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Musings from Milan

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to travel to Milan to visit one of our key supply partners, a fabric mill based just outside the city centre. A visit to Milan is always special not least because it’s considered one of the fashion capitals of the world along with London, Paris and New York.

Visiting Italy is not unusual for us particularly given so much of our production comes from Italy but we are accustomed to visiting Prato, the textile centre of the country, this time I wanted to learn more about the wonderful fabric used to make up Hope’s Foundation collection and that is based in Milan. The mill is what’s known as a "vertical operation", which means every single stage in its production process is done at the mill, which makes it 100% traceable.

This is just one of the many positive attributes of the fabric, which is why I was determined to learn more and understand how we could do a better job of communicating the benefits of wearing Foundation pieces to our customers. In addition, there was an opportunity to visit the Prada Foundation, look at the shops and hopefully consume some delicious food whilst there.

The day started bright and early at the mill and the first thing they shared with us is the fact that the fabric is patented and has 8 key performance factors, namely:

To date we have included some of these on our website but not as effectively as we could, e.g. they do a brilliant of job of explaining how the ‘body moisture system’ actually works and what the benefits are for the wearer. We have much to learn!

The big news for me was learning the fabric has a sun block which offers a higher level of protection against the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays, fascinating stuff and one we should certainly be talking to our customer about so watch this space!

What was most interesting about the mill was their relentless approach to sustainability, namely; energy efficiency, doubling the life of water in its production process, breathing better air and the recovery of waste. All of this on top of taking care of its 190 employees by providing a healthy balanced food offer in the canteen as well as a gym, unsurprisingly they have several generations of the same family working there.

My favourite slide of the day was one they showed listing the brands they work with, it filled me with such pride that a tiny brand like Hope was sitting on the same page as some of the good and the greats of the industry.

The session finished with an end to end tour of the fabric production which included knitting, dyeing, printing, quality testing in the labs (separate ones for US and European markets no less). Unfortunately, because of its patent I was unable to talk photographs but suffice to say it was quite simply fascinating and left me brimming with ideas as to how we can develop this fabulous fabric even further!


Next stop the Prada Foundation...

I was so excited about this visit, I have been an admirer of Miuccia Prada for many years and thought I would be going along to see and hear about the Prada story and maybe some of their iconic pieces. Instead I discovered the Fondazione Prada Milan is an exhibition space dedicated to contemporary art and culture.

Suffice to say the exhibitions at this particular time were very contemporary and went straight over my head I’m afraid. The architecture of the space though was beautiful, the silhouette, texture and colours were gorgeous and for the same reason I seemed to blend in beautifully in my Fringed Pattern Poncho!


It was time to head to the heart of the city and visit some of the stores and of course gaze in admiration at the incredible Duomo di Milano and ideally grab some supper.

Here’s a summary of my favourite bits;

Max Mara windows

La Rinascente undergoing an exterior renovation...

...only in Italy would they do it so stylishly with these adorable Facemasks


A New brand to me Falconeri

Tricolore on a plate, the best burrata I’ve ever tasted!

Duomo Milano at night

In summary, an amazing 24 hours with lots of learning, lots of inspiration and more than anything else a feeling of immense pride that Hope is working with such outstanding partners to develop this brand into something special.

Wherever you are this weekend, I hope you have some of the mini heatwave we are being promised, not good for knitwear sales but good for the soul!

Till next time,


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2 thoughts on “Musings from Milan”

  • Really good post. I think a lot of customers would be interested to learn more about the fabric you use in the foundation range and how and why it is different from what we are used to. I love the fabric for various reason and its great to have it backed up by facts and figures. I think a lot of women would be keen to learn why/how it is good at keeping us cool, as essential attribute for many of us. Also its cosy too :) Loved learning what other brands use that fabric mill - they are quite prestigious. I have several Hope Fashion items which I love and Im looking forward to adding to my wardrobe as time goes on.

  • Jeannie, thank you for suggesting that some women would be keen to know more about the Foundation fabric so please watch this space! Delighted you are enjoying your Hope pieces so far, Nayna X

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