cna toscana

Behind prominent fashion brands, there are companies working out of the spotlight, that play a pivotal role in the production and, often, in the design of high-end garments and accessories. Bruno Tommasini – activist, entrepreneur, fashion stylist, president of CNA Federmonda Toscana, that is, the trade association that represents and promotes SMEs operating in the regional fashion system – explained his perspective on the need, for Italian manufacturing, to look ahead, heading down the chosen path.

Bruno Tommassini, presidente di CNA Federmoda Toscana

Bruno Tommasini, President of CNA Federmoda Toscana. Bottega Veneta’s designer is also one of the founders of the Arcigay association and a co-owner of the Prodigio winery.

Bruno Tommasini, is there a common thread shared by the several roles and responsibilities taken on in the execution of your multiple duties?
The leitmotif is freedom. Freedom of expression, freedom to create, freedom to love, freedom to be yourself, to be different and alike at the same time. What is craftsmanship after all? It’s the ability to give life to something unique that becomes part of the collective heritage as well, something exclusive and highly recognizable.
While coordinating the activities of a strategic sector for the economy on a regional and national level such as the apparel and fashion accessories one, what is your personal duty towards the future?
It may seem trivial, but to believe in the future is the only way to not be buried by the past. A past of which we are truly proud, that has laid the foundations in order to guarantee to Tuscany and Italy their prominent role in the world, and yet that alone is not enough. If style had reasoned like many do today (“It was better when it was worse”), we wouldn’t have been able to come up with the things that have turned “made in Italy” into a unique label worldwide. The nostalgia for the past will never result in the creativity of the future.
As far as luxury fashion and leatherware are concerned, are the Italian manufacturing districts still a valuable resource? Is there really a power and a value related to “made in Italy”?
Of course, but only if they manage to evolve just like the best products they have designed and manufactured. Those who enjoy envisioning the future on a daily basis, foster a dynamic attitude. Districts and clusters are a strategic part of our heritage and, for this reason, they should not be kept under a bell jar: they are not mere objects to be admired, but they should point out which course to take. The path is clear, but there is still work to do in order to find the right gateway to the future.
Fashion is a reflection of society. What kind of values do accessories have to convey in order to keep up with the times?
Originality, distinctiveness, non-conformism. It should not comply with rules. On the contrary, the accessory must be bold enough to gain a foothold in the mass culture of taste and of fashion houses. It should speak an entirely different language, be a step ahead of times. Not at par. Rather than its reflection, I would say that fashion is the gauge of society’s attitude, static or dynamic, highlighting if it focuses too much on the past or if it embraces the future.
What is the role played by the human capital when it comes to the corporate competitive success?
Pivotal, it actively contributes to its success or failure. Human capital means intelligence, creativity, uniqueness, diversity. However, in order to increase business and make quality articles, there should be someone able to combine tradition and innovation. Not only in terms of end product, but also when it comes to corporate strategies – in Italy, this leads to the streaming challenge on the global market, keeping up the pace with prominent competitors as well as ensuring first-rate quality standards and exclusivity. In my opinion, if we win, and this will definitely happen, we can even call it a superhuman capital! Made in Italy: in that case, it will really mean evolving in perfect style.
A growing number of Italian apparel and accessories firms that had relocated to countries with lower labour costs, are now bringing the entire production back to the domestic market. In your opinion, what are the reasons and the competitive dynamics at the core of this back-reshoring trend?
Two factors: on the one hand, the gold rush supported by those who thought that the local scope was outdone by the Internet and other technologies, in a fast-paced world where everybody is convinced to know everything. On the other, an Italian contradiction that is also a strength, that is, the idea that the history of our glorious Nation could be considered a nuisance and not the reason behind our uniqueness and success, despite all difficulties and controversies.
What are the industrial policies that might favour the reshoring to Italy of more production and organization assets?
Tax exemption for companies producing innovative articles for new markets. Not resources for the unemployed, but rather concrete support to those who would like to provide job opportunities, but are too scared by decision-making instability, by the financial burden and by the red tape.
Industry 4.0 and its digital technologies have markedly reduced the competitive gap between western countries and low-cost foreign manpower, while improving the efficiency of the production processes. Why is the majority of the trade enterprises still unprepared for the digitalization challenge? What are the difficulties met when it comes to the implementation of innovative solutions in highly traditional sectors such as the leatherware and fashion ones?
Those who have the means don’t have the know-how and vice versa. It is deemed imperative to reduce distances, thus allowing to reach even Space and any potential customer out there: however, if you do not provide suitable tools to land safely, even the most experienced pilots will end up crashing. A Ferrari is useless when there are no roads.