“Made in Italy” is a luxurious three word combination. Here are a few ways Italy is outrunning the fast world of fashion whilst holding their strong traditions for design.

1. A Heart For Craft.

Craft infers a practice of old traditions in a modern world and Italy has found a way to combine the old with the new. Northeastern Italy continues its supply of inherent craftsman at schools like Centro Moda Canossa in Trento, where classes incorporating 3D printing and laser cutting are offered to keep the next generation of craftspeople palatable to the global fashion consumer. According to Bloomberg, the steady process of craftsmanship in the private and public sector has proven a positive financial incline for the Italian province situated just northwest of Venice. The passion for local craft has kept Italy a part of the tumultuous fashion world.


2. Investment In Technology.

Recapitalizing the skills of its traditional craft is not as far as Italy will go for fashion. Feeding into the hybrid skills from the Northeast requires a wash, rinse and repeat sort of approach – many companies in Trento for example replenish the region’s research and development with 2% of the private and public GDP.

Dita Von Teese in a 3D printed dress circa 2013/Mashable

The practice of nurturing a craft and tech industry flows in tandem with the payoff fashion can gain from technology. Hard data provided by technology can help designers defend their predictions for consumer trends. Tangible technology like 3D printers also give businesses the tools to be more efficient in their production: if less time can be spent to produce an intricate object via 3D printers, the designer also has more leeway to tweak their projects for new consumer demand. Nurturing the funds needed for changing technologies means that Italian craftspeople can sustain their creativity through the hybrid world of fashion and tech.

3. Value Of Personal Economy.

Despite Italy’s national economic decline since the late 90s, the country’s payout to labour cost has remained steady. Some may see this as a poor distribution of limited funds however acknowledging the bottom line for labour implies a culture of self-care.

Hermes Spring/Summer 2006

In conversation about the value for craft in fashion, a colleague reflected on an open-house hosted by Hermès. The tour was to show the persons who worked with the French design house in the process of making the crafted product. When one tour goer watched the worker carefully finish a piece she complained that she still didn’t understand why they charged so much for what they made. The woman sitting at the design table looked up from her needles and yarns to justify the pay that went towards her pension and her cottage.

Italian craftsman polishes a finished 3D product. Bloomberg/Luca Locatelli

The same value of paying oneself to afford a comfortable life is part of the heart of craft perhaps because craft requires integration of mind and skill, or because that’s how it’s always been done. Either way, Italy’s fashion makers are a reminder to spend for the future and invest in ourselves.