Fashion designers evaluate several factors when choosing a good clothing factory to manufacture their clothing lines and apparel accessories. Beyond the sticker price for the fashion labor, designers must consider the quality of the craftsmanship, shipping and customs fees, contract negotiations, language barriers, transparency, and more.
The large, luxury fashion houses that jump to mind when most people think of fashion usually manufacture their apparel products in multiple places because they have the project management teams, dedicated craftsman liaisons, and financial resources to do so. For these brands, it’s not just about the sticker price. It’s also about the premium quality of the piece and the fabric that it’s made of.
Their customers expect the best and gladly pay for it. They must deliver.
Read on to find out how and where luxury clothing companies like Cavalli, Gucci, and more manufacture their clothes and accessories and why.
Where does Gucci manufacture?
Gucci leaves the sacred Italian territory only to create its noble collection of watches. Those are, of course, produced in Switzerland. The rest of the label’s fashion manufacturing stays 100% in Italy.
Where does Prada manufacture clothes?
Prada’s production happens 99% in Italy. The brand only produces special semi-finished products abroad, such as embroidery made in India. The same goes for the other brands in Prada’s fashion group. For example, the production of Jil Sander recently moved to Italy
Where does Roberto Cavalli produce clothes?
The first in every new season’s Cavalli clothing line are 100% made in Italy, while the second runs are partly produced abroad.
What about Salvatore Ferragamo?
Ferragamo’s clothing production takes place strictly in Italy, from accessories to prêt-à-porter. Many of this brand’s Italian production partners have worked exclusively for the Florentine fashion house for years. Once the clothing factories complete the Ferragamo products, they’re delivered to Florence, from all over Italy, for the definitive quality control check before distribution. The only exception are the glasses, produced under license by Luxottica.
Where is Valentino made?
Similar to Cavalli, Valentino creates the first runs of each product line in Italy. For brands such as Marlboro Classics, Lebole Uomo, and Hugo Boss, (which are part of the same brand group as Valentino), delocalization prevails, with production divided between China, India, Turkey, the Czech Republic, and Egypt. The brands opt for this because shipping is cheaper from these locations than in other parts of Asia while production is faster for sales than in Europe.
Where does Versace make its clothes?
Versace crafts most of its apparel products entirely in Italy, through every phase of production. Only some basic products they use, like denim, are sourced from abroad, in Eastern Europe.
How to Work with Luxury Clothing Manufacturers Directly
Made in Italy is the gold standard of quality repeatedly trusted by many luxury fashion houses, including the ones listed above. However, if you neither speak Italian nor live in or frequently travel to Italy, it’s usually difficult to get in touch with these kinds of artisans. That’s because:
- Most of them do not have a website and if they do, it’s not written in English, nor is it SEO optimized, making it difficult to find. Why? Italian manufacturers prefer to focus their time, not on the computer, but actually working on clothing line requests.
- English proficiency in Italy is not high, which may make communication difficult for any fashion designer who does not speak Italian.
- Most Italian factories rely on brokers or distribution companies to manage relationships with fashion designer clients. These types of companies pass their fees onto the designers in the form of high commissions attached to the cost for manufactured clothing units.
That’s why we recommend that any fashion designer interested in having their clothing line Made in Italy look into MakersValley. MakersValley has – and we can’t write this enough – no commissions, markups, or minimum order quantities. Click the button below to learn more about how MakersValley can help you manufacture your clothing line in Italy the easy way.
Is Gucci Made in China?
Is there a handbag, wallet, shoe or any other item that is branded Gucci and is made in China?
Officially, Gucci does not manufacture any of their products in China. All the Gucci manufacturing plants are located within Italy except for a few in other European countries, in particular, France and Spain.
But several reasons make many entertain the idea that there is a plant in China that manufactures at least some part of Gucci items. And the general belief is that these parts are transported to Italy, assembled, packed and branded with the Gucci made in Italy tag
After all, there is a growing trend of major luxury brands from Europe and North America moving their manufacturing operations to China and other similar locations.
China is turning out to be an attractive destination for manufacturers in particular because of the low cost of labour and electricity. It is also one of the largest markets for luxury items.
In short, there is enough motivation for Gucci to move their manufacturing operations to China. That is especially when you consider that many of its competitors have already done so.
In business, if your competitor produces its merchandise at a lower cost than you, then your business is at risk.
It would be best if you cut your costs to match them, and sometimes that involves copying their strategy.
Why is Gucci made in China a no no!?
But why is Gucci, or any other major luxury brand, manufacturing in China a big deal?
Indeed, even brands that are officially doing some of their manufacturing in China try to downplay it.
For example, when Balenciaga decided to manufacture a type of sneakers in China, they had to change the placing of the country of origin tag.
When it was made in Italy, the tag was proudly displayed on the insole. You did not have to struggle to see it.
However, when the shoe manufacturing moved to China, the Made in China tag was hidden somewhere under the tongue.
By the way, Balenciaga is owned by Kering, the same company that owns Gucci.
The reason why manufacturing luxury brands is somehow a taboo comes down to what is known as “Made In” image or products’ nationality bias.
This is the phenomenon of consumers preferring to buy products from a particular country or region.
And that is driven by the belief (often rightly so) that the quality from that product from that country or region is of higher quality
It turns out consumers have behaved this way since ancient times.
Two ironies about the made in china tag
While researching this topic, I came across two glaring ironies.
The first one is that some of the oldest cases of consumers using the place of origin as a marker of quality were recorded during the Chinese Han Dynasty that existed between 220 BC and AD 200.
The second irony is that the first internationality imposed ‘Made in’ labelling was supposed to act as a punishment.
Germany was forced to label its products ‘Made in Germany’ after the first world to allow consumers around the world not to buy them as a protest for its role in the war.
However, in just a few years, ‘Made in Germany’ became a mark of quality and turned into a very useful marketing tool. Other countries had to employ it. Some have seen great success by using it, and to others, it has become a marketing obstacle.
In the fashion industry, ‘Made in Italy’ is the best marker of quality. And that has come from expertise in production that has been accumulated in the country for centuries.
China has struggled to turn the ‘Made in China’ into a positive marker of quality. Indeed, it appearing on luxury products has a negative effect.
And that is because, for a long time, the country focused a lot on the mass production of products targeted at the lower segment of the global market.
While that powered its economy, it created a negative impression in the minds of people who buy luxury goods.
Nevertheless, in the recent past luxury brands have found China attractive in particular for being a low-cost manufacturing location.
Besides, China has a growing middle class, which is turning out to be one of the biggest markets for luxury goods.
Some of the major luxury brands that are officially known to manufacture in China include Balenciaga Prada and Burberry. Others are Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Miu Miu. I should mention that there are native Chinese luxury brands that are coming up.
It turns out though that there are several other major luxury brands, mainly from Europe that have elected to keep their production operations in China a secret.
In an article that the New York Times published in November 2007, fashion writer Thomas Dana claimed to have witnessed the manufacturing of a luxury brand handbag in China. Still, the brand claimed none of its items was being produced in China.
Are there telltale signs?
It is stories like this that make people suspect brands like Gucci.
However, the closest that Gucci has come to being officially accused of manufacturing at least some of their products in China and hiding it from customers and retailers is when the eyewear retail Selima Optique sued its parent company Kering.
According to the lawsuit, Kering misrepresented the details about where their products, in particular glasses, were made.
Selima Optique alleged that while Kering eyeglasses and sunglasses carried the tag that they were ‘Made in Italy,’ they were indeed made in China.
Apparently, Kering engaged in what is known as the “bait-and-switch scheme.” They had the parts made in china then transported to Italy for assembling and packaging.
That allowed the company to benefit from the low cost of manufacturing and also the class that ‘Made in Italy’ tag provided.
Of course, Kering denied these allegations.
The case going to court would have provided an opportunity for the world to know whether indeed any Kering brands, and in particular Gucci, do manufacturer their products in China.
The world did not get that opportunity, though. The parties in the case, Kering and Selima Optique, ended up settling the dispute out of court.
Selima Optique withdrew the lawsuit and the reasons for that were not made public. Perhaps we will never know whether the accusations had some truth in them.
China in Italy
Another allegation that has often been made against Gucci is in regard to its labour source even when its products are indeed made in Italy.
It turns out manufacturers learned that if they could not move their operations to China, they could bring the conditions that attract them in China back to Italy.
In particular, they could have their contractors move to Italy, and then have the cheap Chinese labour follow. And that is killing two birds with a single stone.
These contractors end up using emigrants from China and elsewhere as a source of cheap labor.
While the product ends up having the made in Italy tag, it benefits from the exact reasons why end-users try to avoid Chinese manufactured goods; and that is the underpaid laborers as well as low ethical standards.
To be fair to Gucci and others, it is often the subcontractors who hire the immigrants.
But still, Gucci and others cannot run away from the responsibility of making sure the entire chain observes the highest ethical standards.
This could be one of the reasons, or even the main reason, why Gucci has embarked on a campaign to bring all its production in house.
It has been reported that Gucci has purchased tens of its subcontractors who are located in the city of Florence over the past year.
It is also important to point out that Gucci is investing in its infrastructure in Italy, which could be a sign that they plan to continue manufacturing in the country for a long time.
In 2018, the company opened a 37,000 square-foot factory in Scandicci. It is also in the process of expanding its headquarters in Casellina.
There is another critical point to keep in mind when it comes to the question of whether Gucci manufactures in China. And that is the issue of counterfeits.
China is home to some of the most brazen counterfeiters. It is, therefore, possible for a Gucci branded handbag or shoe to come out of China.
However, the chances that it is a counterfeit are very high. Gucci has put some measures in place to help them identify fakes.
A valuable tool to use is the authentic Gucci bag serial number. This is a unique identifying number that comes with Gucci products.
You can use this number to tell whether a product is authentic or fake.
So is Gucci made in China? No. At least not officially.