Fase Uno, elegance Made in Apulia
About Fase Uno
Fase Uno Srl, based in Putignano, Apulia, specialises in the production and marketing – both on its own behalf and of third parties – of elegant and formal clothing in small sizes, for ages from the first months up to 14 years. For each processing phase, the creation of the garments is entirely concentrated in the Apulian district.
Today, the company is under the guidance of the founders’ son, Francesco Sbiroli – who is also the company’s co-owner, together with his wife, Patrizia Loliva – its history has its roots in the small workshop established in 1959 by the spouses Pietro and Orestina. Relying on an in-house staff made up of 25 highly specialised employees, a network of 80 ancillary employees in the allied insustries and state-of-the-art facilities, Fase Uno is able to follow all the phases of the production process, from the creation of the models up to the delivery of the finished garments. Due to its specific manufacturing expertise of sartorial imprint, it has been chosen over the years by prestigious companies such as Gucci, Mariella Burani, Carlo Pignatelli and Stella McCartney as a production partner for their under-14 lines.
Currently, in addition to the corporate brand ValMax, Fase Uno is also active on the international markets as a licensee of the MiMiSol brand and as a productive partner of Young Versace. Thanks to its two showrooms in Milan and New York and to a direct sales network, it serves the entire national territory as well as reaching the global markets. There are over 100 sales points for the distribution of the ValMax and MiMiSol collections, including multi-brand boutiques, department stores and 9 MiMiSol flagships located in Milan, Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Baku, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh and Kuwait.
In 2018, Fase Uno achieved a turnover of around 5 million euros, 80% of which was achieved abroad and the remaining 20% in Italy. The United States, the Arab countries, Russia and Southeast Asia represent the markets in which the presence of the company is more incisive.
A little bit of history
What Pietro and Orestina Sbiroli opened in Putignano (in the province of Bari) back in 1959 was just a small workshop specialising in the production of bridal dresses and elegant clothing proposals for bridesmaids and pages. Orestina was a skilled seamstress in whose household workshop she soon needed to have recourse to the help of a collaborator in order to cope with the steadily growing number of orders, a success that in 1966 lead her to transfer the business to a more suitable location, the new company premises covering an area of 4000 sqm, where she worked hardly with the aid of about forty more artisans. This huge couture house was named Val & Max and went on producing on behalf of specialised formal clothing stores, as well as for a self-owned atelier mainly dedicated to wedding dresses.
The 70s marked the opening to foreign markets – representing, still today, the company’s main vocation – favoured by its participation in the main international trade fairs, from Pitti Bimbo to the Salon de la Mode Enfantine in Paris, where Val & Max presents an increasingly extensive sample
collection for the children’s branch. The encouraging response of the market and the constantly growing production led the Putignano-based company take a further step forward, so much so that in the 1980s it boasted a workforce of 180 employees and in the 1990s moved its business to its current headquarters, covering an area of 8000 sqm, eventually changing its the name to Manifatture Vu Emme.
Fase Uno srl was established in 2008, reducing the bridal dress production and focusing its business on children’s clothing. Starting from 2010, it inaugurated its production for private labels, while in 2017 it acquired the licence of the MiMiSol brand, of which this year it has also begun to deal with the style direction.
The guarantee of high quality standards of the finished product represents the founding value of the company, which operates with a synergistic approach that involves the use of advanced machinery such as CAD and automatic cutting combined with models drawn on paper, cutting made with scissors and embroideries still made by hand. An approach that originates from the company’s strong sartorial background, allowing it a high rate of flexibility and customisation in the management of each single collection.
The brand, now owned by the company MM Capital Ag, property of the Swiss investor with Italian origins Michele Martucci, was born in 2011 from an idea of Imelde Bronzieri, a well-known fashion designer with a long history at I Pinco Pallino. Fase Uno has been the licensee of the brand since 2017, at first only as regards the production and marketing of the clothing collections, while from 2019 it also took on direct responsibility for the Style Department, whose direction was entrusted to the fashion designer Umberto Consiglio.
The first collection designed by Umberto Consiglio – officially presented at Pitti Bimbo and dedicated to the summer season 2020 – consolidated the elegant Girl Junior proposal where, next to the formal outfits, everyday outfits too, characterised by greater use of prints and cotton fabric, finally made its entry. In addition to the proposals addressed to ladies, the range also includes a Boy Junior collection, specially designed for children aged 4 to 12, with over 80 pieces designed to interpret a boy who pays attention to fashion trends, though with irony and dandy accents.
Finally, the Nursery line, dedicated to new-born babies aged 6 to 18 months, becomes wider and more coordinated. It proposes the themes of the older brothers to boys and girls and is complete with all the related accessories: bibs, caps and baby shoes. Its leitmotiv is sparkling and joyful, according the pure Mimisol style.
The company brand designed by Patrizia Loliva – co-owner and manager of the creative department of Fase Uno – has a 100% female DNA, recently reasserted by the great return to Pitti Bimbo on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the brand. Since 1959, Valmax has been dressing babies and girls aged 2 to 16 with formal dresses of sophisticated and contemporary elegance, whose ultimate strength lies in the research applied to cuts and fabrics, never predictable in their lines and colour palette.
Francesco Sbiroli, CEO of Fase Uno Srl
Born in Putignano, in the province of Bari, where he began and developed the entrepreneurial activity he currently runs, Francesco Sbiroli gained his experience working in the family business, starting from the beginning of the 90s. At first manager in charge of the finished products warehouse, he soon moved on to deal with the Italian and foreign sales department before becoming responsible for some collections and productions. Today, he holds the function of managing director, with direct management of the sales department, the administrative department and the foreign productions department.
Umberto Consiglio, Style Manager of MiMiSol
Born in Porto Empedocle, in the province of Agrigento, in 1971, Umberto Consiglio graduated in Fashion Design from the European Institute of Design in Milan. With skills that cover all phases of the creative process – ranging from mood development to presentation of collections to the sales network – his curriculum includes collaborations with important brands in the industry, such as D&G Junior, Young Versace and I Pinco Pallino.
From 2019, he has been responsible for the style of MiMiSol: the debut collection with this brand is the Spring-Summer 2020, presented at Pitti Bimbo together with the Sparkling capsule, a special collection Made in Italy of four hand-embroidered garments made with Swarovski crystals.
Patrizia Loliva, Style Department manager of Fase Uno
Style department manager of Phase Uno and creative director of ValMax, the corporate brand of Fase Uno, Patrizia Loliva can boast a model design training completed by a master’s degree in Fashion Design obtained from the Marangoni Institute in Milan. After completing her studies, she moved to London, where she let herself be inspired by the local fashion and art trends.
When she returned to Apulia, her region of origin, she perfected himself in the construction of the outerwear, but above all in the art of embroidery, learning ancient and new techniques, specialising in particular in the use of pearls and stones. At this point, she was ready to start collaborating with the family company, which produces embroidery machines.
Her encounter with Francesco took place in 1997, a personal and professional encounter that gave birth to the Mika Vero Collection, a teenagers’ line that in 2009 merged with the ValMax brand. Research on model design and fabrics, often hand-painted, has always been the distinctive feature of this fashion designer’s work.
Fase Uno srl
Registered Office: Putignano (BA)
Turnover for 2018: approximately € 5 million (company’s total figures)
Turnover composition: 80% export; 20% Italy
ValMax brand portfolio (owned), MiMiSol (under licence)
Showroom: Milan and New York
Flagship store: 9 MiMiSol trademarks