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BasicNet – Made in Italy

BasicNet, digital heart, analogue history

It picked up the baton of the historical Maglificio Calzificio Torinese, born in the early 20th century from a choice between love and family business, and relaunched iconic brands such as Robe di Kappa.

reading time5 minutes

The origins of BasicNet – whose name reminds of the digital world – are actually quite analogue and date back to before the First World War, when the young Turinese Abramo Vitale, son of a Jewish cloth merchant, fell in love with a Catholic woman. His father forced him to choose between love and the family business. Abramo chose love and used the settlement money to establish what was to become the Maglificio Calzificio Torinese. During the First World War, the company produced socks for the Royal Army and business was booming. Unfortunately, the factory was destroyed during World War II, but thanks to Marshall Plan funding, it went back to business, producing underwear.

A brand born by mistake

A startling coincidence. It is 1956, the year Marco Boglione, founder of BasicNet, was born, and in Maglificio Calzificio Torinese, a stock of flawed socks accidentally ends up in the shops. Since then, the packaging has been marked with a K that stands for ‘Kontrollen‘ to guarantee the quality of all subsequent productions. And that is how the brand Kappa was born!

The prestigious Robe di Kappa brand was born in 1969 when 23-year-old Maurizio Vitale, then managing director of the Maglificio, saw John Lennon wearing the military shirt of a fallen soldier in Vietnam and realised that unisex and casual clothing had to be created for the new generations. So he took a stock of T-shirts, had them dyed military green and decorated with army insignia and stars, and called them ‘Robe di Kappa’. They were a huge success.

The Robe di Kappa Sport brand (which later became Kappa) debuted in 1978 thanks to Marco Boglione and immediately became famous for sponsoring Juventus in 1978 and the US National Athletics Team at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Olympics.

A new business model

Unfortunately, Maurizio Vitale died at a young age, and seven years later, in 1994, Marco Boglione took over the company.

Boglione created an entirely new business model based on several licensee companies located all over the world that are connected to each other and to the parent company via the Internet. The individual companies produce and sell under licence the collections designed and industrialised by BasicNet. In the meantime, the company has taken over several historical Italian and other brands, including Kappa, Kway, Superga, Sebago, Jesus, and Briko.

An internationally oriented company

BasicNet’s partners then sell and buy through its proprietary platform, which works as an actual clothing marketplace where manufacturers and distributors meet while BasicNet takes care of all the activities and operations necessary to increase the value of its brands. Naturally inclined to act internationally, this business model allows BasicNet to operate in 140 markets through a network of companies which, under licence, produce or distribute the products. BasicNet has been listed on the Milan Stock Exchange since 1999.

Discover more Made in Italy outstanding companies from Piedmont.