Memar Hat Millinery

Hats were a sign of status or a job, aristocracy wore the ultimate fashions and fanciest designs, it was a sign of success and wealth. It was disrespectful to walk outside of the house not wearing one, it used to be the completion of the outfit, it was almost as necessary as wearing a corset during the eighteen hundreds.

Visiting Memar Millinery was a remarkable experience, to see the entire process of different types of hats being made. The Memar Millinery is one of the last 3 factories left in Italy that has the means to have production in house. This company has a long history and prestige, as hats have been a tradition in Italy from centuries. The factory started in 1903, it is a family owned business that has been passed down from generation to generation. Memar has vendors, all over the world. They have worked with Macys, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and many more.

The factory has kept itself going by sourcing new materials, coming up with new techniques and collaborations with high-end designers. This way not only the quality of the materials and production is something to admire but the enthusiasm and spirit of competition.

We had a tour around the millinery facilities. Witnessing the work it takes for a straw fedora to be sewn and the shaping of felt and straw hats.  Most of the raw goods come from Italian land but other sources are also used.

At last, we got to be hands on and decorated a hat of our choice.

I am a big fan of accessories but specially hats, after this visit I have learned to have a better appreciation of the craft and skills required for this labor. Memar millinery not only has years of quality and experience, but also passion and heritage.

What’s Gucci, yo?

Hey guys!

My name is Zach, and I’m studying International Fashion Merchandising/Marketing in Florence for my 3rd year at FIT. I’m pleased to say that I’ll be blogging for the FIT in Florence blog now!

Today, us Merchandising/Marketing students took a trip to the GUCCI Headquarters, located in Scandicci, just outside of Florence. In this particular building, there are 1,200 employees. Despite the pouring rain, we were all wide-eyed and excited to see the secrets held inside of this huge designer facility. Upon arrival, we received guest passes with our names on them to be worn around our necks.

We were greeted warmly by a girl who was not much older than us students. She studies part time in Milan and works full time as an assistant to the Production Manager for Gucci in Scandicci. She gave us a tour of each department of the facility. Here, they develop products and create all of the prototypes which are then sent out to 60 different factories who produce and assemble the goods. We were shown an archive of every textile used for their accessories. Every kind of leather (crocodile, python, Louisiana alligator, ostrich) with every type of finish imaginable. I personally loved the black “rubberized” leathers. The things I’d do for a motorcycle jacket of this material! We saw furs of all forms and colors, synthetic materials, sheet-thin deer-skin, and more. The artisans showed us how they cut the leathers, using only the most flawless parts of the leather and using the less-nice parts for finishing touches and small goods. They source from the best tanneries located in Florence. Everything is hand cut using a very tiny, special cutting knife that’s sharpened before every use. Going through the workshop, we saw tons of skilled workers, each working on a different Gucci product, mainly handbags. There is only one man who makes the customized travelling trunks. They take about a month to make each, and sell for an unimaginable amount. You can take your pick from buying a new house, or a hand-made Gucci trunk. Some recent clients mentioned were Rihanna and John Travolta (who apparently uses his two trunks as coffee tables). They can be made with any textile of your choice, and are finished with luxurious hardware, usually gold. Lastly, we were taken to “the bamboo room.” This is where they finish, heat and reform stalks of bamboo for their famous “bamboo bag”. The bamboo is imported from China, and only the roots are used because they are strong and not hollow like the plant itself.

Walking through the halls of Gucci’s headquarters is an overwhelming feeling. We all know gucci, and the quality that is associated with it. Some of us know the crazy story of the Gucci family (Guccio’s vision, the rebellion of his grandchildren, Maurizio’s assassination). Gucci represents a powerhouse of a family, their struggles, and their triumphs. Along the walls are black and white photographs from the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s, showing family members, celebrities, and handsome people wearing Gucci. The lights inside were bright and everything sparkling clean. I hope to someday work at a place like this.

The next time you see a Gucci bag, consider the amount of time and effort that goes into making it. Know that it passes through this facility in Scandicci, and is, in every aspect, a luxury item!

And The Work Continues..

In my previous post (here), I talked about the working progress of our graduation portfolios, but on top of that, we’re also working on our exhibition/graduation garments! Each student found inspiration from our trip to Paris and as a class came up with a concept for our designs. We’re still in the beginning stages of putting our patterns onto fabric, but I’m super excited to see how everyone interpreted the concept and put their own twist to it. And I think that’s the most interesting part about this project, since every single of one us are so different, to have one common theme and constructing garments individually to be shown as a collection. There’s only a few weeks left until graduation, so we’ll all definitely be breaking night till the completion of our portfolios and garments!

Here’s a sneak peak of what we’ve been working on!


{Elisa and her skirt in muslin}

{Taylor with a preview of her dress}

{Sabrina in the process of cutting her patterns}

{Grace working on the understructure for her dress}

{Maggie draping her skirt}

{& the first layer of my dress with a 1/4 of the skirt missing :P}

Even with the amount of work we have, I made the time this weekend to enjoy the sunset at Piazza Michelangelo which overlooks the entire city of Florence. The view was breath-taking, and reminded me of why I love Florence so much..

{In paradise– at Piazza Michelangelo}
Who needs a vacation when you live in a city with a view like this?!

A Work in Progress

As the first week of midterms have gone by, us IFD2 students have been working on our portfolios and our exhibition garments. From now till the second week of April, we will be burying ourselves in our work. Below are some photos of our working progress! Can’t wait to see everyones final collections!! :)


{Gaysha working on her figures}

{Katelyn cutting her pantone color chips}

{Anne lost in a world of swatches!}

{Maggie (left) looking for inspiration & Honey checking her swatches}

{Elisa with her music on and world off}

{Taylor going over her concept with Prof. Feuerherm, also the director for the FIT Milan program- for 3rd & 4th year students}
{Thumbnails, inspiration, color cards, swatches & color pencils}

Happy Friday!! Hope everyone has a good, relaxing weekend! Or drowning yourself in your portfolio… :)

3rd Semester Draping

We finally turned in our final garments yesterday!! Which I think might be the biggest relief since our draping final garments are usually our biggest final project every semester. 3rd semester draping at FIT focuses on soft silhouettes, so we were given this powered blue jersey and an optional navy blue to use as accents for our final garments. Normally in the NYC campus, we definitely do not get free fabric to make an entire garment, but because we are a much smaller group here in Florence, and since we do not have the convenience of the garment district, we do get our fabric for free, but without much say in what we want. And you might not be a fan of the fabric or the color or etc., but you can’t always get what you want,  but it does save you money! (I definitely spent a lot of money previously on fabric every semester just for my final garments.)

In one of my previous posts, I had a few photos of some classmates working on their final garments, and now here are the final products :)
{IFD2 – Anne Wagnor}
{IFD2- Gaysha Ruiz}
{IFD2- Honey Brahman}
{IFD2- Maggie Clappis}
{IFD2- Brittany Keener}
{IFD2- Katelyn Odom}
{some close ups}
{IFD2- 3rd Semester Final Garments}

We’ve got our most (what I think) stressful final out of the way, but now off to work on our fashion illustration final project due Monday along with our Fashion Past & Present final exam..!!

p.s- Super excited for our FITSA Holiday Party tomorrow @ Hard Rock Cafe :) Photos to come~