By  on January 24, 2019

BORGOSESIA, Italy — Nature — including the unique quality of the Sesia river’s water flowing down from the Alps’ Monte Rosa — and the human touch are essential to the quality of the cashmere, vicuña, guanaco, camel hair and superfine wool Lanificio Luigi Colombo has been treating for decades and that has allowed it to work with the best luxury brands in the world. These are all elements Roberto Colombo, who helms the Italian company, is keenly aware of, as a tour of the plant here — about an hour and a half from Milan and with the Alps in the background — clearly shows.

A huge water purifier stands outside the factory, which employs 400 people, who deftly balance technology and craftsmanship. Colombo did not hop on the sustainability bandwagon recently. “We are aware of the strong impact the textile industry has on the environment and for years we’ve been investing in systems that would allow us to return to nature what nature gives us,” Colombo said. Case in point, the water of the Sesia river, which does not contain any calcium and magnesium salts, gives a unique quality to yarns and fabrics, he explained, through washing, dyeing and finishing, and the purified water is then returned to the river.

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