We had the chance to push the doors of one of the most famous fabric producers in the world, accompanied by Olivier Cothenet, founder of the brand Agency Artist.
First of all, who is Olivier Cothenet?
Olivlier Cothenet has created the brand of shirts Office Artist, I invite you to discover. He wanted to create a brand of shirt for active young people who like to go to work in nice clothes (he just wants to offer workers, effective formal shirts, with a beautiful style, made in beautiful cloths).
I found it very interesting to share this short stay in Italy with a contractor who made this product (tissue) its core business (on top of that, it’s super valves).
A test of the brand lies in the second part of this article.
Albini… to Albino tissue
After the visit of Cerruti in Biella spinning, it was important for us to make you discover the world of the shirt and especially: what is a good fabric? How is it produced? What’s the point of buy a beautiful fabric?
Before answering these questions, a little history is necessary. Albini is a family house (like many businesses) Italian founded in 1876 in Albino, a few kilometres from Bergamo.
Since its inception, the headquarters remains the same, equipped, year after year, of the best technologies.
At the time, the Albini family moved to Bergamo for 2 main reasons:
- The abundance of water (important to produce a beautiful cloth) quality.
- Today Silvio Albini (5th generation of the founding family) leads the group with his brothers: Fabio, Andrea and Stefano.It feels good this Italian industrial mentality welded to the family. Albini is Italian textile, Barilla to agribusiness, Fiat Auto and Beretta to the… firearms. The 5th generation is truly the creation-oriented because every 6 months, Albini renews its collections (colors, design, products, finishes,…).
Their goal is to never stop to develop to be able to respond to a request always more demanding and stay in the race in the face of emerging markets. According to Silvio Albini: “we create quality.» We must not be guided by Chinese, Indian and Turkish markets ».
The Group unfolds also a lot overseas, with agents present in more than 60 countries. The requests of the customers are clearly different countries and cultures (Silvio Albini will hear us in the interview).
Origin of Albini cotton?
According to Albini, a classic cotton sourcing is not enough to make a high-quality shirt. The final fabric depends on too much of the original quality of the cotton. So they chose a radical but effective solution: control the production from A to Z.
This makes Albini group totally integrated, the growing of cotton in the marketing of the fabric.
The Group produces 3 sorts of cotton (two Egyptians and the Caribbean) and flax (Norman).All crops are made by hand, in cotton bags do not pollute the fibers or risk of tearing them.
Cotton, it’s like wine, according to his treatment or the framework in which it develops, it will give a different fiber. So why Albini has 3 farms of different cotton? Maybe that will enlighten your:
- Giza 45 cotton : Giza 45 is grown East of the Nile. It is only 0.4% of global cotton production. This area has an ideal climate for the growth of cotton (warm days and nights cooler). Harvested cotton fiber is very fine: 2.80 microns. Despite the fineness of the fiber, it remains extremely resistant. This cotton consist the best fabrics of the group.
- Cotton Giza 87 : like the 45, it is grown along the Nile River. Its special feature is its softness that lasts, that duuuure. The Albini Group promises an almost non-existent worsening wash after wash. Basically, if you want a soft shirt that does not move, need you the Giza 87. He is also recognized for its natural shine.
- Sea Island (Caribbean) cotton : 0.0004% of global cotton production. Its main characteristic is its length of 39 mm fiber (which is huge). It is also very soft and resistant.
Each cotton has its specificity and meets a very specific need.
Albini, is now 4 distinct brands that meet 4 very different markets:
- Albini : specializing in sophisticated, refined, tissue that play on textures for a simple and effective style.
- Thomas Mas we : you’ve probably heard this brand which is a reference to the tailors. It is the oldest House that Albini holds today (1796). Home English for an English style, proposed by Thomas Mason fabrics are so elegant but also more extravagant. There are strong colors and stripes for example.
- Albiate : Milanese House acquired in 2000 by the Albini family and which meets the demands of a shirt more casual. The Mensshirtsshop finds denim, jacquard, and fabrics for clothing of sports shirts.
- David & John Anderson : this is the top of the pyramid. If you wish to buy the finest fabric in the world, this is where to stop. Indeed, for this House, only the best cottons are selected (Benoit note: I had the opportunity to touch fabrics David & John Anderson, they are actually the most beautiful cotton material that I could see: the silkiness of the material’s surreal).
The titration of cotton
To understand what a high quality fabric, I’ll explain quickly what is the number of wire or titration of the wire: 120, 120/2, 140/2…
The first number is the number of Hanks of 840 yards (768,1 m) contained in an English pound (453.6 g) of cotton. FYI, a skein is a blend of twisted wire:
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