Today you are going to discover Lanificio (wool mill) Bottoli founded in 1861 in Vittorio Veneto an hour north of Venice and still manufacturing precious menswear fabrics, wool blankets and plaids. Their quality fabrics are used by many luxury fashion houses for their collections.
I had the pleasure to interview Ettore Bottoli who represents the 5th Generations of his family business and will tell us more about the wool mill.
Innovation, creativity, efforts, dedication, passion and know-how are the leading factors to be a world-wide textile excellence.
Q.: What does it mean for a guy your age to be part of a 5th generation family business? A great deal of responsibilities, not so much sleeping, not so much free time but such an honour to be part of it.
Q.: Tell us more about the production process of a wool mill. Fully vertical production means from the raw material (wool) to the final fabrics just in ONE place. Extremely fascinating but believe me it is really hard to achieve. Clients from all over the word visit us and remain astonished. They can not believe that fashion starts here. Not in Milan, in New York or in Paris but in a small city surrounded by wine lands.
Q.: What kind of fabrics do you produce? and where does the wool come from? We are specialized in fancy and eco-friendly fabrics . My father, who is to my eyes a genious, in the 90s, had a vision. He started to study fabrics which could be made without any dyes, favouring the use of Italian wool. From that idea and with a lot of efforts , we have been able to select the best Italian merino wool to realise eco-friendly fabrics. The ultimate collaboration we had with the Luxury Maison ETRO for a limited edition eco blankets capsule , has been the icing on the cake.
Q.: You mainly produce menswear fabrics, have you even considered to expand the production to womenswear too? 10% is already dedicated to womenswear, but trust me we have already a lot to do with menswear.
Q.: You studied, lived and worked abroad for awhile, how was the first impact with your hometown (which is not New York)? Let’s say that Vittorio Veneto is the opposite of fun. It does not offer much, but I think you should always look at the bright side. Nevertheless it is the entrepreneur’s job to make a city more livable, I am not expecting anything from others (government).
Q.: Have you always wanted to work at the wool mill? I have worked more then 10 years for other fashion companies, but I was meant for be here. People says that I have sparkling eyes just talking about it.
Q.: What are the future plans for your company? Consolidate the presence in Asia and America for the textile division, and increase our home division. Our blankets and plaid collection had a double digits growth last year, and it is time to focus more on it.
Q.: You collaborate with many famous fashion houses, is there one in particular that you really would like to collaborate with? This year, we have been honoured to collaborate with Junya Watanabe for its line in Comme Des Garcons Man. It’s a real dream come true.
Q.: What does it mean to be sustainable nowadays? Sustainability starts from the client. If the final clients would pay more attention to the materials, to the origin of what they buy…companies which produce genuine products like us will be rewarded. For this reason I hope someday people start wonder when they see a 5 Euro T-shirt in a shop : where has it been produced? With which material? How are the workers treated?Traceability has to be the key in the future.
Q.: Who are your clients? and what are they looking for? Fashion houses from all over the world. We are in 21 countries and everyone has a different need.
Q.: How can you keep up in such competitive but sometimes unfair foreign textile markets? Innovation, innovation, innovation. Thanks to no-stop researches, textiles made with casein fibres (from milk), by-products of marine algae, mulberry wood viscose and abaca (also known as Manila hemp) have made their way into our collections. In the recent seasons, yarn from undyed hemp and linen has been added to our undyed wool articles. The last member of the family is a textile for blankets which combine merino wool with extremely thin copper yarns. As you know copper and its alloys are natural antimicrobial. Over the years copper has been used to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, from the Ancient Egyptians to Greeks, Romans, and Aztecs. We are having an amazing reaction for this blanket.
Q.: Have you ever thought about relocating the production in another country? Never. Not even if they ask me putting a gun to my head.
Q.: I read that you are enthusiastic for Japan, would you tell us more about it? I have learned in Japan the meaning of friendship. It is a decade that I’m travelling to Japan. Some of the people we are working with, are not clients, but friends. Loyalty means everything for me.
Q.: 3 adjectives to describe your company. I will use just one : authentic
For more info visit www.lanificiobottoli.com/en/