The real costs of made in Italy

Find out what are the real costs of producing made in Italy clothing products. Learn the difference between authentic and fake made in Italy products

FABIO PARISI
Contributor

Ad Hoc Atelier is a marketplace created to promote and support the best of Made in Italy artisan fashion. We are convinced that Made in Italy has an absolute value in terms of quality and uniqueness, but unfortunately small Italian companies are struggling to adapt to new sales models, with only 12% of brands managing to sell online. Moreover, one of the biggest problems that Made in Italy has to face is the continuous fight against fake Italian products.

A first major obstacle has a legislative matrix. The Italian law does not protect the "real Made in Italy" at all. In fact, it is sufficient for brands to import practically finished products, carry out a couple of very marginal processes in Italy and then be able to apply the desired Made in Italy label.

Italy is famous for quality leather goods, for the creativity of Italian designers and creative directors, and for the historical Italian fashion houses that made Italian luxury appreciated all over the world. But without strong protection this enormous value is diluted.

This practice is extremely harmful for the most authentic brands that really create in Italy, which are penalized by the dilution of the value of Made in Italy.

We at Ad Hoc Atelier are committed to verifying all phases of our brands' production, so as to ensure that we have companies that carry out all their processes in Italy.

A second obstacle for Made in Italy is the exploitation of cheap labor. It is increasingly common to rely on large manufacturing laboratories in Italy, which exploit underpaid and non-compliant workers. In this way, brands can boast of being Made in Italy, while also managing to keep costs to a minimum.

This practice is extremely detrimental to those who are still linked to a quality and sustainable fashion, based on solid values and passion. Therefore, a key role is played by the transparency of the brands, which should always explain their entire supply chain, too often kept hidden from consumers.

Thus, a third obstacle for Made in Italy is the high production costs. The high standard costs and the ease with which it is possible to obtain Made in Italy certification, even by producing abroad, make the practice of relocating crucial production phases abroad increasingly widespread.

Although it is wrong to generalize and take for granted that producing in Italy automatically means creating a quality product, the relocation of production activity decreases the possibility to meticulously control the processes and workings behind the products.

In this short guide, we'll show you what the real costs of manufacturing in Italy are, comparing them to abroad. We hope it will help you recognize which products are actually made in Italy and which are fakes.

We will rely only on objective values and not personal ones. Therefore, we will not refer to the quality of the products, even if it is universally recognized that Italian manufacturing is a real excellence. However, also by virtue of our experience in search of the best brands made in Italy, the quality can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer.

Therefore, it is wrong to say a priori that a Made in Italy product is better than others. Instead, we will show objective and real data, which can not leave biased interpretations. So, how much does labor cost, what are the differences with India, for example? How much do the fixed costs to maintain a production plant active? Here is all the most relevant information

The costs of manufacturing for fashion brands from Italy 

Labor in Italy costs ten times more than in Sri Lanka. It is clear that this difference in costs is at the base of the hyper competitive prices of fast fashion, which is based on the exploitation of labor at below normal prices. Furthermore, according to Fashion Revolution, 93% of workers in manufacturing firms in third world countries receive a salary below the poverty line.

Therefore, deciding to buy a product made in Italy by skilled artisans is not just a choice of style. It is an ethical alternative to products made by exploiting child labor and cheap labor.

Handmade in Italy - The costs of electricity

Producing in Italy requires very high standard costs, even higher than countries like Germany and France. As far as light is concerned, Italy is the most expensive country in Europe. Moreover, in some countries such as Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia the costs are even lower than reported if a company proves that the production is aimed entirely at export. These costs, if at a first reading they may seem marginal, have a drastic impact on production.

To give an explanatory example, these are the average costs for a single weaving loom:
- Electricity consumption: 8 kw/h
- Consumption in a day: 8 kw/h x 24 h = 192 kw/h per day
- Electricity consumption in a year: 192 kw/h 57.600 kw/h per year

- Cost for a single weaving loom in Italy: €13.478,00
- Cost for a single loom for weaving in China: €5.068,80
- Cost for a single loom for weaving in Sri Lanka: €3.168,00

Conclusions

Made in Italy has an extraordinary value when it comes to clothing. An Italian production is often synonymous with quality and style of the first level. Unfortunately, however, generalizing is often dangerous: it is not enough to check the labels of the product and verify only that it says Made in Italy to be sure to have a quality product.

As we have seen, nowadays there are many realities that exploit the value of Made in Italy without fully submitting to the fundamental values that this wording provides. The ideal solution would be to investigate the history and production of fashion brands from which we want to buy. While evaluating the purchase we must keep in mind that necessarily a product made entirely in Italy costs more than one produced in other countries, exploiting labor and using low quality materials.

We are aware that getting to know a brand takes time and is not always possible. For this reason, we at Ad Hoc Atelier do it directly for you: we travel all over Italy looking for the best made in Italy brands and we make them available with a click.

Before adding a new brand, we check the quality of the products, we make sure that it is entirely made in Italy and we check that it has an ethical production.

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