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Naj Oleari – Made in Italy

Naj-Oleari: the origins of a status symbol

Featuring delicate prints with small designs, Naj-Oleari bags, wallets, umbrellas, and headbands were iconic and must-haves of the 1980s.

reading time5 minutes

Those who lived through adolescence in the much-celebrated 1980s cannot help but remember it: a Naj-Oleari handbag, umbrella, or oilskin jacket represented a real status symbol. Those were the company’s golden years. However, its history began much earlier and in a decidedly niche sector.

To discover its origins, we have to go back as far as 1916, when Riccardo Naj-Oleari, in Magenta, opened the company under the name ‘Manifatture Naj-Oleari,’ producing sacred and priestly clothing.

The 1970s and power to imagination

His son Carlo began expanding production, turning to the umbrella sector. However, the colors did not go beyond grey and black. It was not until the 1970s that the company saw its first real revolution. With the management of the third generation of the family – Angelo, Riccardo, and Giancarlo Naj-Oleari – the company began to dare more in terms of colors and patterns created by Angelo’s wife, Maurizia Dova, daughter of the famous painter Gianni Dova.

The novelty, however, did not meet with any success among the company’s traditional customers. Far from abandoning the idea, the management decided to relaunch by opening a shop in Milan’s Porta Ticinese area. This first shop was the beginning of a great success that would culminate in the 1980s and early 1990s. Padded headbands, jeans with pockets covered in colored fabric, sweatshirts, bags, wallets, and fancy umbrellas, owning at least one Naj-Oleari garment was a must and a status symbol!

Exponential growth

In 1991, Naj-Oleari reached 50 stores in Italy alone and had shops in 10 cities in Europe and the USA, including Paris, San Francisco, Vienna, and Copenhagen. In the meantime, turnover increased from 6 billion liras to 35 billion liras. It was a decidedly profitable season, but the Made in Italy clothing crisis was not slow to make itself felt even for this iconic brand, and Naj-Oleari’s growth suffered a serious setback.

Naj-Oleari and Bottega Verde

In 1996, the three brothers decided to sell the company to the Tuscan Bottega Verde group, owned by the Lavino family from Biella. Following the acquisition, the new management decided to broaden the target and product range. Thus, new lines were created, including children’s clothing and footwear, beauty creams, and sunglasses, through to a special ergonomic chair.

Naj-Oleari make-up

The EuroItalia group, which operates internationally in the luxury beauty sector, owns the Naj-Oleari brand for makeup. In the group, the Naj-Oleari brand retains its 100% Made in Italy essence and distinctive characteristics, first and foremost its inspiration from the 1980s.

The products are not tested on animals, are paraben-free, and are dermatologically tested.

Today, Naj-Oleari continues to be present in Italy and abroad as a brand of the Bottega Verde Group. It has a turnover of millions of euros and dozens of employees and sells beauty products, handbags, shoes, and accessories throughout Europe with iconic, colorful designs that are the architects of its success.

Congratulations to those who bring Made in Italy quality, imagination, and colors to the world!

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