Herno is hardly the most famous of the Italian outerwear manufacturers. But according to many the best. After almost exclusively produced private label for some of the world’s top fashion houses, the company has now added focus to concentrate on his own label. In a two-part article series have Manolo visited the little ytterplaggstillverkaren in the foothills of the Italian Alps, to find out the secret behind the great cut.
Lesa is fantastically located on Lake Maggiore in northwestern parts of Piedmont, according to Allunitconverters. A region best known for its great wine tradition with well-known wines like Barolo and Barberesca, but also home to some of Italy’s largest industrial company with FIAT in the lead. Just Lesa is a small municipality in less than 2500 inhabitants where few if any not related to Herno which since its inception in 1948 had been the local pride. I stop an elderly lady to ask for directions. Of course she knows where Herno is located; “Lesa é Herno”.
The name comes from the river that flows beyond the original factory Erno, which has long supplied the factory and the now defunct weaving mill with water. To the brand’s founder, Mr Marenzi, started production of rain coats right here is no coincidence. Maggiarosjön creates with the protection of the Alps an overall moderate climate with considerable rainfall during the autumn and winter season, which makes the need for protective rainwear high.
The company’s first ten years off Giuseppe developing a raincoat who passed tougher weather without the need to compromise with the garment’s style. The result was a model in cotton, treated with castor oil, which gave the garment hydrophobicity.
-Hernos development is very typical of many Italian family company from that time. After the war, there was great development opportunities for new businesses and a range of entrepreneurs showed up with new exciting ideas. We expanded the law sharply nationally throughout the 50s to 60s and 70s expand in Europe and later around the world with Japan as its primary market, explains Claudio Marenzi, ceo of the company and son of the founder, Mr Marenzi.
Photo from an exhibition in Turin in the 1960s. Giuseppe Marenzi stands in the middle.
Today’s factory in Lesa mainly for product development. This is done all patterns to garments, tests of materials and quality control of all items before they are sent out to retailers. Herno is working with two factories in Sicily, one of wool coats and a lighter cotton jackets, while large parts of the brand’s production of down jackets made in Romania.
-It is important for us to have our production in Italy. But for down garments have in fact Romania an unique experience and better production conditions. This is a large part of Europe’s premier goose breeding.
Why is it important to have production in Italy?
-It is not that we in Italy are honored with the hand of God. I have visited many factories around the world that hold the extreme high quality. But the quality of the production is a bit like mathematics. It can be a garment without emotion. As if it comes from a robot. What makes Herno special is the devotion which the employees put behind each garment. If it committed a mistake thrown garment. The corporate responsibility and the knowledge of handling different materials available here in Lesa. It can be small details, but which ultimately are central to the overall result.
When Manolo comes to visit ongoing preparations in full swing ahead of the fashion tradeshow Pitti Uomo that takes place twice a year in Florence.Fashion buyers and the press gather to see the best of what Mr fashion manufacturers have to offer. For brands like Herno is the fair important to send a message about where the company is heading. When Claudio Marenzi took over the business for just over five years ago, Herno an about-face. With two less successful decades behind them, the company changed its strategy to focus more on their core product.
-We had put too much focus on the production of private label for external brands. There was never an explicit strategy on our part, but in many cases it was pure chance that led to these collaborations. Jil Sander, for example, chose us because they liked our knowledge in producing garments with double face technology. We felt, however, that it was time to give our own brand focus. An important part of the change was also pure style and design. We asked ourselves what distinguished Herno and tried to find what was missing. Herno has always had a high status when it comes to quality and service. We wanted to keep it, but add a more modern cut and new materials, “says Claudio Marenzi.
Tomorrow, we will publish the second part of the article on Herno which will focus on the craftsmanship behind Hernos garments.