Barròco is a digital platform born in 2018 with the intention of supporting Italian artisan workshops and producers, helping them to obtain the success and international visibility that are due to the garments that express the best Made in Italy, inextricably linked to values such as savoir-faire, refinement and quality
Selected by Barroco, we meet the brand Giorgio Portolano - Alpo

Alpo gloves stand out for their meticulous attention to detail and the quality of the materials. Giorgio Portolano, a member of the fourth generation of the founding family tells us more about the brand.

Tell us about your journey and how your brand came about. 

Our story begins in the '40s when my grandfather Fortunato Portolano, with a great spirit of entrepreneurship, transformed his father’s craft company into a well-organized production and commercial structure with a complete cycle from the skin tannery, to the glove factory to the shops. At the end of the '70s my father Alberto took over, so the company ALPO was created, with offices and showrooms in Milan and production in Inverigo. Then the business tradition continued, the machineries were updated and the production was oriented on increasing product quality. Finally, here we are in the third generation, probably the one that faces the toughest every day reality, but nonetheless gratifying and positive. Passion and energy are certainly what I have taken from previous generations and inspire me everyday.

How do you carry tradition forward while still keeping up with the times? 

Let’s say that tradition in our company is fundamental, and we are very happy to respect it. Having said that, we had to adapt to the times and especially to fashion, which frankly speaking is too fast-paced. We have introduced original yarns and materials, for a couple of years now we’ve only been using ecological fur and we are always looking for eco-sustainable fabrics. Fortunately, Alpo gets a lot of its driving force from collaborations with the most important Italian and foreign designers, bringing back the glove to an increasingly exclusive accessory, necessary to complete all type of fashion collections.

What are your iconic pieces which characterise the brand and how did they come about?

Just a few months ago we reorganized our archive and I was surprised by the number of models developed over the years, and how so many of them are perfect and still current today. Probably the iconic pieces that characterize us are the up to the elbow woman’s glove in nappa and lined with silk. Refined and perfect for the ALPO customer, once defined by an historical customers as a "sophisticated woman", showing close attention to detail, who never forgets to choose the perfect accessory to complete her look. She is someone who always wants to give her outfit a touch of sophistication and style, with a hectic life but never inattentive, who wants to be effortlessly chic. For men, our pièce de resistance is the deer leather glove imported directly from North America, lined in pure cashmere and entirely handmade.

Which of those artisan techniques which form part of your heritage do you still use today? 

My grandfather’s motto was: "Do not make with a machine what can be done by hand"; we always try to stand by this and made it our strength. I would therefore say that the technique that most represents us is also the oldest, that of the glove entirely hand sewn by our expert seamstresses.

What are your projects for the future and what are your strategies to get through this moment? 

Unfortunately, we find ourselves living a very difficult moment, which caught us all unprepared, but at the same time I think we can’t see everything negatively, we must be strong, find the energy to react. I am sure that in these very difficult moments in history, we can seize new opportunities and use new successful strategies. For example, for about a year now we have been collaborating with the Barroco digital platform, which supports talented artisans and owners of small Italian companies, working in an increasingly demanding market context, and therefore helping them to get the visibility and recognition they deserve. Their goal is to become the ideal destination for an extraordinary shopping experience, adding their own voice to a movement that we hope will inspire a positive change.

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