When it comes to clothing, Italy is a name synonymous with quality. Those five little letters stitched into a garment’s label tell you more than simply where it was made. They tell you you’re holding something special; something with sartorial heritage behind it; something truly world-class.
This ancient Mediterranean land might be best known for the Romans, pizza, pasta and organised crime syndicates, but for style-savvy guys it’s all about tailoring, cashmere, leather and luxury sportswear. World-leading brands like Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli, Giorgio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna all sprung up from Italian soil, but what is it that makes the ground here so fertile for men’s fashion? And who are the other brands that continue to have their clothes made there despite the high cost of labour?
There are hundreds of great labels making clothes in Italy, and while we’d love to list them all, it would take too long. With that in mind, here’s a tightly curated list of our 10 favourite made-in-Italy brands – the ones we’re always more than happy to wear.
So much of men’s fashion these days centres around trends and cost-cutting. It’s about churning the latest thing out as quickly as possible at all times, invariably at the expense of quality. Pini Parma was founded in response to this, championing high-quality materials, enduring designs and artisanal craftsmanship to position itself as the antidote to fast fashion.
Whether it’s Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Lombardy, Campania or Tuscany, all of Pini Parma’s clothes are produced in Italy by the country’s finest makers using the best materials possible. From tailoring to premium casualwear, there’s everything you need to deck out an entire wardrobe.
Italy is famous for its local artisans. Nestled away in the country’s towns and small cities, these independent manufacturers make some of the finest clothing in the world, but unless you’re a local, you’re unlikely to be able to buy from them.
Luca Faloni’s mission is to connect these clothes to a wider audience, bringing real Italian craftsmanship to the masses. Expect exquisite cashmere knitwear, laid-back linen shirts and much more.
Based in the Italian capital of knitwear, Biella, ArtKnit Studios is perfectly positioned to access some of the best factories and fabric suppliers on the face of the earth. The brand is also committed to being waste-free, using exclusively natural fibres to keep its environmental impact to an absolute minimum.
Don’t expect any seasonal collections. Instead, the focus is on quality to ensure products last for as long as possible, thus reducing the need for excessive consumption.
Direct-to-consumer brand Velasca is committed to selling the best possible shoes with the lowest possible price tag. Now, that’s not to say this is cheap footwear – quite the opposite. Still, for the sheer level of craftsmanship, they’re some of the most reasonable prices you’ll find.
All of Velasca’s shoes are handcrafted by highly skilled artisans in Italy’s shoemaking capital, Marche, and the range has now extended to include clothing too. Think blazers, suede jackets, linen shirts and much more, all made to the brand’s extremely high standards.
Known colloquially as the King of Cashmere, Brunello Cucinelli is famous for making some of the most luxurious (and expensive) cashmere clothing in the world.
The brand also sells a whole range of stunning Italian-made tailoring and upscale casualwear, becoming synonymous with the so-called ‘quiet luxury’ trend, which is all about clothing that flies in the face of conspicuous consumption, favouring high-quality materials over big logos.
Founded in 1910, established Italian luxury label Zegna has become famous all over the world for its high-end tailoring, the vast majority of which is made in Italy.
In addition to beautifully crafted Italian suits, there’s plenty of upscale casualwear to be found too. Think pieces that ooze that laid-back yet elegant Italian style, like linen shirts, suede driving shoes and loafers, alongside outerwear that would be right at home in the Alps’ most exclusive Aprés bars.
Inspired by the fashion of its native Venice, Barena produces simple yet meticulously crafted pieces that ooze character and quality. It’s something the label has been doing since 1961, helping to define that elegant mix of breezy casualwear and soft tailoring that Northern Italy has become synonymous with over the decades.
Expect to find laid-back yet sophisticated pieces like unstructured blazers, drawstring trousers and lived-in looking overdyed tees, along with the occasional statement piece.
As tailoring stages its comeback, the designers who built brands around suits are being thrust back into the spotlight. Giorgio Armani was instrumental in bringing tailoring into the late 20th Century and beyond with his trademark streamlined elegance.
Armani’s suits have long served as the high-water mark for what modern tailoring should be – not just in terms of the fit and materials, but in terms of the craftsmanship, which, naturally, is all Italian.
Valenza is another Italian label looking to bring its homeland’s knack for quality clothing to the masses. It works closely with local makers to create high-end garments with timeless designs that are built not just to last, but also to weather the ever-raging storm of fashion.
The result is a range of versatile, beautifully made clothing that’s simple, easy to style and will stand the test of time with ease.
Loro Piana is one of the most prominent names in Italian luxury fashion. It supplies fine fabrics to many of the world’s leading labels, but it also creates its own range of super-premium clothing and footwear, all of it made in Italy.
Loro Piana is best known for cashmere, whether in the form of tailored overcoats, fine-gauge knits or even hoodies and sweatpants. It’s perhaps just as famous for its insanely high prices though, so only those with the absolute deepest of pockets will be able to afford these garments.