The company was founded in 1910 by Ermenegildo Zegna. At the age of 18 he founded the Lanificio Zegna and what was to become one of Italy’s best known and most dynamic family businesses. He had a dream that he would make, in his own words, ‘the most beautiful fabrics in the world'.
By the early 1980s this vision had been realised in a fully vertically-integrated company. Zegna has close control over each part of its supply chain: owning everything from a farm in Australia to mills in Italy, fabric cutting houses in Switzerland through to the boutique stores where its fabrics are sold across the globe. The group has developed and patented multiple fabric treatments including Trofeo, High Performance and Elements.
The mills of Ermenegildo Zegna have avoided the race to make the “finest” cloth with the highest counts (150s,180s). Zegna has maintained that counts are only one of several factors in the feel or wearability of the final cloth. Some of the characteristics of the fibers that Zegna emphasizes are:
- Fineness – the fineness of the diameter of the fibers, this gives the silky hand associated with superfine wool
- Length – important to spin the finest and silkiest yarns
- Strength – for durability and resilience
- Color – affects the way the fibers will absorb dye
- Hand or texture – determines the softness and resilience of the resulting cloth
- Consistency – how alike are all the fibers in their fineness, hand, strength, and color
Ermenegildo Zegna has long been a leader in developing new cloths to fill consumers’ needs. Some of these innovations include:
Zegna’s signature tropical cloth was created in response to the need for a wrinkle-resistant, all-wool cloth. Zegna developed a high-twist, super 100’s that holds a crease well, wrinkles less, and drops wrinkles quickly; it has a smoother hand and softer drape than other tropicals. First produced in 1985, it still sets a standard for the entire class of crush-resistant wools.
The success of High Performance led to the development of a three-season version of the same yarn. Woven a bit heavier, often in varied textures, it has a milled finish rather than the clear finish associated with High Performance as a tropical. But it offers the same resilience and packs well for the traveler.
First produced in the 1950s, Zegna’s own super 120s is the equivalent of cloths labeled 150s by other mills. It is characterized by its tissue weight and rich, velvety hand. Many clients view it as a perfect combination of lightness and texture for wear throughout the year.
The wool that feels like cashmere. Using only fibers that measure 15 microns in diameter or smaller (a capillary in the bloodstream measures 9 microns; by contrast a human hair measures 30) , Zegna spins yarns that make rich fall goods or supple, lightweight cloths for spring.
Again recognizing the need for light cloths, Zegna produced a cashmere that is worsted and as light as a summer suit. The rarity of this luxury is enhanced when one considers that the fleece can only be obtained once each year, from only one region in the world – Inner Mongolia – ant that the cashmere for one jacket requires the fleece of more than fifteen animals.
many innovations produce new textures and qualities for the wearer: for example, cotton blended with cashmere in Donegal weaves or even corduroy. Linen is mixed with wool for a new summer alternative to classic wool and silk blends.
Zegna’s signature super 100s. Trofeo can be offered with a clearer finish for spring or fulled for a richer, loftier hand for autumn.