History


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1889

Modesto Bertotto’s mill was established at Veglio Mosso (BI) in an area known as Romanina. It handled the entire production process: purchase of the wool, washing, combing and spinning. Performing also such operations as finishing and dyeing, the mill was the first in the Biella area to implement an integrated process. Already in the early 1900s the company was verticalised, starting from the wool production up to the weaving of the fabric. In those days, a social and cultural change took place: thanks increases in employment and wages, general living conditions improved and the concept of free time was introduced. People discovered how to taking care of their own image. The founder of the Bertotto brand had a brilliant idea: fabrics should no longer be merely functional but also have a pleasant feel and look. This means they have to connect with style.

The twenties

While many wool mills used old hand looms, Bertotto developed an obsessive care for technological aspects. This is why he travelled to Britain to buy production machinery. During World War I the company worked for the army: 70% of Italian military uniforms were produced in the Biella area. And Biella’s biggest mill shifted into high gear to promote the need for innovation. The facts prove they were right: despite the limitations of those days (no fax machines nor other practical communication and transport means are yet available), in the Twenties Bertotto marketed his fabrics in France and England. Not even the crisis in ’29 damaged his business. On the contrary, he travelled south to buy a sort of power plant. He carried it up north piece by piece in order to equip his factory with generators able to ensure energy on a self-sufficient basis.

1952

Spinning operations were moved to Gattinara (VC) , where a sizeable production facility was built for this very purpose. During the Fifties , employees considered it an honour to be invited to the factory on Sundays. They went to the tower building to preview the new finished collections, and appreciate their colours in broad daylight and also the most original weaves. The Sixties mark the boom of fabrics. The company stands out for its extremely fine fabrics whose collections are proposed to the best Italian and British tailors, attesting to its skills in the export trade already in those days. Here, precious mohair was spun, and chosen in the 70s by famous tailors and designers like Armani as the basic yarn for dinner jackets and evening dresses. Also wool blends with silk or linen were spun almost secretly, because these special components add a peculiar note to fabrics and the mill tried to protect the patent from competitors. The concept was to introduce the market to stylish fabrics that that create style on those who wear them, and that go beyond the concept of usefulness. Their past investments in innovative spinning processes produced a great competitive advantage and helped the mill become extremely modern. Not for nothing the fabric designers and product managers – who worked with the company from the 50s to the 80s – have set up their own companies in the course of time, thanks to the know-how gained.

1977

Innovation is an intrinsic feature. The manufacturing company Bertomodes was founded, and soon become a leader in the production of men’s and women’s outerwear. Their goal was to become a fashion house. In 1977, a large production facility was built at Sandigliano (BI). The entire manufacturing sector was moved to this location, no longer in the valley but closer to transportation routes, further proof of the company’s far-sighted and modern approach. All production phases took place in this facility, from the spinning to the finished fabric. In 1979 it also became the location of the first sales outlet of the Modesto Bertotto brand. It was the first mill to venture beyond the usual range of business activity, proposing finished garments and selling directly to customers, with specialised staff with experience in tailoring and garment making. It was Biella’s most important company until the 1980s, also thanks to its significant role as a supplier to fashion houses and designers.

1998

In 1996, the fourth generation of the Bertotto family working in the company entered into an industrial partnership with the Enoch family. The new ownership believed in the potential of developing the retail business. The year 1998 marked the grand opening of a special 1,000 m² showroom in Biella. The venue was designed not only as the proper setting to present the Modesto Bertotto collections, it was also a tribute to the company’s history: on display with garments were warpers, looms and, for the first time available to the public, the archives dating from 1889. The place was used as a large showroom for fashion designers and firms, who can browse through the historical collections and draw inspiration from them. In the following years at the beginning of the new century - the company’s third – outlet stores were opened in Mendrisio (Switzerland), Milan, Rome and Turin.

2011

In orde to keep up with the step of global economic integration and Chinese market development, the stragegy of cooperation is focused on opening flagship stores in China – for the purpose of experting Modesto Bertotto’s made-in-Italy collections to the luxury bracket of the world’s largest market.