Ferrari, Armani, Prada. When thinking of Made in Italy, these are some of the first brands that come to mind. However, there are other equally well known brands few know or expect to be Italian. Here is a lowdown of a few of them.
We have to admit it, some of us didn’t know either, but the renown notebook and stationary brand was created in 1997 in Milan by designer Maria Sebregondi with the aim of giving a new life to the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers in the 19th and 20th centuries. The original Moleskine notebook is in fact designed after, and takes its name from, Bruce Chatwin’s descriptions of the notebooks he used in his travels.
In 2011 Moleskine launched new collections of writing, travelling and reading objects designed by Italian industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti at the Milan Design Week, cementing its position as market leaders.
Claiming to be a “brand name with undefined national identity,” Moleskine has developed into a truly global brand with a dedicated community of followers worldwide.
For more on Moleskine visit Luxxdesign.com.
Yes, it’s true, Ray-Ban, the iconic sunglasses brand made famous by Tom Cruise in Top Gun, is Italian. In fact, Ray-Ban is one of the many brands directly owned by Luxottica, undisputedly the world’s largest eyewear company controlling over 80% of the world’s major eyewear brands and created from the entrepreneurial genius of Leonardo Del Vecchio in 1961. In addition to owning brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley, Luxottica also produces prescription and sun glasses for virtually all luxury designer brands such as Prada, Gucci, Tory Burch, Stella McCartney, Dolce&Gabbana, Tiffany, Versace and Ralph Loren to name just a few. Luxottica also owns more than 7,000 retail locations throughout the world, with Sunglass Hut, LensCrafters, and Glasses.com among the most famous retail chains.
At the helm of the eyewear industry for decades, Luxottica is a true colossus, both nationally and internationally, representing the best of entrepreneurship Made in Italy.
The luxury leather brand was founded by FIlippo Della Valle at the beginning of the 20th Century in Casette D’Ete, a small town in the central region of Italy of Le Marche. Today it is presided by canny businessman Diego Della Valle, who introduced the name Tod’s after picking it from a Boston phone book and later expanded the business together with his family to make it become one of the most recognized luxury brands worldwide. The business today includes other prestigious brands such as Hogan, Roger Vivier and luxury clothing brand Fay, not to mention the many other business interests, from Ferrari (Della Valle sits on the board) and Piaggio to the famous movie studios of Cinecitta’ in Roma and luxury American retail chain Saks Fifth Avenue.
Diego Della Valle made headlines more recently after the Tod’s Group became the major private sponsor for the restoration of the Colosseum in Rome, donating 25 million euros to the project.
Strangely enough, not everyone knows Diesel is an Italian brand developed by the visionary Renzo Rosso, surely one of the most vibrant and innovative entrepreneurs in the world. After dropping out of University in Venice, Rosso started his career as a young Production Manager at Moltex, a clothing manufacturer in the North-East region of Veneto where Rosso was born and which at the time produced trousers for various Italian clothing labels. From there, he went on to build a business empire that today includes not only Diesel but also cult urban and street brand 55DSL, Maison Martin Margiela, Marni, Viktor & Rolf, Staff International and the Pelican Hotel in Miami among others, and operating under the umbrella name OTB (Only The Brave).
A true business icon in Italy and worldwide, called the ‘genius of jeans‘ by the New York Times, Rosso is also a keen philanthropist, supporting causes from support to earthquake-hit countries to the development of young talents and most recently a pledge to donate 5 million euros for the restoration of the world-famous Rialto Bridge in Venice.
Created by brothers Marco and Vannis Marchi in 1995 in Carpi, a small town in Emilia Romagna and one of the main textiles hub in Italy. Riding the wave of success the town experienced in the 80’s and 90’s, they decided to open a textile business to supply big retail brands — Mango and Zara among them. In time, and following a couple of successful collaborations, they expanded to create their own fashion brand, Liu Jo, which today encompasses clothing, accessories, handbags, perfumes, sunglasses, jewels and watches.
Interestingly, the company name was a combination of the nicknames Marco Marchi and an old friend used for each other — Liu for her and Jo for him. Because of this, even in Italy today some think Liu Jo is an international brand, when in fact it is 100% Italian.
In 1983 the 22-year-old Nerio Alessandri put together his first gym machinery in the relative comfort of his own garage in Cesena. Forward 32 years and Technogym is today one of the best known fitness equipment brands, its machines used by more than 35 million people every day. Most recently, Technogym has been selected as official supplier for Chelsea FC and the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games, after having already acted in the same role for a number of other Olympic Games.
Another brand guided by an owner with great vision, it was Technogym that introduced the concept of wellness (being healthy) as opposed to simple fitness (looking healthy).
WORLD DUTY FREE
And finally, a small curiosity. Even the World Duty Free brand is Italian, with headquarters in Novara in the North of Italy.
World Duty Free Group is currently present in more than 550 stores and duty-free shops in 20 countries in Europe, the Middle East, North America, Latin America.
These are just some of the unexpectedly Italian brands we know, love and use daily, all representing the best of what Made in Italy has come to signify as a brand in its own: excellence in entrepreneurship, design, manufacture and artisan-ship and last but not least a unique strike of genius by a visionary wunderkind.