There are very few items in a man’s arsenal which hold true sentimental value. We’re talking about those items that won’t decay with time, nor be forgotten with passing years. Francesco Maglia has been crafting umbrellas for over 160 years, making a product we so long for in today’s market of fast fashion. Made to last a lifetime, the stalwart umbrella is reminiscent of a time gone by… but it’s making a comeback. The umbrella, for a considerable amount of time, has been somewhat forgotten; scarcely used and often neglected. Because, why would we need an umbrella in this day and age? With the rapid evolution of technology and globalisation as a whole, the likes of ubers, public transport and the automotive industry has made its services readily available. In other words, we can get from A to B quite comfortably. But Francesco Maglia, now a 6th generation Maglia from Milan, Italy, is bringing back the romanticism of owning – and carrying – the long-trusted umbrella, guaranteed to stay with you through the peaks and valleys of life (yes, we refer to London’s formidable weather patterns).
“Francesco Maglia umbrellas are a product from a different time; a time where people weren’t travelling with cars or with public transport. They would have to walk everywhere. So, the umbrella was one of the most important products for the population of the time,” explains Francesco Maglia, director of namesake company. “Today, the tradition remains the same as it did when my great, great, great, great grandfather started the company in 1854. Every Francesco Maglia umbrella is made-to-measure in our workshop in Milano, offering a very large selection of products to our customers which are all uniquely different and perfectly made for you.”
Winding the clock back, Francesco Maglia is one of the oldest manufacturers of umbrellas in the world, and one of the few surviving. Founded in 1854 by Francesco Maglia, he would travel from city to city making umbrellas for businessmen and prominent figures of the time. At the age of 20, Maglia decided to start his own company in Milan, seeing a gap in the market for this product as the city’s population grew. Now over 160-years later, Francesco Maglia continues to craft the same umbrella that forged its iconic status of today. Likened by royalty and the everyday businessman alike, for years business was thriving thanks to its ingenuity, quality, style and design. Today, 28-year old Francesco Maglia not only carries the name of his founding ancestors, but the baton for the next generation of Francesco Maglia customer: millennials. Bringing back that idea of owning a quality item for life – a romantic notion at that – a return to culture and curiosity is, perhaps, what is needed to elevate this brand to the next level.
“I am looking to position this brand to a fresh, younger customer and generation who would appreciate what our umbrellas stand for: history and quality,” says Maglia. “It’s not a cultural problem. It’s a matter of necessity. People don’t need umbrellas. But I’m giving people the opportunity to design something truly unique for themself. At the start you may not understand it but year on year when you’re carrying the same product with you, it’ll become an integral part of your life.”
When posing the question of why one should purchase a Francesco Maglia umbrella, the answer lies unequivocally in its craft and history; a fact that Maglia himself is immensely proud of. It also happens to be a stylish accessory for the sartorial-minded individual, beyond its capabilities as a weather shield.
“You buy a Francesco Maglia umbrella because you are making a choice. You decide to be different from others and in turn, you invest in a great product with a fantastic history behind it, which is what people are looking for in products today,” says Maglia. “We change things every day, so it’s important to have something that will be with you forever. It’s somewhat a legacy and people want to trust in a legacy; they need to.”