Behind the brand

Meet our denim supplier

While we do not own the production facilities where our garments are made, we carry the responsibility in close collaboration with our suppliers to ensure that all our products are manufactured in a fair, safe and ethical way.

Good relations are important to us, and we believe that trust and product innovation are developed over years of collaborating. We therefore have long-time and close relations with many of our suppliers and visit them regularly to discuss possibilities for optimizing a responsible business regarding new production methods, packaging, or the use of organic cotton in our products. All our suppliers are required to sign our Code of Conduct and thereby work towards alignment with the internationally recognized principles for sustainable development.

NPM s.r.l. is our trusted denim supplier with whom we have worked since the very beginning of Blue de Gênes. In this supplier portrait we would like you to meet Maurizio Rigato, CEO of the family-owned company NPM s.r.l who our founder, Ole Madsen, has known and been working together with for almost 30 years.


Maurizio Rigato, CEO of the family-owned company NPM who our founder, Ole Madsen, has known and been working together with for almost 30 years.

"Being son of a tailor, I guess you can say that I was born into the industry. I wanted to study electronics, but my father left me with no choice than to take over the family business."


Maurizio, how did you get involved in fashion?

"As the son of a tailor, I guess you can say that I was born into the industry. I wanted to study electronics, but my father left me with no choice than to take over the family business. At an early age I started to help my father who had started a small workshop with 2-3 sewing machines in a spare room of our house. It was the beginning of the 1970’ies where big American denim brands started producing heavy duty garments in Italy. It wasn’t fashion at the time, it was denim jackets that could be produced to stock and sold from there....


Maurizio with his team.

....A crazy local entrepreneur tried to convince my father to set up a big production company – he did not succeed at first, but he planted a seed in my father. My father’s love for the product, the development and production however led him to opening his own factory. It was exciting at the time since we had to invent new machinery. Creating new machines that could perform actions that normally would take two machines – that was very intriguing. With local blacksmiths we invented machines that optimized the production line. I remember we asked Ole to bring a Lolita Doll from Copenhagen at some time since we wanted to create a machine that we could put on jeans for applying the vintage details. Ole wasn’t fond of the idea to go into a shop where you could buy such dolls, but he did bring one on his next trip to Italy. We inflated it, put on a pair of jeans and used some sandpaper tools to make the denim look worn. Within five minutes the doll was deflated, but we had an idea of how we would build a machine, we could use for the future."


What happened from there?

"The brand for which we were producing had a shift in management and suddenly, the focus wasn’t the love for the product but instead they focused on numbers. We were suddenly a big producer with only one big client and with small margins on the product the large turnover only led to larger worries. At the time our client wanted to implement SAP as a solution to something that had worked for years. SAP could “suggest” what we needed to order and when. We had fabrics coming in from South Carolina, buttons from Germany, care labels from Belgium and when SAP was implemented, everything fell apart since deliveries didn’t come in time. We had 60 employers waiting for materials. We could send a fax and receive an answer 3 days later. We had to sign terms of delivery that was impossible to fulfill and at the same time denim was on a downfall. It just didn’t make sense anymore. We therefore took in new clients and eventually sold off the sewing line since it became harder and harder to recruit workers and at the same time it was hard to have a steady amount of work, since we no longer produced to stock...


…So today we do not have a sewing line and instead work with small satellite groups, that are flexible and can turn up and down for production as demand goes up and down. We have specialized in product development, research and can focus on making the best products instead of the most products. As a craftsman this way of working is much more fulfilling.”

How many employees are you now?

"Today we are four employees, one of them being my sister and then Laura who has been with us for more than twenty years. We are a small “family” and relations are much more important to us than anything else. The same thing applies with the other hubs that we are working with in the line of production activities. We love problem solving, being creative, working with our hearts instead of Excel. Some things are not rational and working with denim is much more about heart and craftsmanship than it is about numbers."


How has the increased focus on ethical production in the fashion industry influenced your company and business?

"The increased focus really hasn’t changed that much for us since we have had strict regulations for as long as I remember. The UNESCO World Heritage property comprises the city of Venice and its lagoon here in the Veneto Region and since 1973 the Special Law for Venice has aimed to guarantee the protection of the socio-economic livelihood...

The process of making a pair of jeans.jpg__PID:1a0302d9-19a6-4090-9f41-1a12f086c3c0

...In this area of Italy, we are raised with great respect for the lagoon and for generations, it has been of great importance to protect it. All the rivers in the area flow out in the lagoon, so all production companies are highly controlled. The laundries that we collaborate with are no exception. On a weekly basis the laundries are audited by different official organs like the Carabinieri and the Venice Water Authority. The consequences of not living up to regulations are prompt and strong with fines and ultimately production stops until everything is in order. We are way ahead of other countries regarding clean production and for us it is just a natural part of doing business...


...When I read about jeans production requiring so and so much water, it provokes me since we do not take water out of nature. The water we use in production is cleansed, filtered, and let out drinkable – the residue of the cleaning process is even used as fertilizer. We don’t use water – it goes back from where we took it.

But overall, I am happy that things are changing on a global scale. Consumers are becoming more aware, that is a positive change and a must in the market. But as a jeans manufacturer we have been following rules for clean and ethical production more than thirty years."


Our founder Ole, Lara from NPM, Henriette our designer & Maurizio.