GROWING up in Bedford was, and is to this day a bit like growing up in a small part of Italy. Not withstanding the obvious fact that it’s a town somehow and peculiarly located in the centre of the British Isles. About 30% of Bedford’s population has links to Italy with its strongest ties being to the southern most regions: Campagnia, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily.
The London Brick Company attracted immigrants to Bedford during the 50s and I guess it’s just developed from there. Being of Italian heritage myself and having lived in parts of Italy at various stages of my life I suppose I’m a mixture of cultures and to be honest there’s a lot of things to love about both our countries and cultures. For instance it is clear to me that ‘food’ has become Italy’s greatest export, but clearly fashion remains a phenomenon and represents a huge part of their economy. Fashion also keeps the Italians at the forefront of style and all things chic. Brands such as Gucci, Armani, Prada and D&G are forever pushing boundaries and they help to drive fashion the world over.
For my part I’ve always loved fashion and pursued a style all of my own which has always had a strong Italian influence. I’ve always loved that classic Italian look from the 50s and 60s and appreciate the good quality, good fit and good style that made it such an iconic period in our history.
I think it’s fair to say that I’ve lived a colourful life so far, with experiences as varied and extreme as acting, which included a role as an extra in Eastenders, to a film ‘double’ for 007 Pierce Brosnan, along with a brief spell as a boxer. It was during a trip to Tunisia last year acting as a bodyguard to a dear friend of mine that I first came into real contact with the world of fashion and garment manufacturing. My interest had been piqued. Tunisia has been in turmoil for a while and although my presence was merely precautionary I really got in touch with the vibe of this fantastic country.
Where other industries have benefited from advancements in innovation during recent decades the clothing industry has buy and large remained non automated and very labour intensive. Fabrics are still laid up by hand; panels are cut out by scary and lethal looking cutting machines and lengthy lines of local women assemble garments by sewing the panel pieces together a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.
With all this info buzzing around in my head and with a new business partner who already has a well respected reputation making garments for the high end Italian fashion industry in a state-of-the art factory I decided to launch ‘Conte di Savoia Clothing’ .
Before making the selection for our range and styles of clothing I felt a good indication would be to wear the garments along with some accessories. Important for me was feedback from friends and people in general commenting on my look. Just hearing: “Love your trousers” or “Where do you buy your shirts” spoke volumes for me and helped finalise our range of clothing and accessories we offer. High end, but affordable designer clothing that matches the quality and style of the biggest fashion brands.
Guest blog from Gio, owner of Conte Di Savoia.