PASHMERE: CASHMERE AND FIBER ART
*Featured photo: MARIA DEBORAH IUCULANO-student ABA BRERA
Translation by Marina Dlacic
Gabriele Galatioto receives me in his office when it’s almost evening. He proudly tells me about his company, a knitwear factory founded by his grandparents, Baron Meno Galatioto Rosso and his wife Mariuccia in 1965, in what, in the wake of Luisa Spagnoli, was the knitwear district of Perugia.
Of that industrial experience there are still few active testimonies today and, among these, precisely the Galassia srl, to which the Pashmere brand belongs, which has consolidated over time the specialization in the processing of high quality cashmere, developing a complete production chain, at the heels of that tradition of excellence that has made Made in Italy famous all over the world.
He invited me to visit his factory on the occasion of the presentation of the Fiberart Biennial of Spoleto in which, for two editions, he indirectly participated by supplying the material for artistic research projects to the students of the various Italian Academies taking part in the event. On that occasion he told me that he had long searched for possible virtuous alternatives for the textile ‘waste’ that the company produces physiologically and which can only be partially disposed of through other industrial chains from which regenerated fabrics are obtained. Until his encounter with contemporary art, four years ago, when Giuseppina Caldarola, curator of the Biennale, suggested that he use these materials to create textile works of art. From this first collaboration arises an authentic interest in upcycling that transforms a precious material such as cashmere destined to become waste into a work capable of giving emotions and challenging time. It is an ambition that perfectly matches the philosophy of a company that has its guideline in a very solid ethical value system. A vision of doing business that is confirmed, even, for example, when he later leads me to visit the now almost deserted production area “because – he tells me – we don’t have a night shift; the night is made to sleep and to be with one’s loved ones”. Or when he shows me the exclusive vintage whitened effect, a non-color obtained through hand washing in terracotta tubs with only natural extracts based on roots, leaves and flower petals.
Gabriele and his brother Emanuele work in the company with their parents Francesco and Laura. They are the third generation of this family of entrepreneurs who have the key to success in the care and love for beauty. In love with the cashmere yarn, thin and precious – pashmina – already known since ancient times and called peshma by the populations of Tibet who wove it to make very fine stoles to bring as a dowry to brides, and equally in love with a rich land of nature and culture – Umbria – have united thread and territory in their Pashmere collections, summarizing an idea of well-being that includes the person as a whole, the community, memory, the environment.
Rigor and tenacity are the two words that best sum up their story.
Rigor in style, always clean and elegant, and in the choice of natural yarns, the noblest and finest: 100% superlight thermoregulating cashmere pashmina, made to last over time, or traditional 2-ply cashmere, with 2 and more threads, and, again, pure sea-island cotton or Irish linen. Tenacity in always seeking new solutions for development and growth, both corporate and personal, such as the Make your polo patent or the opening of the Milan showroom.
This ability to look to the future includes the company’s willingness to collaborate in the artistic field, including international ones. Gabriele Galatioto shows me the production waste, the cone bottoms, the disused textile samples: all precious materials for experimentation in the field of contemporary art. Here, between threads, fabrics and projects, our meeting ends. I take my leave with the promise to return to discover the next works that young artists will be able to give shape on the occasion of the new edition of the FiberArt Biennale.