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Vigevano district, luxury contractors grow with technology and know-how

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Vigevano district, luxury contractors grow with technology and know-how

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Someone took advantage of a moment of crisis to change course, expand their business, and in peak moments they managed to produce (even) 12 thousand pairs of soles for sneakers from a well-known luxury brand every day. Someone else took over a historic company that ended up in the orbit of one of the great collapses of Italian fashion, corrected the direction of production by becoming a subcontractor, and thanks to a growing business, began to acquire small nearby shoe factories in severe crisis.

The footwear district of Vigevano and Lomellina, although over the years it has suffered from the competitiveness of other Italian luxury footwear hubs, continues to represent a center of excellence which generates 7.3% of the added value of the total Pavia industry: « A district, made up of footwear and Meccano footwear together, which is an evolving ecosystem capable of activating more than one billion euros in annual turnover, with an increase of 28.5% from 2019 to 2022 – explained Alessandro Spada, president of Assolombarda -. Important numbers that could be further increased thanks to teamwork and investment in innovation.” Spada, together with Maria Vittoria Brustia, president of Assomac, and Andrea Ceffa, mayor of Vigevano, yesterday visited two companies in the district, Fae Project and Mosaicon Shoes.

The Fae Project parable from the sole molds to the product

Companies that have experienced years of growth, in stark contrast to Moreschi, the symbolic company of Vigevano footwear, which closed its local factory in March after a decade of crisis. Fae Project (Gravellona Lomellina), which produces moulds, soles and finished products (sneakers in plastic materials, with strong research into bio or recyclable ones) had a very different trajectory: «In 2009 we only had a small workshop and we lost the our main customer, but that was the turning point – says Renzo Bettin, sole director -. We invested in machinery and approached the big luxury brands to produce the soles first: they accepted.” Fae Project, which continues to be a family-run company, today collaborates with many high-end brands, from design to ready-to-ship footwear: «The turnover is divided equally between soles and the finished product. Now with the slowdown in luxury, production is slowing down a bit, but there is always a desire for research on the part of the brands. And they appreciate that we do everything in-house.”

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The Mosaicon Shoes case: relaunching relationships with brands

Mosaicon Shoes (Vigevano) makes a different and artisanal product – sandals, shoes, ankle boots, in leather and fabric – but with Fae Project it shares the relationship with high-end brands: «I took over the company in 2013 – explains Massimiliano Sandri, sole director with a background in private equity – and I immediately closed the own brand to produce for big brands. We went from 1 million to 26 million in revenues, we acquired two small shoe factories and between June and September we will acquire two more. We will reach 200 employees and open a new headquarters.”

Both entrepreneurs underlined the difficulty of finding local workers, especially young people: “Training is fundamental – concluded Spada – and collaboration between companies for the creation of an Academy in the area would be desirable”.

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