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Made In Italy - Better, Worse or Equal?

I have been hunting around buying some new clothes & shoes this year and no matter what shop I am in I always see a "Made in Italy" label/tag on some of the usually slightly higher priced items. Today I was in Next (UK clothes store chain http://www.next.co.uk/shopping/men#LID=01_02_02 ) turned over a pair of shoes and there it was again branded on the sole.

So it got me thinking is a "Made in Italy" product superior to similar items made in other countries?

Also, am I correct in saying (In the example of making a shoe) that an Italian company could buy the raw materials in China, have them cut to size & made there, then send them back to Italy where they do the finial touches i.e. polish them & put the laces in, then stamp "Made in Italy on the soles?"
 

Doc4

I'm calling the U.N.
Moderator Emeritus
You will not find better shoes than the ones made by the best makers in Northampton, UK. The best Italian shoes are great, too, but 'different'.

Some of the best clothing in the world comes from Italy ... but a lot of mediocre stuff too. (Just like there are some pretty mediocre English shoemakers.)

Don't focus on the country of origin ... focus on the actual manufacturer. Were I buying shoes, I'd look for "Crockett & Jones" or "Alfred Sargent", not just "Made in England" ... I'd look for a few other names, too, but can't afford them.

I suspect you are correct about the tricks around getting the "Made in Desirablecoutry" tags ... Swiss watchmakers are notorious for that, for example ... so that's one more reason you need to find out which manufacturer you want to buy from (and in some cases, which of their lines is worth buying: their best may be great, and their second label mere imported crap.)
 

franz

Moderator Emeritus
There is a lot of variation on what is permissible under the "Made in Italy" label (assuming none of these labels are illicitly added). I'm sure there are several members who are knowledgable about this, but I can only say that I am aware of Italian clothing houses who do farm out work overseas to save costs, then slap on a "Made in Italy" at the end. IIRC, it is a controversial practice in Italy. High-end Italian clothing makers, shoe makers, etc. rely on the esteemed reputation of Italian-made goods abroad and understandably don't want that to suffer because of the shortcuts taken by others.

Basically, it is impossible to judge the quality or provenance of an item based solely on the presence of this label. Perhaps other people have different ideas.
 
It's a rather complicated question...

The simple answer and one you would hear from an Italian would be...

"dipende!"

or translated... "It depends"

What shoes are we talking about?

Is a pair of Italian made Ferragamo's very high quality... definitely.

You can basically get an idea of quality once you touch them and put them on your feet.

If the shoes are priced at 70 or 80 pounds, I'm pretty certain they aren't made with top-quality materials by an experienced artisan, whether they are made in Italy or not.
 

mark the shoeshine boy

Moderator Emeritus
the rider boot company (a us company)has thier line of boots and shoes made in a small factory in italy...suppose to be pretty high quality stuff....they look great on the website...so like anything else, it depends what the quality control is.
 

Austin

Moderator Emeritus
Throughout the 90's I purchased European suits. I liked the silhouette and cut of these suits. I bought Armani, Zegna, Lanvin (French), etc. I gained weight and these slim cut suits looked out of proportion on me. I migrated to traditional suit makers such as Brooks Brothers, Hart Schaffner Marx, etc. They work better for gents who need fuller cuts.

Here are pair of Salvatore Ferragamos that I purchased in 1991. They have held up well considering their age. Excuse the athletic socks. I wore cowboy boots today.



 
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In eyeglass frames it is definitely not the case. All your "designer Italian-made" frames from Ralph Lauren to Oliver Peoples are made at the same Luxottica factory as the "buy one get one free" cheapies at Lens Crafters. Best frames are made in Japan, Germany, France or the United States.

I think for suits it can be a toss up, I have Armani Black Label, but I don't know how much better the fabric really is than the more expensive English fabrics on some higher end Brooks stuff. And I for one like Brooks tailoring better--I wear the traditional fit shirts though I don't need to. That sloppy, sack suit is an American original my friends. To be treasured the way we treasure our 2 last remaining domestic shoe makers. :thumbup1:

I will say that the one pair of expensive Italian shoes I've owned (Armani balmoral cap-toes) were hands down better than anything from Allen Edmunds or Alden. But at the price point they should be!

I think "made in Italy" has some misguided cachet for the bourgeois, just as "made in England" has for *cough* many of us B&B'ers who think we know a thing or two. Anything made in Europe (by white people) must be better than things made in Asia (HK being perhaps the exception), India, or Latin America by strange brown people. There is some racism inherent in this hierarchy.
 
I think "made in Italy" has some misguided cachet for the bourgeois, just as "made in England" has for *cough* many of us B&B'ers who think we know a thing or two. Anything made in Europe (by white people) must be better than things made in Asia (HK being perhaps the exception), India, or Latin America by strange brown people. There is some racism inherent in this hierarchy.
I've seen some fine craftsmanship in Latin America, India and Asia. I'm not so sure it's racism as much as pure economics. Manufacturers aiming at the mass market tend to use lower paid workers from these areas, but they also use lower quality materials to drop the price even further. The finest craftsman in the world's work wouldn't be appreciated as much if he used inferior materials, and I think that's more the case here.
 
Some middle-road shoe manufacturers like Johnston & Murphy use their Made in Italy products to differentiate from their lower-end Made in China/Brazil/Wherever items. That said, I have both and can't see much of any difference in initial quality of materials or workmanship on similar designs.
 
Made in "Anywhere" is subjective. Made in USA can mean good or bad, same with Germany, england, etc. Everyone has their good & bad items and some live solely on the export name of their famed region.
 

Doc4

I'm calling the U.N.
Moderator Emeritus
I think "made in Italy" has some misguided cachet for the bourgeois, just as "made in England" has for *cough* many of us B&B'ers who think we know a thing or two. Anything made in Europe (by white people) must be better than things made in Asia (HK being perhaps the exception), India, or Latin America by strange brown people. There is some racism inherent in this hierarchy.
I don't think it's really racism. If that were the case, we'd have done a group buy for those fantastic German kitchen knives rather than funny Japanese ones ... :001_rolle

Really, it boils down to a specific country or area that gets the "nod" as having the quality ... the people in Sweden are just as 'white' (probably a few shades whiter, actually) than the Italians, but it's the Italians who get the cachet for suitmaking. "Irish Linen" has the fame, even though the Scots are just as "non-ethnic"; goes the other way for whisky, of course. And we all know that champagne that isn't from Champagne isn't really champagne ... even if it's still from France.

And let's face it, "Made In Japan" is about as good as it gets for a lot of products. Even today, I'd gladly buy a Toyota over any American brand (I'm lookin' at you, Dodge.)
 

franz

Moderator Emeritus
Yeah, it's really just branding IMO. Italian tailoring has a certain cachet. Japanese (or German) knifemaking, same thing. Swedish disposable furniture that can't be assembled, ditto. :lol:
 
usually products, that are made in japan and italy are of high quality, but it is the italians that have the best taste in everything possible, no other race in the world has that [good taste] that of the italians.. in everything possible.
 
Many people when think to Made in Italy, think only what they see on the covers of fashion or trendy magazine.

True Made in Italy "is something different" , is a way of life.

Many Italians have the innate sense of style while not wearing garments from thousands of euro.
It can be elegant even with a freshly ironed white shirt that smells fresh. Personally, if I think to the real Made in Italy think to Zegna, Brioni, Caraceni, shirt from Barba (Naples).

This is really the Made In Italy.


http://www.thelondonlounge.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=7762
 
Made in Italy usually is better, but dont just look at the lable. Workmanship on the product is the most important thing to look for first and then the label....
 
Lived there 3 years. What others have said. The brand, the item, and the price all matter.

I've seen some of the most stylish fashions in the world in Italy being worn to go grocery shopping. I've also seen some of the worst (one standing out in my mind being "old man fashion" of bright yellow short, pink polo shirt, knee length white socks and black dress shoes in a furniture store....).


When you can visit the shop and get things handmade, you're getting what you pay for. I had a variety of places like that scattered across Italy where i knew i was getting what I paid for. But many things over there are just as common as 'over here' and when exported they slap on a higher charge.
 
Anything made in Europe (by white people) must be better than things made in Asia (HK being perhaps the exception), India, or Latin America by strange brown people. There is some racism inherent in this hierarchy.
You're kidding, right?

So the fact that many "luxury", respected brands are Italian, French and otherwise European must mean that the marketing and consumer group must be racist, correct? How about that they've been known for their quality for decades, if not hundreds of years?

What about the fact that I buy most of my coffee that probably originated in Ethiopia or Latin America? Surely, I must hate "strange brown people" for the simple fact that they have a darker skin color than myself.

As for vehicles, I actually prefer Japanese. Damn those forward-thinking and progressive foreigners that propose quality at a competitive price!

Once upon a time in history (you may wish you look up that term), it was well-known that Germans and German engineers in particular were especially competent in ship-building compared to other ethnicities. If I lived in that time and preferred German engineering, I'd be some closed-minded Nazi for sure, atleast considering our "everyone is equal" standard we hear today!

I could go on for pages, but please, think for a second of how foolish you sound.

As an American, purported by some to be some to be the most closed-minded and ill-receiving of them all, I can appreciate engineering and standards from all walks of life.

Please take your pitiful, irrelevant, condescending opinions elsewhere.
 
Also, am I correct in saying (In the example of making a shoe) that an Italian company could buy the raw materials in China, have them cut to size & made there, then send them back to Italy where they do the finial touches i.e. polish them & put the laces in, then stamp "Made in Italy on the soles?"
Italy has just changed the laws about which products can qualify for the "Made in Italy" label. Until recently, it was indeed possible for a product to be almost entirely assembled in another country, have the finishing touches added in Italy, and be considered made in Italy. Now the rules are much stricter.

In France they calculate the percentage of the cost of a product that goes to factories in France. I think 60% of the cost of a product has to come from France. Except if you pay a Chinese worker 50 cents per hour to make a suit, and it takes him ten hours, and then you send the suit to France and have the buttons sewn on by a French worker paid 20 euros per hour, and it takes him one hour, the French guy cost you more but he's not the one who actually made the suit. It's still considered Made in France though.
 
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