Filpucci is about to celebrate a landmark birthday: 50 years of activity in the production of high-end and creative knitwear yarns. A glorious past behind it and a future rich in promise ahead, with the handover of the business to the younger generation already achieved and a well-tested management team. The president and founder of the company Leandro Gualtieri (in the image with his son Federico), alongside Giuliano Coppini (with whom he founded Lineapiù), is a legendary name in the yarn manufacturing business, a name that from Prato has travelled the world, along with his innovative and sustainable yarns, which are very popular with the world’s greatest fashion designers.
An important anniversary: how do you plan to celebrate it?
We are working on a book that is not meant to be self-praising, but rather a source of inspiration for the future. It gathers our most emblematic threads: I think can say without false modesty that they can be described as milestones because of the innovation, of both product and processing, that we brought to the industry. I hope this book will be inspirational for young people.
How has the textile industry changed over the past few years?
Fashion is a fast-changing industry, and there is no doubt that there has been a considerable acceleration of speed in the past few years. Customers are the first to investigate solutions to deal with global competition, concerning retail, online sales and recession stages. Of course, we are dependent upon their choices. For the time being, there has been a fragmentation of the collections: the Zara method is becoming increasingly popular even among those who work in the high-end market.
Of course this has repercussions on your company’s strategies.
Yes, absolutely, this way of working involves small orders that are fast and easy to fill. Unfortunately, this way of working, besides requiring a well-structured and organized company, sends up costs because the plants’ efficiency is reduced, which is something that affects the whole textile chain. Just think about dyeing mills, which have to use small tanks to dye small quantities. As a consequence, we all have to reorganize our system to produce at lower costs without sacrificing quality nor raw materials and processing stages. To us, this is a must, but it is not always shared by other brands, which rely more on the logo than on quality.
How do consumers react to these two different approaches?
Well, relying only the brand name is definitely not a successful strategy nowadays. Consumers are mature and careful about their spending. Today, luxury is not about brand names, but about the processing, quality and creativity behind a product.
In Prato, but also in Biella, investors and foreign groups are shopping for textile companies. Has Filpucci received any purchase enquiry or request for business partnership?
No, Filpucci is not being “courted” by anyone right now. Actually, the yarn manufacturing business is less appealing to potential investors than textile companies are. The image is not that recognizable. However, as far as we are concerned, I am proud to say that I have seen garments made with our yarns with our label inside all over the world. Such a visibility is very important to us and very rewarding.
How has Prato changed?
I must regretfully admit that in Prato the textile chain has nearly disappeared. We ourselves had to invest in machinery required for certain processing stages which were carried out by other companies of the district up to a few years ago. We are nearly a full-cycle company. This has serious disadvantages: such a situation leads to less flexibility and to a loss of skills and knowledge within the district.