October 4, 2023


We Bring Good Things to Life

Functionality Beyond Aesthetic Sustainability,70 Years Of Made-In-Italy Craftsmanship


On any given day in 2020, most people would question what are the most pressing problems in the world today. Although I pride myself in taking the positive path in life these days, I can’t help but be concerned for the demand of freshwater and fresh air. At this juncture, environmental problems are showing their face across the globe.

For example, in the fashion industry alone, brands have a choice to become part of the problem or part of the solution. I would like to think that 100 percent of the brands out there are willing to take part in the current issues in ways that one would expect. Yet, ethical, sustainable apparel has one issue that the industry cannot overlook; cost. The cost to produce fast fashion (that is destroying our planet) is much less expensive. CEO’s and shareholder’s alike look at the bottom line.

Meanwhile, consumers have grown more and more victorious with respect to the battle of sustainability. At present, consumers are taking the time to learn about ethical and sustainable properties of their clothing —hoping to improve conditions for themselves, their families, or their communities. This happens to be an extremely accessible direction for the average person to affect change with a positive outcome.

For the last 10 years, I have been following an Italian sustainable brand that has, in my opinion, set the standards for apparel manufacturing in an ethical manner. Founded in Lesa in 1948, at the mouth of the Erno river that flows shortly thereafter into Lake Maggiore, Herno has represented the excellence of Made in Italy for 70 years: from the first raincoats of the early post-war period to its more extensive current collection, the brand is synonymous with urban outerwear.

However, I feel, it is under the guidance of Claudio Marenzi, from 2005, that marked a turning point in terms of international growth. Mr Marenzi, launched a campaign to raise awareness through continuous investment in research, technology and eco-sustainability projects such as the only study and corresponding production of Europe’s first P.E.F. garment – all the while maintaining the perfect amount of sartorial tradition.

With almost 70{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} of its revenue generated by foreign markets, turnover of 113,3 million euros, profitability of around 14{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99}, 200 jobs in the Lesa branch and 800 jobs in the double-cashmere production branch in Sicily, Herno is at the forefront of increasingly high-performance fabrics. In a word, the brand has created a dialogue between Italian apparel brands and technically advanced textile research. All this good thanks goes to Claudio Marenzi and his relentless determination to renew production processes.


Herno was founded by Giuseppe Marenzi and his wife Alessandra Diana. It was immediately after the war and Giuseppe, who found himself unemployed after several years working for aircraft- producer Siai-Marchetti during the Second World War, applied for a new job at a raincoat company. He was hired, as waterproofing cotton required castor oil, the same liquid used as fuel in military planes. From that job to the founding of his own company was not for off, as Lake Maggiore’s extremely humid and wet climate calls for well-made raincoats.

In a sense, Herno was founded, at the crossroads between opportunity and resourcefulness. The story comes from the waters of Lake Maggiore and the river Erno, which flows near the company hence its name.

In 2005, with the business in need of a new direction, Claudio drove the change that the company underwent in the 2000s. The strategic change would lead to an increase focus on the transformation of machinery, bringing about important innovations that led to the most revolutionary breakthrough: a change in Herno’s production processes. This strategy led to a new business vision, while motivating young talent and creating a simple and efficient company along with a fresh business model. In short, Herno outerwear is made for the modern consumer who is seeking emblematic craftsmanship and sleek taste.

While Herno’s production is founded on products of their Italian character, its fundamental philosophy is based on ethics.

The company’s buildings are camouflaged by greenery, in harmony with the surrounding landscape, respecting the mountains and overall landscape. The brand invested in solar panels and the purchase of low-consumption machinery. The technical innovation and modernized operating systems are actions that also aim to increase awareness procedures which improves both the working environment and the job at hand.

I recently had the chance to speak with Claudio Marenzi President and CEO of Herno about why cohesion between ecological commitment and style is increasingly feasible, why the geographical location-headquarters is so important to the brand and why until this day, his motto is “functionality beyond aesthetic!

Joseph DeAcetis: Herno is a 70 + year old company still headquartered in Lesa, Italy on Lago Maggiore. What is it about this location that is so important to you and the brand?

Claudio Marenzi: From more than 70 years the attention for the territory and the lake, is innate in our ordinary life. Its importance starts from our name, in fact Erno is the river that runs beside our Company. My father Giuseppe, decides to put an H at the beginning as a tribute to H2O, the beloved element which has a strict link to the territory and to our history since we started in 1948 producing raincoats that fit perfectly for the rainy climate of Lake Maggiore. Growing up, our house was nearby and as a young boy I remember playing in and riding my bicycle around the factory. Thru the years I renovate the structure of the Company but my aim has always been doing it respecting the area around in fact we cover with vertical green the buildings in order to camouflage them with the surrounding.

Herno is forever linked to this region and for me, being surrounded by the lake, river and mountains, gives me a sense of calm.

Joseph DeAcetis: Herno is a brand that flies under the radar and has a cool factor within the luxury segment. In your words, What do you attribute that to?

Claudio Marenzi: Quality and research are the key words. We have a 70 + year of know-how and expertise that are combined with a continue research in new technologies that year after year give life to new surprising projects. Moreover, there is an inherent lightness and thoughtful attention to detail.  We let the quality and craftmanship speak for itself and don’t have to rely on logos to promote the Brand. No other imagery is necessary. This allows the consumer to focus on the garment.

Joseph DeAcetis: Herno has long combined exquisite luxury fabrics with outstanding technical innovation. How does that mix differentiate your product while benefiting the consumer?

Claudio Marenzi: Our values are reflected on our motto “functionality beyond aesthetic”.

When we create a garment, we thought for what purpose it will be used and we work in order to obtain the best performance. The customer can trust that our many years of experience, passion for excellence and research into high-performance materials will result in a coat like no other. We employ skilled artisans who are proudly committed to keeping classic Made-in-Italy craftsmanship alive and to combine it with high performance technologies and fabrics. 

Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, what are the highlights from Fall/Winter 2020/21  that best embody and showcase the fabric technology?

Claudio Marenzi: Herno Laminar Sartorial Engineering for men and Herno Laminar Couture Engineering for women perfectly illustrate our ability to change the DNA of a classical fabric by combining it with technology and create something altogether new.  The men’s collection features classic fabrications like wool pinstripe and cotton corduroy combined with 2Layers and 3Layers membranes that make the coat waterproof, windproof, breathable – more performance oriented.   

The women’s collection combines functionality with contemporary style. Wool coats are paired with waterproof inner membranes.  Jacquard patterns and semi-gloss rip-stop nylon provide all-weather protection. We’ve also created knit fabrics that keep the body temperature constant while protecting against the rain using Gore-Tex technology.

Detachable hoods and thermo-taped seams add to foul weather protection while removable linings allow the customer to wear the garment throughout the year.

Joseph DeAcetis: You’re very passionate about creating sustainable outerwear and not just because it’s an important issue today. How do you integrate sustainable product within the collection and what are the long-term goals for Herno?

Claudio Marenzi: With the new label HERNO GLOBE we collected all the “Green” projects of Herno. It uses all the technology we have already invested in 2016 with PEF and enrich with different proposals of green garment the Main collection of Herno, in fact today on the market we can finally find very beautiful eco-sustainable fabrics, therefore the cohesion between ecological commitment and style is increasingly feasible.

Practically, the label Herno Globe comes to life with the SS 2020 collection and in the AW 2020-21 season the project will be four.

Concerning the long terms goals as President of Herno, I believe that sustainability is a cultural project, raising awareness at a company and personal level; it’s about me and it’s about my employees, both as individuals and as part of a group. Because it is from every single conscience that starts the respect necessary to make sustainability a powerful and achievable project.

Above all I don’t want to restrict the projects of sustainability to a mere declaration of aims – it’s necessary to avoid “speaking” of sustainability for a pure media purpose – but rather to act and evolve the industrial processes describing the product in a clear way, bringing the company, the employees and the final consumer to the awareness of environmental issues.