Introducing: Elegant Italian Knitwear from Gran Sasso
Named after the highest peak in Italy, Gran Sasso is a label at the zenith of knitwear.
With over 60 years of experience under their belt, few brands make knitwear as well as Gran Sasso. What started in 1952 as a small family business focused on making the best in Italian knitwear, is now three generations working toward that same goal.
It’s decades of hard work that have made the label renown across Italy and internationally for its passion for knitwear and detailed craftsmanship. Today, Harry Rosen looks to Gran Sasso as a brand that embraces tradition but doesn’t rest on its laurels—with an eye always on the innovation. Enter the Milan label’s spectacular manufacturing facility in the heart of Southern Italy’s Abruzzo region (the brand’s name comes from the Gran Sasso d’Italia mountain, the highest peak in the Apennines). Green and sustainable, the cutting-edge facility brings modern tech together with manual skill to create an exceptional product.
The result is the Milan label’s timeless sweaters and knitwear that promise to become indispensable wardrobe essentials.
Carlo Di Stefano reviewing the label’s many colours (left), a three-generation family business (right)
Today, a third generation of the family has taken the reigns. We were fortunate enough to have a chat with Carlo Di Stefano—the founder’s grandson—about Gran Sasso’s history, production and mission.
Your grandfather was one of the founders of Gran Sasso. When did you get involved?
I feel so lucky. When I was a child, I used to visit the company, walk among the walls and I feel fascinated by everything around me. I can’t say that I've always been at Gran Sasso but, from the institutional point of view, I've been working here since 2012 as an export specialist.
Can you tell us a little more about how Gran Sasso’s fine knitwear is produced?
For a basic pullover sweater—for example—the front, back, sleeves and collar are constructed with what we can Shima Seiki machines, which are some of the most efficient and innovative on the market.
From here it moves to what we call the “rimaglio” process—the most difficult step in production (but also the most elegant way to link parts of a sweater). It takes time because the operator has to link two parts of the sweater by hand, needle by needle. The finer the gauge of the sweater, the more difficult the process. The result is a sweater of very high quality, so we think the time it takes is worth it.
Finally, each Gran Sasso sweater is checked five times: during knitting, after knitting, after ironing, during packaging, and something we call mirroring. This is where each sweater is checked on an illuminated table and checked for holes or defects with a very large lens. If a mistake is found, it is sent back to be repaired, or the entire part is reproduced.
Gran Sasso’s handmade production methods, including the final step in quality control (left) where each sweater is checked on an illuminated table.
The Gran Sasso factory in Italy is really magnificent and has even won some awards. What makes it special?
Work began on the factory in 2002, and it consists of more than 36,000 square meters with the purpose of bringing the business together across production, storage, administration, showroom and dining area.
With a clear focus on the usage of space—and with the quality of the working environment and well-being at its forefront—the building was designed to accommodate more than 400 employees as well as state-of-the-art machinery from Germany and Japan.
We have joined the “good life” concept, and it’s clear in everything we do. Our factory is the result of the relation among work, human needs and green value. The complex is characterized by a rational and minimal design concept of the architect Guido Canali, master in shaping construction types already tested, turning them into elements of a coherent language of great civil dignity that fully reflects his customers' spirit. He was awarded an honorable mention at the 2009 Milan Triennal Prize "Medaglia d'Oro all'Architettura" (Golden Medal for Architecture).
Gran Sasso’s state-of-the-art production facility.
You also have a special dyeing plant. What can you tell us about that?
Gran Sasso decided that it could be a good idea having a company for implementing and developing dyeing techniques for its garments. So, in 1980, Gran Sasso founded Texcolor, today one of the most cutting-edge companies to develop innovative dyeing techniques, such as the vintage and cloud effects. Texcolor has gained such considerable importance that works for Gran Sasso and other well-known fashion brands, too.
Thank you for your time, Carlo!