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MILAN — Brunello Cucinelli SpA is launching a tailoring and made-to-measure men’s project and has signed a memorandum of understanding to buy men’s suit producer Sartoria d’Avenza from d’Avenza Fashion SpA for 3.5 million euros, or $4.6 million at current exchange. The division employs 56 workers.
This story first appeared in the September 4, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Italian luxury firm is also planning to purchase the property located in Avenza, near Tuscany’s Carrara, where the business is and will continue to be based. The d’Avenza trademark is not part of the purchase.
The Cucinelli group has been granted exclusive negotiating rights until the end of January, and the transaction will be finalized at the beginning of 2014. Trade unions were notified on Tuesday.
Brunello Cucinelli said it was a “great honor” to work with his “esteemed friend” Renato Cecchi and his Sartoria d’Avenza, which has a history of more than 50 years and a top men’s wear heritage. “The company and its area around Carrara represent a district of excellence in Made in Italy for the tailoring of men’s suits,” said Cucinelli.
Separately, in October Cucinelli will inaugurate the Solomeo “School of Crafts” in the medieval village that the entrepreneur has restored and where his company is based. The Solomeo school will offer annual craftsmanship training to young apprentices, with a focus on knitwear.
“We think that ancient crafts can provide a dignified future and new prospects for today’s youth,” Cucinelli said. “Giving back to man and work the dignity they deserve has always been my dream. The school is meant to be a vivid and concrete experience in which learning a craft occurs in an environment imbued with humanistic values. Lawrence the Magnificent considered artisans to be somehow akin to great artists. Like workshops back in the Renaissance, schools of crafts are a noble expression of craftsmanship, a halfway between art and technique; they therefore complete the human, cultural and spiritual training that, I hope, might stir in our youth the desire to grow up and question itself, the honesty to admit one’s mistakes, the ability to use manual skills to serve intelligence and to be ‘concretely creative.’”
In Solomeo, in Italy’s Umbria region, Cucinelli has created a namesake theater with programs of prose, music and dance, and the Aurelian Neo-humanistic Academy, which hosts seminars on philosophy, history, architecture and spirituality.
Following the spirit of ancient Greece, the Solomeo School aims to become a place of dialogue between “disciples” and “wise men.” The courses of technical training and craftsmanship will be held at the Solomeo school from October to June, from Monday to Friday. Students will be selected by public notice, receive a study grant, and in this first year will follow daily courses on darning and the art of mending.
The company already has internal training courses, where more than 60 apprentices work each day with Cucinelli’s workforce.