Artisan, Limited Edition Knitwear: Interview with Piero Cividini of CIVIDINI

Interview with CIVIDINI

CIVIDINI’s story began at the end of the 1980s through a resurgence of authentic craftsmanship traditions that marked the manufacture of quality Italian knitwear since the end of the first world war.

Ignoring all of the technology that was invested on the products of the ’80s, CIVIDINI started offering cashmere knitwear and other precious weaves manufactured on hand-operated knitwear machines, completely overturning the appearance of the product and setting a milestone in the evolution of knitwear. Everyone caught on and followed the trend, and in the subsequent years this became the “new” way to manufacture knitwear also at an industrial level.

Today, CIVIDINI has returned to its roots, developing a collection of a small range of tops crafted on hand looms, the top-of-the-line for cashmere knitwear.

CIVIDINI is developing a cashmere collection crafted on hand looms

The new handmade knitwear collection (“FATTE A MANO”) will be manufactured in small numbers by expert knitters, numbered and delivered with special packaging.

Made by Hand: Cividini

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Q:How did you get involved in fashion in general, and knitwear specifically? What was the genesis of your love of fashion, and the company in particular?

I approached the fashion industry very early, still when I was at university. I took a summer job in a knitwear factory in Bergamo and that’s how I got into the world of fashion and knitwear. This is how I had the opportunity to discover how attractive this world is from a creative point of view, discovering how to give a perspective to my previous artistic studies.

Later, along with Miriam, my partner in work and life, we created Studio Cividini and for years we worked as consultants for Italian and international Companies until 1988, when we created and launched the cashmere line with fine yarns under the CIVIDINI name, thus laying the basis for the establishment of our company.

In 1988 we created and launched the cashmere line

Q:At the beginning, what set CIVIDINI apart? What methods that were experimental at the time are now commonplace? How did CIVIDINI pioneer the industry?

After having gathered enough experience in various sectors of the fashion industry, we had the right intuition that CIVIDINI a success: to make cashmere knitwear with a contemporary design, remaining faithful to Italian craftsmanship that we discovered and learned to love and appreciate. We then created a small collection of cashmere knits woven on antique hand looms laying the foundations for the evolution, and I would say, the revolution that CIVIDINI brought to the world of knitwear.

We created a small collection woven on antique hand looms

We changed the perception of what was a traditional product then, and so we took the ribbed edges off, and immediately the sweaters took on a simpler appearance, almost rejecting the technology that characterized the ’80s; no more technological jacquards but only pure design, precious materials, finding new proportions, volumes, and colors, giving life to seamless knitwear.

We changed the perception of what was a traditional product then

Today machines produce seamless sweaters in an industrial way; but at that time, this particular product, besides looking modern and minimal, made the difference, making CIVIDINI the leading brand, and making it world famous and influencing the technological evolution of industrial knitting machines.

Q:Tell us about the “FATTO A MANO” project. How do they differ from the rest of CIVIDINI’s line? Where will they be sold, and what makes them special?

The “Fatto a Mano” project is a return to the origins of CIVIDINI; now that technology is available to everyone, CIVIDINI has decided to recover old looms, revaluating the role of master knit-makers with rare skillful touch that transform the fine yarn at “slow” rhythm into high qualitative content products. We create products born from the highest level of craftsmanship, and respecting the characteristics of CIVIDINI design, while going in complete contrast to the making of industrial knitwear.

This anachronistic project of making limited-edition sweaters — which are numbered and signed by the master artisan — addressed to a more demanding customer who seeks excellence and uniqueness, has met with the appreciation of an international niche clientele.

the limited-edition sweaters are numbered and signed by the master artisan

Q:Why is “slow fashion” or handmade clothing special?

“Slow fashion” and “hand-made clothing” are not “empty words” but, represent a true and real approach to the realization of products. Culture and know-how are the inevitable reaction of intellectual avant-garde to fast production, marketing and continuous supply of products that are overwhelming the market.

Culture is the inevitable reaction to fast production

It is the reaction, through the revaluation of the Detail against the Common, the Local versus the Global, that rediscovers the peculiarities of traditional products and, through modern design and selective communication reaches the niche consumer who is sensitive to the intrinsic qualitative content of the products he decides to purchase.

Q:Where do you see the future of CIVIDINI? What would you like to do next?

The future of Cividini is the natural development of the concepts and principles that have guided us up to now, naturally with the necessary revisions and adjustments needed to remain contemporary, taking strongly into consideration the important transformations that our industry is undergoing.

Q:What would you like to never change?

What we will not change, but we will intensify more, is the attention to quality, selection of raw materials, and craftsmanship. Every other aspect can be modified according to the evolution of global markets and consumer requirements.

Q:Tell us about your upcoming show and collection! What is the theme? How do you prepare for the show?

We are not ready to discuss the runway show yet, as it’s a work in progress and we do not wish to give incomplete information about it.


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