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Shima Seiki
Shima Seiki

9th March 2020, Castelgoffredo, Italy

Duelegs: A vertical 100% Made in Italy manufacturer of women’s hosiery

Scaligero Castle in Sirmione at Lake Garda, Italy. © Knitting Industry

Scaligero Castle in Sirmione at Lake Garda, Italy. © Knitting Industry

Castel Goffredo is a ‘comune’ in the province of Mantua, in Lombardy, northern Italy, with a population of around 12,000. It lies 35 kilometres from Mantua and a few more from Brescia in a region of springs at the foot of the slopes that drain into beautiful Lake Garda.

The town of Castel Goffredo has been involved in textile production since medieval times. The original source material was wool, but in the 1700s, the leading family of the town, the Acerbi, introduced silk-worm farming and silk-production became an important sector. Cotton weaving was also introduced around this time and the production of cotton and silk was revolutionised by the industrial processes of the twentieth century, which also saw the introduction of the new synthetics into the business. During the 20th century, the area underwent a period of sustained and steady economic development and growth.

The first modern textile-factory was built in 1925 and others soon followed. They took great advantage of the post-war boom and began to specialise, in particular, in the manufacture of hosiery. The area became a centre of expertise in the production of woman’s hosiery and was known internationally for its quality and inventiveness both in terms of product and business innovation. Some of the great names of the Italian hosiery industry hail from the district, including Golden Lady and Calzedonia.

Knitting Industry recently visited a number of producers in the area around Castel Goffredo to find out if the ‘district’ was still in fact world class and to try to gauge how it is evolving to compete in the now globalised and highly competitive hosiery industry. This article, t looks at a company which has reinvented itself, having started life as private label manufacturer for the big brands and retailers.

Duelegs

A typical entrepreneurial and innovative approach is taken by Duelegs Srl, a producer and marketer of ladies’ hosiery based in Castel Goffredo. Owner-manager William Gambetti runs a family business, which was founded in 1969 by his father and his father’s brother, which sits under the family holding BBF Group. Duelegs is a vertical, 100% Made in Italy manufacturer – it buys in yarns and knits, dyes and finishes and packs and despatches finished goods. The company has experienced rapid growth in recent years, going from a turnover of EUR 5 million to EUR 36 million in just nine years.

William Gambetti, Duelegs. © Knitting Industry

William Gambetti, Duelegs. © Knitting Industry

Brand development

Duelegs’ William Gambetti is a real ‘go getter’, and developing new brands and markets seems to be his forte – the company had 37 stores in the USA prior to 9/11, when the market collapsed.

Gambetti has an agreement with a large hosiery marketer for much of his production but is also continuously actively looking into new markets. Duelegs manufactured 26 million pairs of tights last year and until four years ago the company, like many others in Castel Goffredo, was a 100% ‘private label’ manufacturer making for the big brands. Now it has invested in developing its own brands for the medical hosiery and fashion segments, as well as in other new projects.

On the fashion side the company has invested in its own Gambetti brand – with its strapline ‘maximum quality hosiery’ signalling that it operates in the medium to high quality end of the market. For the fashion sector Duelegs has also developed the Nina Ray brand, which is doing very well in China and other parts of Asia. Be on Top is the company’s ‘sexy compression’ brand for prevention of venous insufficiency, with a new image. It aims to bring in new customers, as its customer base is ageing.

The perfect fusion between tights and leggings

Duelegs latest project, and the one that William Gambetti is most excited about is Tightings. Tightings are seamless leggings made on adapted circular seamless technology as opposed to hosiery technology like the company’s other products. “Tightings are in effect leggings without vertical seams – the waistband still needs to be sewn on, which helps bypass the problem of finishing labour,” William Gambetti says.

Tightings and Toppings at Duelegs. © Knitting Industry

Tightings and Toppings at Duelegs. © Knitting Industry

“The product was first exhibited in January this year at the Salon De La Lingerie in Paris and then a few weeks later at the ISPO winter outdoor exhibition in Munich, where we were absolutely unique.”

High-tech yarns from Fulgar

Tightings are made using high-tech yarns from locally based international hosiery yarns maker Fulgar – Emana, EVO, Q-Skin and Nanofibra yarns are all supplied by the yarn covering specialist. The focus for Tightings is no seams, ‘100% Made in Italy’ and special yarns and the company plans to build on its current capacity of 4000 pairs per week.

Tightings. !00% Made in Italy. © Duelegs

Tightings. !00% Made in Italy. © Duelegs

“More than just a garment, Tightings is a technical innovation that has inspired a new product category. It’s made using an exclusive patent pending technology by Duelegs based on a development of the classic tights machine, adapted to create garments that can be worn as outerwear,” Fulgar commented at the 2018 launch.

For the global lift-off, Duelegs created a collection made exclusively with Fulgar yarn and LYCRA stretch to provide maximum comfort and fit. Four unique models, each featured a high-performance yarn: BIANCA with Nanofibra by Fulgar, with a thermal effect; CELESTE with EVO by Fulgar, with an ultra-light effect; ROSSANA with EMANA by Fulgar, with a Kinesio Taping effect; and VIOLA with Q-SKIN by Fulgar, with a skincare effect. Since the launch, the company has also added GIADA to the collection, which uses Fulgar’s MULTIFIBRA yarns.

“It's a significant challenge for us, one that means breaking out of the world of female legwear to enter the much wider sportswear world, which has experienced exponential growth in recent years. We've invested two years of our energy in research and development, to the point where we are now ready to launch Tightings and we have chosen, also for this important project, a qualified partner such as Fulgar, a company that always supports us with its innovative yarns. We are optimistic that our innovation will shake up the legwear market, which has long remained static," William Gambetti said at the official introduction in Paris.

BIANCA for example is a woman who prefers training and exercising outdoors and loves wearing sportswear even during her daily social life. She loves comfort but always keeps an eye on fashion trends. © Duelegs

BIANCA for example is a woman who prefers training and exercising outdoors and loves wearing sportswear even during her daily social life. She loves comfort but always keeps an eye on fashion trends. © Duelegs

BIANCA, CELESTE, ROSSANA, VIOLA and GIADA are all aimed at different types of woman, each of whom have different lifestyles and very specific requirements in terms of look, feel and performance. BIANCA for example is a woman who prefers training and exercising outdoors and loves wearing sportswear even during her daily social life. She loves comfort but always keeps an eye on fashion trends.

William Gambetti really focusses on fine detail. Even his packaging is well thought out – Tightings are sold in hard back book like packages, which have a distinct ’50 shades’ look about them and can be displayed in a bookcase format at retail.

Trademarked and patent pending Tightings are, according to William Gambetti, “the perfect fusion between tights and leggings” and are sold on the company’s own website to both the public and to retailers. The company is very active on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Gambetti explains: “We have to create an image online, because after all, we are only a village manufacturer.”

Gambetti talks about his hopes for the brand. “When you think about globally known brands, like for example, the Post-It-Note – the brand is the product – and the product is the brand. I have the dream to do the same with Tightings.”

To complete the offer, Duelegs offers Toppings, a range of tops, including Sport Jacket, Sleeve T-Shirt and Sport Bra. The company’s innovative Tightings can be worn with the new complementary Toppings, which have been “developed and created to complete the outfit for those who want 360-degree freedom.” Tightings come in a range of solid colours and coloured intarsia patterns and Toppings in various colours.

Contact

Dueleg s.r.l.

Street Tomasina 29,

46040 Guidizzolo (MN)

Tel: +39 0376 8402297

Fax: +39 03 0376 818718

E-mail:  [email protected]

www.tightings.com

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