Why make Luxury Linens in Italy?

The finest bed sheets in the world are made in Italy!

Why make Luxury Linens in Italy?  

One of our customers recently asked the question, “Why do you make your linens in Italy?” We took the time to explain that answer at length, and here is a look at the exact inquiry.  

Hi Steve,  

I can see why the linens cost more on a manufacturing basis, Italian laws and unions make it expensive to produce anything in Italy. I know this because we have a factory in Italy, as well as factories in Asia and the USA. Italy is definitely #2 behind Detroit in terms of PIA unions and stupid business-hampering regulations.  

When you say, the linens are worth the cost, my question is why? You could certainly make these with almost any competent weavers. So why produce them in Italy? You could import the same fabric into a less expensive culture and hire great weavers there. Is there something specifically unique about the Italian weavers? 

 Just wondering... Mark  

Mark asked some very good questions and here is our reply:  

Our textiles are woven in Northern Italy for very good reasons. 

  • Northern Italy has been one of the top cotton weaving regions in the world since the Middle Ages. Our opinion is that Italy produces the best bed sheets in the world.
  • Some may say that weaving is the same regardless of location. That is true to an extent, although the yarns and grades of cotton used in these textiles make a huge difference. The grade of cotton is where a significant amount of the cost lies.  

As is the case with just about everything, there are different grades of products. The hamburger analogy does a great job of proving this to be true. 

Like Hamburgers, bed sheets come in different qualities

 As with hamburgers there are okay bed sheets & great ones

Hamburgers are available for purchase at White Castle, while there are upscale restaurants that sell hamburgers made from Kobe beef. Both of these varieties are hamburgers and both are made of beef. But most people will agree that there’s a big difference in taste and price. 

 The same theory holds true with woven cotton bed sheets. There are very inexpensive grades of cotton used in the manufacturing process and very expensive grades are used as well. There are also many grades in between. Here are some more facts about the production of luxury linens:  

  • The U.S. is home to very few cotton textile mills. There are even fewer which have looms 120” wide (a requirement for bedding products). And there are even less that specialize in thin-sheet grade cotton.  
  • Luxury Linen production is a niche market that is rather small. There are lots of subtleties associated with weaving products that are suitable for luxury linens. These simply aren’t found in the U.S.  
  • China and India have the edge when it comes to low-cost/high volume inexpensive markets. However, their choice of cotton and yarns is variable and their selection of cotton is frequently of the cheap and substandard varieties.  
  • High-volume, technically-equipped weavers are not interested in the small quantity (high quality, small demand) that the luxury linen industry offers.  
  • Smaller weavers in Asia often lack credibility and have been known to cut corners.  

It could be possible to find someone in the U.S. to weave this fine quality of cotton, although the learning curve would be rather expensive. The reality is that Italy has already mastered it.  

Here is an enlarged image of our Italian cotton sheet weight fabric and some from China - notice the inconsistent thread diameters and weave. Additionally, look at the knotted-up area, this will become a pill after a few uses and washes.


Finishing with pride

white luxury italian bed sheets

The finishing of luxury linens is a specialty craft. In Italy, sew rooms are very small and occupied by very skilled sewers. Some of the workers in Vero’s sew rooms are third and fourth generation luxury bed linen sewers. 

Italy also retains a high level of pride in craftsmanship, which no longer exists in other parts of the world. There is a certain cache associated with the “Made in Italy” label, which adds an intangible value to the product.  

You may also enjoy the following bedding related articles: