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Brunello Cucinelli cashmere factory
Inside an ancient castle, high in the hills of the Italian region of Umbria, a small army of women hold court. The lands around the castle no longer belong to the royalty but these women are queens of their domain.
They are the cashmere makers of Brunello Cucinelli and they take their responsibilities seriously.
In each of the rooms of the restored 14th century castle in Solomeo, the women are working on quality assurance.
They are testing the stress level of pockets, using backlights to look for imperfections in the material, and ensuring all elements have been made to the expected standard.
Brunello Cucinelli cashmere may only be a mid-sized business by Italian fashion standards, but it’s renowned for making some of the highest quality clothes in the world.
The company has about 500 staff and it places an emphasis on ethics within its workforce. Salaries for the workers are about 20 per cent higher than the national average, staff don’t punch a time clock and, of course, they get to come to work every day in an ancient castle.
Careful where you thread
For these women, the work in the castle is the frontline. This is the last check and balance for a company that prides itself on reputation, a reputation built on quality as much as style.
Most of the cashmere comes from Mongolia and it’s then hand-sewn in this small little Umbrian town.
Once the clothes are ready, they are shipped to Bruno Cucinelli’s boutique stores all around the world, many of which are on the most famous shopping strips in the world.
Maybe you’ve seen the clothes in a shop window. Maybe you’ve even bought some yourself (and mortgaged the house to do so). But have you ever thought carefully about where it comes from?
Now, in this photo essay, you can go inside the castle to see the queens of cashmere for yourself.
Time Travel Turtle was a guest of the Umbria Regional Tourism Board but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.