Labam, Cherishing fashion as art

LABAM (Lavorazione Artistica Bottoni Alta Moda/ Artisctic processing for high fashion buttons), a historic company founded in Parma in 1949, is synonymous with excellence, elegance, harmony, history and authenticity in the resin fashion accessories’ sector. The significant experience of its founder in the micromechanics sector were fundamental to be able to build and modify the first machinery and equipment suitable for processing resins. Looking to the future with many novelties, Labam gives life and substance to creative ideas.

LABAM (Lavorazione Artistica Bottoni Alta Moda/ Artisctic processing for high fashion buttons), a historic company founded in Parma in 1949, is synonymous with excellence, elegance, harmony, history and authenticity in the resin fashion accessories’ sector.
The significant experience of its founder in the micromechanics sector were fundamental to be able to build and modify the first machinery and equipment suitable for processing resins. Looking to the future with many novelties, Labam gives life and substance to creative ideas.

LABAM celebrated seventy years of activity in 2019. How was the company born and how has it evolved over time?
LABAM was born as a button factory in the very early post-war period. Italy was starting restoration and everything was difficult to find; the first small “Plexiglas plates” for the LABAM buttons’ production were obtained from the canoby of decommissioned military aircrafts and war remnants. The first sample was made with rudimentary tools: we were not yet in possession of the necessary equipment, but we had big will and huge imagination. Thus, the first artistic buttons were born; from there we began to expand the commercial market throughout Italy and then expanded abroad by creating an effective distribution network. From buttons we moved on to the production of bijoux, and then to leather goods and finally we fully covered the whole fashion sector.
Components for leather goods, footwear, but also for bags and swimwear are all included in the LABAM catalog; which one would you define your “flagship item”?
It is difficult to answer this question, it has been asked to us several times with great curiosity.
Currently, the production focuses on over thirty thousand items and it is even gradually increasing.
We do not have a real “top item”: we are asked for many articles for leather goods in general, but also for all other sectors including entirely customized projects made ad hoc on customers’ ideas. If we really want to identify the most desired items, they are our Plexiglas Chains, as historically LABAM was the first company to produce them and consequently we have a wide sample collection; in fact, many historical customers have contacted us and still remember us thanks to the variety of chains introduced 50 years ago in the main international fairs.
Iconic models that have marked history have even exhibited at the MoMA in New York, a source of inspiration for designers and stylists from all over the world: what is the secret of this success?
In all these years we have always devoted our passion to work and made the most of everyone’s contribution. This total dedication to the product, combined with the huge experience and great creativity that have always characterized us, has allowed us to create items that have simply impressed people: hence the request to exhibit our iconic chain item 29382 at MoMa.
LABAM “Bijoux”, a style and glamor icon recognized all over the world. What would you like to tell us about it?
In the fifties we made small components from small parts with various artistic forms and subsequently models of necklaces and rings. In those years the women’s market was upset by the introduction of the bikini and women began to show off much more bold bijouterie.
Compared to the more classic jewelry accessory available on the market, i.e. classic two-strand necklaces, necklaces with pearls and rosary style, made of materials such as glass and ceramic, our products were a real novelty.
There were many galvanized bijouterie recalling the more expensive gold; we produced this type of accessories too, but we also worked a lot on colors, on particular shapes of every component and on originality.
The further improvement took place in the 1960s: Italian products were the most requested, the industry produced a huge variety of items in large quantities: it was the perfect scenario to relate with other markets without problems of any kind.
The last 15 months have represented a real challenge for the world’s economy and hardly hit the fashion sector. How did you face the health emergency and what are your prospects for the future?
This crisis caused by the pandemic has destabilized the world’s market and our sector has been hit mostly.
Especially the first few months were really difficult characterized by big uncertainty regarding new restrictions and changes in the months to come.
We have put the health of all our employees, customers and suppliers at the first place, keeping our projects under control with the utmost attention.
During this period, we met many suppliers who were used to visit us and they reported a very bad markets’ crisis. Therefore, we decided to implement the research to design new attractive accessories to introduce as soon as the sector it will return as vigorous as in the pre-Covid period.
We took advantage of calm months: a “forced slowdown” due to Covid restrictions stimulated our investment in the plant by carrying out renovation works in two of our warehouses. Furthermore, we implemented the general organization and development of the technical office.
Despite the fluctuations of the re-start, we continue to work with our usual customers and also achieve new ones; we always keep their difficulties in consideration, like limited opening hours of their stores and frequent shutdowns. Almost the whole world is involved in this situation. We believe we have to wait a few more months before having a definitive release of the general situation.

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