to the stars” in the 1940s and 50s, Salvatore Ferragamo has become an international icon of white-collar elegance through the efforts of Salvatore’s wife, Wanda Ferragamo, and his daughter Fiamma Ferragamo, who took over the business after Salvatore’s death in 1960. And although no design could outshine the flamboyance and sheer joy of the Rainbow sandal, it was Fiamma’s pragmatism and business experience that led to the creation of the Vara pump, the timeless staple of any professional woman’s wardrobe. Today, all Ferragamo siblings work for the brand and share equal responsibility for its success.

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A similar story lies behind the Stefano Ricci menswear brand. Through a unique approach to marketing and branding, Stefano Ricci entered the world of luxury goods in China and Russia, opening his flagship boutique in Florence only 18 years ago. Sourcing the finest materials – from mink to crocodile skins – and bringing them to Italy to turn them into the softest leather jackets and brogues for men would have been much more difficult, had Stefano Ricci not had the complete trust in his two sons Niccolò and Filippo Ricci, who help him oversee the business across the continents.

Although the brands that remain in the hands of the families that have painstakingly created them over the years are fewer and fewer in this globalized world, the value of family tradition remains a powerful marketing tool. In this sense, the “made in Italy” concept extends beyond the physical aspects of production and assembly, but also into the more intangible realm of what speaks to us – both as consumers and creators – most powerfully.

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Ferragamo pumps photographed by LdM student Raquel Fereshetian for becomingflorentine.com, reposted with the author’s permission.