Archibald on the road: Italy
By Francesco Lorenzetti
Being head of products at Archibald might be one of the best jobs in the world. I get to speak to the craftsmen and artisans who create our products on a daily basis, drive our strategy on new items to add to the collection, and make sure we take care of all their needs. And then there’s the travel. Above all, there’s nothing like seeing a place through the eyes of the people who live and work there. Craftsmen and artisans are rooted in their communities, well respected and (most enjoyably) are in the know about the best local places to eat and drink. I’ve visited our workshops in Spain, Scotland, Japan, and in my home country of Italy. Last week I travelled to five of our Italian workshops in four days with a photographer, seeing it through the eyes of the creators we work with and capturing their impeccable craftsmanship. Here are some shots of my favourite moments from the trip:
Day 1: Florence and the surrounding region
I visited our leather bags workshop first where I placed an order for our next shipment and had a look at how the leather was hand cut for our Phileas Weekender, pictured below.
Our belts workshop we’ll be working with soon is based a stone’s throw from the iconic Piazza Della Signoria. Daniele took over the workshop from his grandfather and runs it entirely on his own, sourcing all of his incredible nappa leather from local producers that work exclusively with older workshops in the city.
Daniele was showing me a leather paint brush holder he had made for a famous Italian artist, according to the Artist's exact specifcations
Eugenio cutting some leather at his workstation
Day 2: Le Marche, Central Italy
It was a whole new world of shoe craftsmanship as we enter different categories and begin collaborating with new workshops for women's shoes. Le Marche in Central Italy is world famous for its’ shoemakers, who are true artisans respected the world over.
Insoles piled high, read to go on Santino's worktable.
Santino at his workstation
Day 3: Biella, Northern Italy
Biella, Italy is renowned for the finest cashmere production. The scenery is incredible and our supplier is based in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. The artisans we work with are simply the best of the best, and supply the world’s foremost luxury houses.
Where Scottish mills excel in creating the finest heavy knits in the world, the Italians are renowned for their beautiful blends, dyes and lightweight stitches.
The mill in Biella, founded over 200 years ago, has stayed true to traditional Cashmere production techniques
Day 4: Modena and Mirandola
Day 4 took me back to Mirandola, my own home town. It’s where our highly popular Ghirlandina sneakers and dress shoe range is made by father-and-son team Adriano and Alessandro. Alessandro is pictured here showing me how our dress shoes are hand welted and finger stitched.
Adriano hand-painting the upper of a dress shoe
Adriano cutting and preparing leather for the next pair of shoes.