Interview with Gaetano Lanfranchi

Face2Face
Gaetano Lanfranchi
Gaetano Lanfranchi
Owner
Ditta Giovanni Lanfranchi S.p.A.
Ditta Giovanni Lanfranchi S.p.A.

We recycle almost all our production remnants

Ditta Giovanni Lanfranchi S.p.A. has been in operation for more than a century and is known for producing sustainable, eco-friendly accessories. In an exclusive chat with Fibre2Fashion, Gaetano Lanfranchi, owner and great-grandson of the company's founder, talks about the company's legacy.

The company is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. Please tell us the growth story.

We have a long history and impressive heritage. Lanfranchi was established in 1887 by Giovanni Lanfranchi, my great-grandfather. We started as a button producer in an area called The Italian Manchester. The place got its name from the concentration of industry and the abundance of energy from the water of the Oglio River. 

Zips were invented in 1892 but the first models were not so practical as they are today. The real and effective application of zips began during World War I. Soldiers found zips practical for their tobacco bags. Lanfranchi decided to enter this new business during World War II, forced by a scarcity of raw material for buttons and the loss of the United Kingdom as a market. Threatened by airstrikes, we had to move all machinery quickly from Milan to Palazzolo, which continues to be a major site for us. We stopped making buttons a few years later and began to concentrate on zips, acquiring patents for unique models.

Lanfranchi is now organised across five plants, all located in the north of Italy, and 400 workers with a completely vertical integration. We start from raw materials and produce finished products, from the sewing of the tape to the moulding of components, from the plating to the dyeing everything is done internally, assuring our customers with the best technology and environment care. If you compare the last century zips to the ones produced now-a-days, maybe the difference will not be that visible but we really had an impressive upgrade of materials, finishings, combination of new technologies to keep the fast pace of fashion and designers' demands. It is our great point of strength to let customers choose and combine any feature, we can characterise us as 'industrial artisans' of high-end zips.

Please elaborate on the different types of accessories manufactured by your company.

We produce all kinds of zips - moulded, spiral, metal and the high polished metal that we call Superlampo, which was also the age-old way to make zips. Each tooth is cut, polished, plated (sometimes with 24K gold) and then applied onto the tape, reaching an unparalleled smooth running and luxurious appearance. Today's quality standards definitely give more flexibility to our customers.

Where do you source raw material from?

We source from Italy or abroad and the decision is driven by quality standards and reputation. For example, Zamac is the base material of all accessories and is supplied by the best known European producer with 100 per cent traceability.

Where are your manufacturing units? What is the manufacturing capacity for each of your accessories?

All plants are based in Italy within a radius of 20 km. Our main capacity is dedicated to Superlampo, but we can produce over 40 million pieces of all accessories every year.

Can you tell us who your major clients are?

Privacy agreements do not allow us to disclose their names but we are proud to serve all Italian, European and American top quality garment and accessory makers. Zips are versatile trims. They are used on garments and accessories like bags or purses. We are focused on fashion rather than on technical items because we love to leave our Italian mark, a mark of style, excellent quality and flexibility.
Published on: 16/06/2017

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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