After our recent Town & Country Shoes discussion, with the combinations of socks and trousers, we want to introduce you to one of the top notch sock manufacturers in the world: CALZIFICIO M. BRESCIANI.
Bresciani Hosiery & History
After years of experience in the sock manufacturing trade, Mario Bresciani decided in 1970 to start his own sock factory, Mario Bresciani S.N.C., in Castiglione delle Stiviere (Mantova, Italy). In the beginning, the sole focus was the Italian men’s sock market, which meant they exclusively produced high-quality over-the-calf socks! Only several years later, when they began exporting to other countries, a collection of shorts socks was added to their portfolio. This was very difficult for Mario Bresciani, who believes short socks are “only for kids”!
Ten years after it was founded, the company changed its name into Calzificio M Bresciani S.R.L. (the Italian equivalent of an LLC). Even after entering the private label market, they kept their premises and continued to produce high-quality socks.
In the 90’s, Mario’s sons Massimiliano and Fabio joined the company. In 1994, Bresciani was able to acquire an exclusive license for Brioni socks, and the same followed for Canali in 2007. So, whenever you come across a pair of Brioni or Canali socks, they are in fact made by Bresciani. Also in 2007, they introduced a women’s sock collection for the first time.
Through the decades, Bresciani’s objective has been to produce the absolutely best socks, and while this has never changed, the market has. In the 1980’s, it was enough to produce top quality socks in order to prosper. In the 1990’s, the aspect of service became more and more important and in 2000, marketing, as well as product visibility, were of utmost importance.
With more than 40 years of experience, in addition to producing for other labels, Bresciani has successfully established their own eponymous brand name. To date, their socks are sold in more than 500 boutiques all over the world.
While Massimiliano is responsible for the marketing of Bresciani, his brother Fabio and father Mario dedicate their time to product development and yarn research. With such dedicated resources, Bresciani is now capable of producing socks made of 100% hemp, linen, Egyptian cotton, Merino Wool and Cashmere. They even offer a silk blend, and recently added a 50% – 50% cashmere-cotton blend. Unfortunately, the supplier for this yarn went out of business, and now they need a new source that satisfies Bresciani’s demand for high-quality yarns. Just last year, they experimented with 100% vicuna socks, but they were too fragile, and, therefore, they will offer a sturdier cashmere/vicuna blend shortly.
Bresciani’s attention to detail is reflected in many areas:
Only the finest yarns are good enough. As we all know, Merino wool comes in a range of qualities and Bresciani is the only sock producer that uses a two-ply 140’s Merino Wool yarn from Cariaggi. The thickness of these wool fibers (measured in micron) is similar to cashmere, and subsequently, the touch of this wool is very similar to cashmere or silk. The cotton used is mostly a Maki Egyptian cotton two ply 120’s, but they also use Pima cotton from the US for their casual range and Sea Island cotton for others. The cashmere and vicuna is sourced from Cariaggi and Loro Piana. They do not use any synthetic fibers. However, there are a few exceptions like the “unica” collection, which contains 90% cotton and 10% spandex. Also, cashmere socks come in 100% cashmere or 90% cashmere and 10% spandex. It is up to the customer whether he wants the more durable spandex version or a pure cashmere sock.
Bresciani is very serious about their quality control and highly skilled workmanship. For example, all socks are hand linked, and they use computer operated machines with 84 to 260 needles! These make for a very fine knit that results in an elegant sock with a soft hand. Usually, about 15% of the socks have tiny mistakes, and consequently, they are separated from the first quality socks.
Bresciani’s collection consists of 80 permanent styles and every season they present 50 new ones.
Bresciani Socks & Hosiery Review
A couple of months ago, I received several over-the-calf socks from Bresciani, and I tested them thoroughly. I wore them often in various conditions, such as when I was on my feet all day, and I also washed them several times. All socks, including the ones made out of cashmere, can be laundered in the washing machine with warm water. (86°F / 30°C) If possible, the cashmere socks should not be tumbled, unless your machine has a designated cashmere setting.
Unlike so many sock manufacturers who only offer socks in shades of gray, charcoal, navy, and black, Bresciani has 120 colors in their portfolio. Moreover, they make socks in all kinds of patterns like diamond, argyle, stripes, hounds tooth, plaid, polka dot and even conversation pieces like Mona Lisa socks in red or purple. Of course, they also offer the classic business range of socks in both plain colors and in subtle patterns.
The only problem was that they slid down after about five months of wear. Therefore, I started looking for other socks and finally found some that stayed up even after a year of heavy wear, you can find them here.
Based on my experience, I cannot recommend Bresciani socks. Although they are made of natural fibers, have great designs and colors for absolutely everybody, they do not stay up reliably, and a gentleman must have socks that stay up. Otherwise they are worthless. If you want high-quality socks made of natural fibers that stay up, look here: