Traditional work and a contemporary taste for the classics: this is how one can define Maglificio G.R.P’s knitwear, a Made in Tuscany brand that we are pleased to offer in our selection. Check out our interview with Gianni, mind and heart of Maglificio GRP.
“To understand the greatness of a GRP garment you have to become small and study its details” – reads the website of the knitwear factory founded in 1973 on the hills of Carmignano, a portion of territory that has earned the nickname of “small Tuscany” thanks to the wealth and variety of what it offers.
And to understand the history of the brand that makes those garments? We believe that the most appropriate answer is to give voice to its employees; the same today, just as yesterday, contribute to make clothing with that extra quid, which is embodied in style and excellent materials, the only features still able to make a difference.
We turn it over to Gianni, who before answering our questions takes us back into the past, telling us the evolution of the brand’s history with minuteness:
I spent most of the ‘90s on a plane managing production in the most disparate parts of the world: Thailand, Pakistan, China, Indonesia. I can say that I was a pioneer of production in the Far East. I saw with my own eyes producers pass, in a very short time, from a warehouse of 200 square meters. to a site of 5,000 square meters; entrepreneurs wearing belts with three phones, one for calls from the U.S. another for those from Europe and the third for domestic calls; crumbling cities with streets full of potholes transform themselves month after month to become welcoming cities with perfectly paved roads and tree-lined streets.
I followed production in factories that made Ralph Lauren, where all the workers were Muslims and the owners Christians. I took flights that arrived at their destination at 7 am and at 9 I already had the first meetings, the only comfort a spray bottle with Evian mineral water to spray on my face to look refreshed.
The name of the brand I produced was “World Tribe” and it reflected the positive attitude of that time towards globalization. In 2000, coinciding with the change of the millennium, the World Tribe project reached the end of its cycle and I found myself having to decide on what to do. At the time G.R.P. (founded in 1973) was the only Italian supplier for the World Tribe brand, I asked the owner Pierluigi Rofi, a great expert in knitting technique, if he was interested in evaluating the possibility of trying to develop a project together.
I didn’t want to jump from plane to plane anymore and I wanted to make a high quality product. We made a micro knitwear collection based on the geometric jacquard shapes of the ‘70s using 100% merino wool yarns of the finest quality. The collection was an immediate success and so began our story. Initially our knitwear brand was labelled “San Frediano”. Once we discovered that the name San Frediano had already been registered by another company we decided to use our Company name for our knitwear label.
Our mission was and is, even more today, to craft a product with great wearability and yarn of the finest quality. For this reason we decided to write on the label, along with our brand name, “artfully made in Tuscany”.
Hi Gianni, today we would like to talk with you about knitwear made in Tuscany. Ours is a region full of artisans too often devalued by globalization; that’s why we try to valorize the Made in Tuscany label, or rather, “fatto in Toscana” by Tuscan hands.
Which sweater are you most attached to?
I really like a knitting technique called “elastic knit”. The meshes made with this technique have extraordinary comfort and an extremely compact appearance. 100% combed merino wool yarn. I have 5 in my wardrobe made with this technique in different styles and it is absolutely the type of sweater that I wear most often.
Why is the knit factory called GRP?
The factory was founded in 1973 by Pierluigi Rofi and a partner whose surname was Gufoni. For name the initials of Gufoni and Rofi Pierluigi were used to get G.R.P.
The yarn you love the most and why?
In late winter early spring I really like cashmere to wear over a t-shirt. In winter, as an under jacket, I really like combed basolan treated merino wool in the knitwear technique “elastic knit” because this type of wool does not pill. In late autumn, when temperatures start to fall, I like to wear A1 type cardigans with the fronts in tweed or boiled wool and the neck and back sleeves in 50% alpaca and 50% wool yarn. In summer, our 100% linen polo shirt, entirely “cut and stitched” by expert hands, is the most pleasant thing to wear on your body, fresh and lightweight.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a laboratory like yours?
Small knitwear mills, if they have experienced and passionate people who work there, can make a quality niche product maintaining a certain style, aspects that give enormous satisfaction. It is then the skill of the entrepreneur to make the mill function in an appropriate way, but this is a problem that is also present in larger and more structured companies.
A word or an adjective that to you best describes Eredi Chiarini?
Eredi Chiarini has a clear and precise style that has been maintained over the decades without being a store that sells a classic product. Ability to change without changing style requires rigor and openness: two elements that need discipline in order to exist together. For me Eredi Chiarini expresses Discipline.
We would like to grow the other two company brands, Casa Isaac and Max Rohr and maintain Tintin’s high profile.
Why should our customers buy GRP sweaters?
The reason is perceived only at the moment when our sweater is worn and for this reason we tend to work with shops that are good at getting their customers to try on our products. We are not an online sales brand.