From Cashmere to Protective Masks

Christmas gifts for our family members have often been wool or cashmere sweaters purchased at the outlet store at Novella Confezioni in the valley below Assisi.

At Novella Confezioni, Monia Mancinelli, daughter of Novella, the founder of Novella Confezioni, designs her creations in wool, cashmere, silk, and linen which she sells in the outlet adjacent to the factory where 50 employees work. Of course, this was in the pre-coronavirus days.

In the factory, a brigade of 46 textile machines once whirled away to fill the orders commissioned by big names in Italian fashion, with Monia’s brothers, Francesco and Domenico, programming the designs. The designs are known for their excellent quality and reasonable prices. Often, Monia’s young assistants would serve clients while Monia was in the factory working on new designs. 

If you could drop into Novella Confezioni these days, you would find the outlet store closed and just four or five workers in masks, gloves and protective suits at the knitwear machines in the adjacent factory. Only two machines now whir: programmed to produce masks; not sweaters, coats, scarves, and skirts for top fashion houses in northern Italy. 

Francesco had explained the transformation of their production in a telephone interview: “We did this for our employees and their families, feeling the need to put in far more than our usual daily commitment to our work.” Their first production resulted in 500 masks for employees and their families, given gratuitously.

Monia told a local newspaper: “We thank all our employees who have been working at the knitwear machines in gloves, masks and protective outfits…[after] a lot of work and endless trials, we’ve succeeded in creating a comfortable product made with certified  STANDARD 100 di OEKO-TEX® materials (a label known worldwide for textiles tested for toxicity and synonymous with maximum security of the product).”

Novella Confezioni has given away over 1,500 masks to homes for the elderly, police and health care personnel. Domenico has been pushing for the necessary laboratory testing to validate their masks as DM (dispositivo medico chirurgico, “for medical/surgical use“) or as DPI (dispositivo di protezione individuale, “for individual protection use”).

Mille grazie to all at Novella Confezioni.