This is a follow-up to my popular post on English mills and cloth merchants: how to tell them apart, how they are related and how to select between them (basically, don’t; there is little difference).
Italian mills are a lot simpler, as there is less overlap and fewer brands. But they are also different in some substantial ways to English mills. The major differences are:

– A lot of Italian mills make ‘Italian-style’ ranges for English merchants and non-English merchants such as Scabal and Dormeuil. These are not always labelled as such in the cloth books. Far fewer English mills supply cloth to the Italian mills, though there are some in Ariston and Caccioppoli bunches.

– More Italians mills are vertically integrated, doing their own finishing for example. And the big mills such as Zegna do everything from owning sheep to dying, spinning, weaving and finishing. English mills usually just weave. 

– Italian mills rarely use lots of different brands and old names, unlike England where mills have merged over the years, leading to a lot of historic names.

The following is a list of the Italian mills, merchants and mill-merchants that supply cloth to bespoke tailors. Putting it together has involved input from four different Italian mills, though it is likely still not comprehensive. If anyone knows any I have missed, let me know and I will include it once verified.

Mill and merchant:

Ermenegildo Zegna: Vertically integrated, from sheep to suit. One of the biggest producers and sellers of cloth to tailors. Buys cloth from other mills for its branded tailoring, but otherwise only sells its own cloth (other than cottons).  

Loro Piana: Vertically integrated, from sheep to suit. Again one of the biggest producers; only sells its own cloth. Particularly specialises in raw materials.
Vitale Barberis Canonico: Vertically integrated, from sheep to bunch. Sells around 50% under its own name and 50% under others’, including many English and Italian merchants.
Cerruti: Mill, with a separate fashion line. Weaves for many merchants, but also sells small some under its own name, such as co-branded bunches with Dugdale’s.
Drago: Mill, selling a little under its own name but mostly under others’.

Carlo Barbera: Mill owned by Kiton, selling small volume to tailors

Ormezzano: Mill, only sells under its own name to ready-to-wear. Unlike most Italian mills, doesn’t do its own finishing.
Colombo, which also has its own clothing line



Botto Fila

Piacenza 1773


Caccioppoli: Neapolitan. Collects together ranges from lots of mills and sells a more southern-Italian look. Most Italian mills offer the more sober end of their range in England, which is what sets Caccioppoli apart.
Drapers: Partially owned by Barberis. Sells around 50% Barberis cloth and 50% from others.
Ariston: Owned by Imparato, near Naples. Sells largely exclusive cloth, sourced only in Italy (except Irish linen). Changes entire collection (around 550 shades) every season. 



Bonino Angelo Tessuti