NAPLES, Italy — “Welcome dwelling,” Alberto Squillace mentioned as he opened the door to the Omega glove manufacturing facility.
“The manufacturing facility is my dwelling and the artisans that work for Omega are like brothers and sisters to me,” added Mr. Squillace, the chief govt of Omega, and the fifth era to work within the household enterprise. The corporate was based in 1923 by Gennaro Squillace, within the Rione Sanità district, an space with roots stretching again to Greek and Roman instances.
(Mr. Squillace usually tells guests, with delight, that Philip Roth’s guide “American Pastoral” mentioned nobody is ready to make gloves in addition to “some small manufacturing facility in Rione Sanità in Naples.”)
Naples was thought of a capital of trend and class throughout the nineteenth century reign of Ferdinand II of Bourbon. On the time, Mr. Squillace mentioned, there have been 41 glove factories within the metropolis, using 6,800 individuals — and the standard of their merchandise introduced acclaim within the luxurious world, a undeniable fact that few fashionable Neapolitans know. However then, Mr. Squillace mentioned, there are solely about 5 – 6 glove producers left within the metropolis at present.
Within the twentieth century, the manufacturing of gloves turned automated and moved, largely, to China and Southeast Asia. However at Omega, each pair continued to be made by seamstresses utilizing stitching machines — even within the mid-1900s, when the corporate was making 100,000 pairs of gloves a yr. “The one factor that unites us with an industrial glove are the 5 fingers,” Mr. Squillace mentioned.
Immediately, Omega produces 30,000 pairs of gloves a yr for women and men, manufactured from lambskin, deer, reindeer and peccary leather-based, obtainable in a variety of colours and with completely different sorts of linings. There are also some designs with crocheted backs, and even fingerless types. Costs vary from 60 to 220 euros ($59 to $217), and the gloves are offered on the Omega web site, in addition to in shops in cities like New York, Paris and Seoul.
The corporate additionally takes what the style trade calls white label orders, producing gloves that then are offered with one other model’s labeling and packaging.
Omega obtains its hides from two tanneries, one in Naples and the opposite in Solofra, about 75 kilometers (about 46 miles) east of the town. The leather-based is at all times inspected in pure mild earlier than it’s reduce, so one of the best elements are recognized. “So as to be a glove maker, you must know the leather-based, perceive it,” Mr. Squillace mentioned whereas reducing a bit of crimson leather-based in entrance of a window.
“We nonetheless work with the unit of measurement referred to as the French inch, a numerical worth that now not exists since 1700,” Mr. Squillace mentioned. “The French inch, equal to 2.7 centimeters, (barely greater than an inch) could be equal to one-twelfth of Charlemagne’s foot.
“Only a few individuals know this,” he continued, “however the good glove measurement is obtained by measuring the circumference of the palm and dividing this by the French inch.”
Gloves have at all times been made utilizing the identical 25 steps, he mentioned. And, the important rule in glove making is that the glove should stretch in width, however by no means in size.
Omega has seven full-time workers and a big community of native seamstresses like Elena Petrone, 80, who has been stitching gloves since she was 15. Her workstation is typically the kitchen and different instances the bed room of her condo in Capodimonte district of the town.
Whereas many individuals consider gloves as simply one thing to heat your fingers throughout chilly winter days, Mr. Squillace mentioned, “Right here at Omega, we contemplate gloves additionally a trend accent wearable throughout each season, and I’m very blissful that even world of trend and high fashion is rediscovering gloves.” He’s now working along with his sister, Martina, 33, who designs Omega’s couture assortment, additionally handmade in Naples.
And his private aim? “To protect this custom and type of artwork.”