The Kiton website says their philosophy is simple: work hard to achieve perfection, and if you can’t, start over again.
This epitomizes the company’s business model, which is built on the concept of providing the absolute highest quality product with a personalized experience, enabling customers to showcase their personal style. The motto of the company is “The Best of the Best +1” and the name Kiton is actually a play on the word “chitone,” which was a special garment worn by Greek aristocrats, and was “a symbol of classicism, quality, and social distinction.
Quality thru sourcing and production
Kiton believes that quality begins before the suit is ever cut and sewn. It begins with the sourcing of the raw materials, which is why they go to such great length to acquire the best fiber in the world.
One example is the cashmere used in Kiton’s suits, pants, and sweaters. For goat hair to be considered chasmere, it must be 19 microns, or less, in thickness, and come from the belly of a specific goat. Cashmere’s quality is based on the uniformity, cleanliness, and length of the fibers harvested. Kiton only sources their cashmere from Scotland and England at specific farms, and only from baby Mongolian goats. Additionally, they only use cashmere fibers 14 microns or thinner, which is considered to be at the highest end of quality.
Once the fiber is acquired, it put be weaved at textile mills into cloth. Kiton purchased its own textile mill, the Carlo Barbera mill, in order to vertically integrate their operations and ensure that their standard for quality was met throughout the entire process of production. Once the bolts of fabric are made, with the patterns prescribed by the creative designers at Kiton, they are then sent to the factory to be turned into clothes.
Quality thru expertise
Aligning with custom designs and personalized garments, the factory at Kiton contains almost no machines. Kiton exclusively employs master tailors, who by definition are capable of building an entire suit from scratch. Each suit is sewn by hand by the master tailors according to the precise measurements of the customer, and each tailor is responsible for the quality of his or her work – there are no quality inspectors, just the word of the tailors that the garment is complete and correct.
Clearly this system requires the highly skilled tailors to ensure quality, which is why Kiton founded a tailoring school that accepts 12 new students each year. The apprentices complete two years of training, free of charge, and then up to 40% are offered positions at Kiton, and the rest may seek employment at other companies. The school was created after the CEO realized that the average age of his employees was 55, and since the creation of the program it has dropped to 36. This system ensures that skills are maintained and that there will always be a steady supply of talent to create and build the best clothes in the world.
Long Lasting Personal Relationships
A final part of Kiton’s operating model is matching the superior quality with an unrivaled customer service experience. Kiton will travel to the office or home of any customer to complete a fitting, and will alter a custom made garment, free of charge, for life. So as a client may gain weight, he can always have his suit altered to fit his changing body type at any time. Kiton also offers any client who happens to be in Italy the opportunity to tour the factory and see the production floors where their clothes have been made, adding yet another personal touch.
Interview with Peter Davis, General Manager Kiton New York. 6 August 2015