We had the pleasure of interviewing Elena Conti, sales director of the famous Made in Italy knitwear brand, Bramante.
The history of the Tuscan company, owned by the Conti Family, involves three generations and in this interview Elena Conti tells us how the art of knitting has its roots in her family, which over the years has been able to create many high quality knitwear collections with success. We also discussed the importance of the Made in Italy, which is an undisputed choice of the company since the beginning and in fact, definetly a reason why Bramante has been one of the leading brands in the Italian knitwear scene for over 70 years.
Elena, pleasure to meet you, to start off would you like to tell us something about your education and how did you end up working at Bramante?
I studied “Communiaction and Media Studies” at the Notthingam Trent University, which those years had a campus in Bologna. Knitwear has been a part of my life since childhood as my family is the owner of the company Bramante, which praises three generations of history – of which, me, my brother Riccardo and my cousins Eleonora and Francesca in fact, are a part.
When and how was Bramante established?
Bramante was established in Novembre of the 1978, transforming the know-how of knitting of the family (think that my grandmother Angela, the founder of our company, started knitting at the age of 8 years and continued until the age of 93 years, which was the year of her departure, she never got bored and always had the desire to learn as a little girl would have) into a brand that would sell at the retail level and be targeted to the middle-high market. The brand Bramante gains fame in the mid-80s, when as a result of a collaboration between a large spinning company and our technicians, TRIPLORITORTO was created. This yarn, which we have exclusively worldwide, is a true milestone of all our collections. In fact, it’s made of 100% extra-fine merino wool spinning together three yarns, which makes the finished shirt’s fabrics very elastic and compact at the same time, also to avoid almost completely the pilling effect (those dots you may find on sweaters after use).
As for the style of the company, how would you describe it?
Our taste is very “calm” and clean, highlighting the high quality wools, ranging from merino to cashmere, and the beautifully combined colors. I like to define it “Casual & Chic”.
And why do you think so many people continue to choose Bramante’s garments?
Bramante is an assurance of both quality and style of the product. It has a strong identity on the market combined with an excellent quality/price ratio, which is the secret of our success. A bit like slow food!
Tell us about the salient aspects of Bramante.
As I said before, our knitwear lasts for years, because it’s made with accuracy and with a lot of attention that only those who have been doing knitwear for 70 years can know.
What does “Made in Italy” mean today and what it’s worth?
For us, “Made in Italy” is the basis on which we stand on and our greatest strength. We’ve always said no to relocation of the production of our knitwear because we don’t want to be confused with many other brands that have chosen to do so. Those who buy Bramante expect only the best and we cannot dissapoint them.
Finally, can you tell us how to recognize a high quality knitwear garment? What are the main characteristics?
There are many little “tricks” that will help you to recognize a high quality garment, first of all don’t trust too soft and silky garments, these have often been treated with silicone softeners that, once washed at home, bring the fibers to the surface and causes an evident pilling. This often happens with pure cashmere (especially those you may find at low prices – high quality cashmere is expensive). It’s enough to turn inside out a sweater to find out if it’s made well, if the seams are beautiful also at this side you can be sure that it’s a well made knitwear garment. Also check the coasts of the hem and wrists, if you try to stretch them, they should not deform. I think this is already enough to understand the quality level of the garment you have purchased.