“One tends to think that Nature must be perfect. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this is not the case. The winning characteristic of natural products is their irregularity.” Massimiliano D’Ambrosi, Chief Executive Director of Manifattura di Domodossola, sums up in this sentence the mission of his company, which has gone through more than one hundred years of history resting on two pillars: the love for vegetable-tanned leather with tannin and the conviction that a quality product must be born from a production path of excellence, controlled by the company from cradle-to-gate.
Athison’s leather accessories are the result of such dedication: made of woven leather they find an original declination in the combination with other materials, such as cotton and rayon. The Athison line includes belts, bracelets, bags; even a Dog Collection of collars and leashes with very special designs and colours.
“We have been using vegetable-tanned leather with tannin for years, long before it became trendy. We often “argued” with the designers, who did not accept it because they thought it was a material with “”defects””. But who says that imperfection is necessarily a defect? We consider it a detail of uniqueness.
Vegetable-tanned leather with tannins is wonderful because it has colours that evolve with time, it has a life of its own … a scratch over time is transformed, becoming something beautiful and unique. The bag made from our leather has a life of its own and time will prove it. Unlike faux leather bags or leather articles finished with polyurethane, which always look the same and anonymous, our bags can age and improve over time. The aim is to create a bond, a “weave”, that ties the person to the accessory they have chosen, and that will inevitably become part of their life.
A well pondered and brave entrepreneurial choice in the age of fast fashion. D’Ambrosi says:
“In 1913 there was a factory in the heart of Domodossola specialized in ropes and trimmings, shoelaces and small braided weaves. The company has survived the 2 World Wars. Then in the ‘60s – – ‘70s of the last century, came the time to change. The production of small braids, trimmings and shoelaces moved to other markets and it became no longer competitive. For this reason, there was a need to change production and innovate, entering new sectors with new products. Change and innovation have accompanied us throughout our history and have allowed us to be the company we are today, with more than 300 employees.
The machines have been adapted to a new use. “Before, there was no machine braided belt, only hand braided. The great innovation was to be able to produce woven belts never seen before, thanks to our technologies which were capable to combine leather with completely new materials (such as rayon and cotton). Subsequently, we have also been able to produce beautiful woven leather fabrics for the furniture industry which are used today to cover the interiors of prestigious hotels, luxury yachts, or designer shops.
In the 2000s, after the company’s centenary, the Athison brand of fine leather goods was born. The name recalls the name of the Toce river as it was known in antiquity (and mentioned by Plutarco). Athison- represents the strong bond of this company to its territory. Massimiliano says: “Athison is the conclusion of a journey that lasted more than 100 years and which encompasses all our skills, our culture and the know-how that we have acquired over these years, in order to have a complete product range. The choice was “crazy”” because, instead of relying on an external laboratory and external production (as many brands do), we did the opposite and decided to produce everything internally. Everything that is sold by us is also produced by us. Everything that comes in as raw material, comes out as finished product”.
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