NAPLES, Italy — “Welcome residence,” Alberto Squillace stated as he opened the door to the Omega glove manufacturing unit.
“The manufacturing unit is my residence and the artisans that work for Omega are like brothers and sisters to me,” added Mr. Squillace, the chief government 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 occasions.
(Mr. Squillace commonly tells guests, with satisfaction, that Philip Roth’s e book “American Pastoral” stated nobody is ready to make gloves in addition to “some small manufacturing unit in Rione Sanità in Naples.”)
Naples was thought of a capital of vogue and magnificence in the course of the nineteenth century reign of Ferdinand II of Bourbon. On the time, Mr. Squillace stated, there have been 41 glove factories within the metropolis, using 6,800 folks — and the standard of their merchandise introduced acclaim within the luxurious world, a undeniable fact that few trendy Neapolitans know. However then, Mr. Squillace stated, 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 12 months. “The one factor that unites us with an industrial glove are the 5 fingers,” Mr. Squillace stated.
Right this moment, Omega produces 30,000 pairs of gloves a 12 months for women and men, manufactured from lambskin, deer, reindeer and peccary leather-based, obtainable in a variety of colours and with totally 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 town. The leather-based is at all times inspected in pure gentle earlier than it’s lower, so the very best elements are recognized. “In an effort to be a glove maker, it’s a must to know the leather-based, perceive it,” Mr. Squillace stated whereas chopping a bit of pink leather-based in entrance of a window.
“We nonetheless work with the unit of measurement often known as the French inch, a numerical worth that now not exists since 1700,” Mr. Squillace stated. “The French inch, equal to 2.7 centimeters, (barely greater than an inch) can be equal to one-twelfth of Charlemagne’s foot.
“Only a few folks know this,” he continued, “however the good glove dimension 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 stated. 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 staff 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 occasions the bed room of her house in Capodimonte district of town.
Whereas many individuals consider gloves as simply one thing to heat your arms throughout chilly winter days, Mr. Squillace stated, “Right here at Omega, we take into account gloves additionally a vogue accent wearable throughout each season, and I’m very comfortable that even world of vogue 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 objective? “To protect this custom and type of artwork.”