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Ombrellificio Maglia Francesco

February 17, 2012

A good umbrella goes a long way and is an accessory that’s typically overlooked.  This has created a market for cheap, often plastic, umbrellas that self destruct within ten minutes of use in an actual storm.  Anyone in a large city anywhere in the world is familiar with this carnage.  While in Milan we paid a visit to Ombrellificio Maglia Francesco to see how a proper umbrella and lasting product is made.
Located on the outskirts of Milan in a modest workshop, Ombrellificio Maglia Francesco has been in continual existence since 1854.  For six generations the company has been family owned and continues to make umbrellas the same way they did 158 years ago; by hand.  To say that a Maglia Francesco umbrella is superior to those you see folded in half on the sidewalk is selling them short.  After seeing all that goes into each product, they’re a true artisanal piece of work.

Inside their workshop sits a staff of only a few people, who are each involved in one or two steps of the production.  Equally as impressive as the production is the materials.  Every piece of each umbrella with the exception of the bamboo handles, comes from Italy.  The fabrics and metals are from Como, the handles from areas in the north native to the type of wood they’re made from (ash, oak, etc), however the bamboo travels from either Japan or China.

The process begins with the selection of fabrics, today polyester or poly-cotton are the fabrics of choice.  The days of silk are long gone since polyester & poly-cotton have not only proven to be better quality, but drastically more cost effective.  And just a side-note, incase you were interested in having your jacket lining match your umbrella, or any other lining for that matter, its possible.  Following the selection of fabric, parasol size is set and cut.  While this is being done, the frames and solid wood shafts are being constructed a room away.  Once the two meet, each panel is sewn together and fastened to the frame with extra fabric used to conceal all the hinges and moving parts.  After everything is assembled and has passed continual quality control inspections, it hits the steamer (an upside down hand iron) and awaits packaging.

Although the work that goes into the final product at Maglia Francesco may be a secret, their umbrellas are not.  Most of the world’s best department stores (Bergdorf’s, Harrods, and so on) and several of the big fashion houses all purchase from Maglia Francesco.  The also do exclusive pieces for a few labels that couldn’t be mentioned.  As always, the proof is in the product as well as its production and Maglia Francesco excels at both.  [Ombrelli Maglia Francesco]

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    February 17, 2012 22:05

    These umbrellas are obviously of exceptional quality. Nicer than the Chicago Art Institute Van Gogh “Water Lillies” I currently own. Nurse Linda could really use one of these for our rainy days!!

  2. December 26, 2012 21:59

    i really like it .

  3. Anonymous permalink
    May 8, 2013 05:25

    Fantastic Article on Ombrelli Maglia and Francesco Maglia.

    These fantastic “masterpieces” are now available HERE:

  4. December 16, 2013 13:58

    Very nice blog post. I absolutely love this site.


  1. An Italian Artisan |

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