Interview: Francesca from Bertolo Cashmere
Bertolo are a family run business based in Milan, Italy best known for their luxury cashmere sweaters. They make no secret of their proud heritage and ‘Made in Italy’ ethos and we’ve been blown away by the quality of their products.
Now we've added the Bertolo name to our website, we thought it only polite to learn more about their history so asked none other than the granddaughter of the founder and current Head of Operations, Francesca Bertolo for an interview.
We’re delighted to be your first stockist in the UK. For people not familiar with Bertolo, tell us a bit about your brand and the sort of thing our customers can expect from your clothing.
Bertolo Cashmere was born on 1981 in Vergiate, a small town close to Lago Maggiore, in the north part of Italy, but Bertolo’s family company is much older and takes its know-how from three generations of Italian artisans, always focused on high quality, totally Made in Italy.
The company was started in the 50s by Isabella Bertolo’s parents and was carried on by Isabella and her husband Giuseppe then undertaken by their children Federico and Francesca.
"The secret is to be a family first, but also a team. This way nobody leads the others, but everyone brings their own contribution..." - FB
Bertolo is a family firstly, and we strongly believe in the value of an artisanal Italian product that draws from the virtues and tradition of Made in Italy, reviewed with the most innovative and modern techniques.
The Bertolo logo features a suit of armour and a shield, what’s the story behind this?
Bertolo’s logo tells of our long history! In fact, it is the logo of the Bertolo family, received in the past because of our ancestor's noble origins and represents a knight which is a symbol of soul noblesse, loyalty and pureness that are the guidelines that rule the Bertolo family.
You’ve been a family business for three generations now. What do you think the secret is to having a long running family business in the 21st century?
The secret is to be a family first, but also a team. This way nobody leads the others, but everyone brings their own contribution to reach the common objective, which is to produce “the best sweaters in the world”.
Every one of us has different skills, characters and ideas, so it is important that everybody contributes and has their say in every single decision, at every level, both strategic and operative. This is absolutely essential when creating the best collections which have to be the result of different ideas, concepts and moods in order to satisfy all the different traits of our customer’s character.
Why do you think it’s important to stay independent?
Staying independent is crucial. Our business is totally run and controlled by our family, and that means that we can make all the decisions internally and in a short time.
This allows us to be more flexible and more effective with the demands of the market.
"Bertolo’s works of art are a combination of Italian Culture, Sculpture, Painting and Literature." - FB
If there are two things that Italy is famous for it’s good coffee and fine clothing. What pushes you to be part of the great Italian sartorial tradition?
Our strong passion for Italy and the Italian sartorial tradition is the main motivation. Italy is an amazing territory, full of energy and beautiful traditions. Bertolo’s works of art are a combination of Italian Culture, Sculpture, Painting and Literature.
Speaking of art, we’re fascinated by your in-house artist that paints limited edition sweaters by hand. What more can you tell us about this process? How do you paint a sweater?
Our brand was born with the aim to create unique pieces for the elegant and refined man who was looking for a different product and style. We believe the most beautiful kind of uniqueness and beauty is art. Art must be worn, not just watched. That's why we decided to create a limited set of hand-painted sweaters, painted one at a time by an artist. The result is unique, beautiful creations with which we try to represent the beauties of the world, and especially of our wonderful Italy. It's a luxury for those who still want to be unique.
"There’s a hidden spirit within these perfect natural forms. Our aim is to make them come alive." - FB
Where do you draw your inspiration from for the design elements of your sweaters?
The mood of our last collection perfectly explains the way in which we take our inspiration: Bertolo is “A world where forms become inspiration”.
For our shapes and designs, we take our inspiration from the Italian landscape and the natural forms around us. As we used to say, there’s a hidden spirit within these perfect natural forms. Our aim is to make them come alive.
The Bertolo fossil textured knit quarter zip polo
The Bertolo name is synonymous with high-quality Cashmere. Tell us about your sourcing process, what you look for, and why does cashmere make perfect sweaters.
It is not possible to create luxury products without using very high-quality raw materials.
The fibres we use are the result of lengthy research and know-how passed down through the generations. Our suppliers were carefully selected and only the best raw materials are used to create Bertolo’s products.
There are many different kinds of fibres when it comes to Cashmere, but we select only the best to create exclusive products.
"To produce such a high-quality product we need very highly qualified personnel and innovative processes." - FB
What other materials do you work with?
We are known as producers of sweaters made from Cashmere, Cashmere and Silk, and Cashmere and Tasmania Wool, but the reality is that our collection includes a lot of materials.
For the Summer collection, we use the best Silk, Sea Island Cotton Crepe and soft blends of Cotton and Silk. In winter we even use an extraordinary yarn containing Milk and Cashmere and also the very best Cashmere which is known as Millionaire Cashmere.
Bertolo Garda Bluette and White polo
You make all your products in-house, in Italy. Why? Was it ever an option to outsource?
Our collection is solely designed and produced in Italy. We have never taken into consideration the possibility of outsourcing; primarily because to produce such a high-quality product we need very highly qualified personnel and innovative processes. The entire cycle of production is still kept inside the company; this permits us to be very flexible with market requests.
Well, it's certainly evident in the quality of the products. We're proud to have them in stock. Thanks very much Francesca!
If you want to take a look at the rest of our Bertolo Cashmere collection, head here.