Brioni’s First Designer T-shirt

Last month there was an extensive article in the paper of record about Brioni’s move to incorporate more casual clothing in its mix, in keeping with the global trend. The New York Times reported that the company decided to come out with its first T-shirt ($250), saying “it’s a telling sign of how both the financial crisis and changing consumer habits are forcing even the most conservative, family-owned luxury goods makers to adapt to a new world.”

While Brioni remains profitable,  unfortunately it has been “forced to reduce the shifts of its 1400 tailors, seamstresses and cutters in the Abruzzo region.”

Yes, every company has to make concessions to the economy and to the changes in the lifestyle of its clientele. But for me, here’s the important part: “Unlike such bigger rivals as Zegna, Brioni has refused to move any of its manufacturing out of Italy to cheaper locales like Mexico.” And for this, I have to commend the company’s management — because once you’ve toured the factory in Penne, Italy and interviewed its tailors and workers, you will never look at one of Brioni’s suits in the same way again. I’ve been there about four or five times and never tire of it. Plus, Penne is such a charming town located in a beautiful region of Italy.

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