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From the Cashmere Valley to ancient processes, Umbria is the land of fabrics

Umbria Fashion is a format that I created in 2023: a showcase for Umbrian fashion, a lounge where to meet and discuss the fashion world, but above all a catwalk where emerging young people can train and come into contact with the many workers of the region. The second edition will be staged in Perugia on 19-20 October 2024 and to accompany you to the event I thought I would tell you about fashion in my own way, in this column within AboutUmbria. Past, present and future of this sparkling world, but also pills and curiosities… to help you discover the many Umbrian realities, often unknown to most!

 

In the first episode of Umbria Fashion I talk to you about textile Umbria with its ancient processes, because if the English call the Trasimeno area The Cashmere Valley, there is a reason.
It is precisely in the DNA of this region that the vocation for knitwear and the manufacturing of fine products has formed and consolidated 500 companies specialized in the processing of the most noble and refined of yarns. Connoisseurs of beauty and culture come from all over the world to visit the art treasures and natural beauties of Umbria, but also for shopping.
Umbria is one of the Italian regions that boasts the largest number of members of the ITF – Italian Textile Fashion traceability system, which represents a choice of transparency and denotes the desire to enhance the great heritage of professionalism and craftsmanship that characterizes its companies. The ITF label is a guarantee for the consumer, who knows he has purchased an original item without any counterfeiting, but also for the manufacturer who can build his competitive advantage by focusing on quality and ethics.

 

Il punto umbro, detto anche Sorbello. Foto Casa Museo di Palazzo Sorbello

Ancient processes

In Umbria, many artisan workshops are still active in which production is based on the use of techniques and rare machinery, such as the Jacquard loom from the late nineteenth century: the art of weaving, embroidery and lace in the region has different traditions and peculiarities. Weaving is characterized, in Perugia for example, in the typical embroidery of the city’s emblem: the Grifo, or in medieval and Renaissance geometric motifs; in Città di Castello and Montefalco the peculiarity is the finely hand-worked fabrics; in Panicale the embroidery on tulle – introduced at the beginning of the last century – and that on fabric that the Poor Clare nuns of Assisi were already practicing in the thirteenth century, having perhaps inherited it from the Coptic Christians; while in Orvieto it is lace making that represents the most superb production, with the Ars Wetana, founded in 1907 on the initiative of the aristocrats.

That the textile industry is a symbol of the history of Umbria is also demonstrated by the fact that fabrics were protagonists in the life of one of its prominent figures, Saint Francis of Assisi: his father, Pietro di Bernardone, was a merchant of precious fabrics. The Saint stripped himself of those wonderful fabrics in the square of Foligno, when he decided to embrace Sister Poverty. Eight centuries later, Umbrian textiles remain one of the region’s thriving sectors. A success that is due to the ability of Umbrian companies to enhance their historical heritage of artisanal excellence, in particular in knitwear, a production segment that has supported the global growth of some well-known brands, generating orders from international luxury brands and giving life to a dense network of fason makers specialized in high range.


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