Let’s be blatantly honest, the average guy isn’t inclined to gasp when looking at a spread of fabric, a well cut suit – yes, a particular style – maybe, but just fabric – not very likely. Then again, for those who have chosen to immerse themselves in the world of style, it just becomes a matter of time before fabric becomes the impetus to an increased heart rate, and selecting the perfect fabric for the ideal suit takes on a sense of euphoria.
There are fabric mills and there is Vitale Barberis Canonico (VBC), the oldest continuously run family operated fabric mill. The ultra technical sites will dissect the 300 plus years history and point out why the water and altitude in Biella play a significant part in their product. While this is evident and part of the reason VBC is special, I prefer to look at the side of VBC that allows them to bridge the gap between the past and present in a way that is unequivocal. Visiting the VBC fabric mill isn’t only a unique opportunity to discover a building that is state of the art in terms of equipment and design, but also a chance to receive a history lesson which meshes technical and practical. VBC is not just fabric for suiting, it is the foundation to a wearer’s wardrobe.
Between the range of suiting fabric and price point VBC has remained relevant after generations of manufacturing. While a few may complain about the accessibility of the product, I argue it is precisely that accessibility that continues to propel the brand in a linear way. VBC has created a wide range of fabric, which you can find from the racks of J. Crew, to the shelves of Suit Supply, to the cutting table of some of the worlds best tailors.
Additional photos by Jason Jean