by Karen Alberg Grossman

In the world of luxury menswear, small family-owned brands stand out from the corporate giants. U.S. retailers who acknowledge some price resistance at the very top of their mix confide that the level right beneath is where the action is.

Knitwear brand Fedeli is one of these hot labels. Founded in 1934 in Monza Italy, Fedeli is now run by Luigi Fedeli, third generation. “My grandfather founded the business 90 years ago manufacturing hats,” says Luigi with much pride. “The city of Monza was famous for headwear. But after the war, men stopped wearing hats so when my father joined the business, he decided to focus on knitwear.”

Asked what makes the company (now offering fabulous men’s and women’s designs) so special, Luigi speaks of the quality of the yarns, the craftsmanship, the details, the value pricepoints, and the attentive customer service. “Our customers recognize our high standards, our consistency and reliability. They understand the value in our product. Also important for American shoppers, the styling is not too trendy, but not too classic.”

Key items at retail this spring/summer ’24: jersey and pique polos made of the finest Giza cotton from Egypt ($230 suggested retails) and colorful swim shorts (retails about $260). For the coming fall season, it’s about special items in the finest cashmere, including their iconic double-faced sport coats (showing a different color inside than out; suggested retail $2500) and soft silky quarter zips in beautiful seasonal shades ($700-$800 retails).

Luigi acknowledges that Spring ’25 prices are up a bit; Fedeli offsets this by continuing to upgrade quality. “Many Italian makers have started producing out of the country, but we’re not going after cheap labor. Unlike big conglomerates, we don’t spend money on influencers or extensive consumer advertising, so customers always get tremendous value from our knitwear.”

Fedeli employs about 110 people, working from three production facilities. They have shops in Milan, Portofino, and St Tropez, a single factory outlet, and a few stores that are franchised. Asked about a possible store in New York City, Luigi confides that it’s his dream. “But it’s not the right time yet,” he explains. “There are so many empty storefronts on Madison Avenue, yet landlords keep prices high and the stores remain empty…” Fedeli’s new NYC showroom at 60 E. 56th Street is managed by Angelo Tsaganeas and Luigi son’s Nicco.

The company also boasts an online business that’s grown to almost 10 percent of total sales. Asked how U.S. retailers react to the company selling direct-to-consumer, Luigi explains that it’s not a problem. “Our main market for e-commerce is the U.S., representing 30-40 percent of our online volume. But our wholesale accounts in the States are also growing their Fedeli business so it’s not a conflict. Online is very important for us,” he adds, “allowing us to carefully analyze what customers want and create the next season’s looks accordingly, always adding fresh and new ideas.”

For market appointments in NYC and/or Chicago, contact Angelo.Tsaganeas@fedelicashmere.com.