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Interview with Cesare Citterio

Cesare Citterio
Cesare Citterio
President & CEO
Cifra Spa
Cifra Spa

The warp knit seamless of CIFRA: sustainable and iconic
Founded in Northern Italy in the late 1970s, Cifra Spa is a manufacturing company better known as ‘warp knit centre of excellence’ that produces garments for private brands with an exclusive technology. With its knitting facility with Rachel and jacquard double needle bar machines fully located in Verano Brianza, Cifra produces for the major international brands. In a discussion with Fibre2Fashion, Cifra President & CEO Cesare Citterio talks about warp knitted seamless apparel, and the reason behind outsourcing a portion of manufacturing.

How old is the technology for warp knitted seamless apparel? Since how many years is CIFRA using this technology?

We started to work on WKS for hosiery 25 years ago, and for top sportswear brands since last nine years.

What is the global market size for warp knitted seamless apparel? What per cent of this is accounted for by CIFRA?

It is still very small, only 3 or 4 producers in the world. CIFRA has the biggest capacity with about 25 machines.

Your company makes athleisure/sportswear. What is the growth rate in these types of clothing over the last few years?

The growth rate is about 10 per cent. We are satisfied because more and more brands appreciate our technology.

For sportswear, moisture management is important. What special features in CIFRA clothing addresses this?

The knitting structure of warp knit in combination with some special fibres (ex: dryarn) and also dyeing treatment make these garments very good in terms of performance for moisture management.

While your knitting operations are in Italy, a portion of your sewing and dyeing is outsourced to other countries. What is the reason behind it?

We have some partnership with companies like MAS outside of Italy in order to be more competitive in terms of prices. But for many brands we have everything done in Italy with prototypes 100 per cent done in CIFRA so as to make the process faster.

What kind of problems did you face during the supply chain disruptions in 2021? What steps have you taken to be prepared for future disruptions?

There were some difficulties in having fibre yarn supplied, but generally we handled the situation without great issues. Maybe this situation is promoting reshoring operations for some brands and this will help to boost productions for European market.

What is unique about your company’s products that differentiates them from others?

We have some patents on warp knit seamless technology and I think we are the only company that operates to a certain level with it. We have 10 CAD designers which means 80 hours a day of new designs, and also we already have a full offer of sustainable fibres, both synthetic recycled and natural as wool and Tencel.

From which countries/regions do you source your raw materials like fibre, yarn and elastic?

90 per cent Italy and 10 per cent Israel.

Which is the most used fibre for your hosiery and lingerie products? Are those items compatible with tropical climate?

Polyamide 6.6 with Lycra is still the most sold fibre for hosiery. Some brands are starting with sustainable fibres like econyl and qnova

Do you have any expansion plans in the near future?

Yes, to be 100 per cent sustainable, there is still something to do.

Any plans to launch your own brand?

Launching our own brand does not make any sense for us, as it is a different job.
Published on: 31/01/2022

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.