Galliera Veneta is the place where Gallia was created as a Made in Italy shirt brand. They manufacture eighty thousand pieces per year, 60% of which for export. They invested in “made to measure”. Between a revival of the comb stitch and new cotton/silk or wool/cashmere mixtures.
The art of shirt manufacturing is the title heading introducing Gallia to the rest of the world. Collars, cuffs, cuts and fabrics, processes and finishing of these high-end shirts aim at dressing the best Italian tailoring tradition. Their collections are made for important fashion houses, integrated with handicraft “made to measure” garments for an individual client. The five thousand square meter factory relies on a staff of approximately eighty people to make about eighty thousand shirts per year. 60 percent of the output goes abroad, mainly to U.S., Russia and Japan. Entirely made in Italy pieces processed at the company’s factory in Galliera Veneta – where the brand was born as far as 60 years ago, in 1958; the pieces are hand sewn and embroidered by reliable, selected assigned manufacturers within the Padua cluster. As Marco Capra, managing director of Confezioni Gallia Srl explains.
How was Gallia establishe and what is its heritage of traditions?
Gallia was established in 1958 in Galliera Veneta, where the factory is based; its name originates from the name of the place and also corresponds to the brand of its first line. Its tradition is typical of the region and of the district it works in, where high quality mills and specialized manufacturers are based;actually in a sixty years’ business this company helped local manufacturers reach a superior competitive position and focus on excellence. Such a good experience counts on number of collaboration projects with top international fashion design houses. As I said, our major production site is and will continue to be in Galliera Veneta, in our five thousand sq.mt. factory. This is the where the business started sixty years ago; we are very proud to have managed to keep the production site where it is, without having to delocalize. Our strategy now rewards us with a reliable product, genuinely made in Italy. With the network of interconnected suppliers, we total 80 production workers who make approximately 80,000 shirts per year. About 60 percent of our turnover results from export to the US, Russia, Japan.
Let us talk about your business philosophy and the features of Gallia branded products on the market.
Quality in manufacture and exclusive materials are the basic items while we have focused on the “Made in Italy” principle, on excellent, consistent reliability. The facts confirm it: sophisticated collections that stand out with unique processes. See, for example, the creativity we have been developing to obtain a topstitching that establish the style of a shirt. International clients clearly feels the Italian origin of such a product.
How is a 100 percent made-in-Italy artisanship visible and tangible? Can you give us some examples of processes, like the comb stitch on a collar and cuffs?
In fact, the comb stitch is a happy intuition of our design department. Inspired by the stitch of the same name that, on the feminine side, established the success of patchwork in the Sixties, proved to be perfect also in terms of contrasting colours of the collar and cuff fabric. On our sixtieth anniversary from the company’s foundation, we developed a special embroidery skill so as to be able to embroider the client’s signature on the cuff or on other sections of a shirt. A first item of this kind was a shirt for Vladimir Putin. We are going to offer this opportunity at the next Pitti Immagine Uomo event within a special project we are working on. The major role will be played by some important persons coming from our major markets, that is from Russia, the US, Japan and Italy as well.
What kind of fitting, fabrics and range do you offer, how do you select the raw materials and how do you cover your requirements?
We offer a full range of classical basic fabrics, namely cotton, linen and flannel; from the next Autum/Winter 2018 collection, we add some special mixtures, like cotton and silk or wool and cashmere. We have acquired the necessary experience thanks to our cooperation with important fashion houses and can now enrich our offer with unusual shirt materials. All our suppliers are Italian. Top quality is important for us. We even use some mother of pearl for our buttons. Colour is the mission of our design department; in search of the best they visit two trade exhibitions each year: Milano Unica in Milan and Première Vision in Paris.
A special finishing and customized styles, how does your “made to measure” service work”? Your approach to the client and the manufacturing process of the piece.
For “made to measure” pieces we follow what we consider the most efficient procedure. Awaiting a client measuring reliable instrument on the web, we prepared a kit for our retailers to let them get determined data, as accurately as a tailor would do. A dedicated production department acquires the data and skilled workers process the single garment ordered by the retailer. In not more than 10 working days the client can take the made to measure shirt at his/her trusted shop.
Let us consider the design and prototyping stage of new styles. Some examples of your research and experimentation that produced new items in your sample set…
The design department includes highly experienced professionals, progressively joined by young trainees to ensure a continuity of the Gallia style. The sector of high range shirts for men is connected with tradition; hence, the creativity of new models consists of tiny variations, which, in time, may even turn into a revolutionary change. Just to give a musical example, the process is more like a Bach composition than a Stravinsky’s score, where everything is a surprise. Nonetheless, our research is serious, mainly concerning topstitching techniques and the non-conventional use of some sewing machines.
Work organisation in the factory and elsewhere, e.g. at subcontractors’, in which area, and for which processes or finishing stages?
Almost all of the manufacturing processes are carried out on site; however, some subcontractors work for us in the Padua province. A strong point for our company, the team ethic with local firms keeps the cluster alive, in which we operate. They mostly do hand sewing and embroidery. These processes require a great experience and we prefer to select the best operators in the area.
Marketing. Your sales channels.
At present, we prefer not to go for the online channel, in order to concentrate on strengthening the share of international markets we have conquered and on developing new markets. Of course, we aim at those markets we consider ready to appreciate the value of our product. To this purpose, it is important that we select the right retailers, able to support the narration of our offer. For many years, Pitti Immagine Uomo has been our major exhibition, the only one that gives us the opportunity to approach our target of international customers. A final, important note: we are opening our first single brand retail shop in Desenzano. It is an existing shop with a long tradition. They chose to merge with our identity, thereby contributing to develop the concept of top of mind awareness of our trademark, even towards international customers.
What about future projects, or new ideas you are getting to work on?
Beside customized products, which will be a symbol of Gallia’s excellence, we are working on a new website. It will enable a “close” look at our product vision. We also plan a first advertising campaign, produced with a contemporary consumer in mind, one that is keen with trends, however not giving up tradition that is the core of our offer. Moreover, to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary we are preparing an event at the Pitti exhibition to increase trade and media contacts.