In the first part of XVIII Century, a sheep-farming family left Maggia Valley in Switzerland to settle in Pettinengo, Piedmont. Since in Piedmont they used to call families with the name of their birth places, these Swiss people became ‘Maggia’. Around 1830 the first knitting handlooms began to spread out of France and Francesco Maggia decided to buy two of them. After a few years, Francesco’s son, Eusebio, began to work with his father, founding the business ‘Francesco Maggia and Son’.
After Eusebio’s death, Francesco took over the family business. Even though he was only 13 years-old at the time, he showed great entrepreneurial spirit by solving the lack of engine power in his factory by buying a steam engine machine from Switzerland. This transpired to turn out to be the first steam engine machine set-up in the famous textile centre of Biella. In 1916 Francesco purchased a large factory in Occhieppo Superiore and this remains the home of Maggia today.
After the war, under the lead of Cornelio Maggia, the company went on the traditional route of production of underwear, especially in cotton fleece. Innovation has always been playing an important role in Maglificio Maggia - it was one of the first Italian companies, for instance to produce fabrics made of three different yarns.
In 1976 the company began to invest in sport sponsorship with its association with famous players of the time such John Newcombe, and Vitas Gerulaitis, and started to direct the production towards fashion items, creating and distributing sport and underwear lines in partnership with Enrico Coveri.
In the early 1990s, Maggia retrenched, moving away from garment production to producing textiles. Today, Umberto Maggia, son of Cornelio, produces fabrics that are sold to many of the most prestigious fashion brands in Italy and across the world. The continuity of the family business is guaranteed by Umberto’s son, Ludovico, and daughter, Giovanna, who joined the company in recent years; this is the 9th generation of Maggia active in textile industry in the district of Biella.
Maggia in Tennis
In the early 1970s Fila and Cerruti started to invest in sports sponsorship. Given that Maglificio Maggia had a fantastic facility, and was able to manage the production from yarn to finished product, Umberto decided to join the party, and started to produce sports garments for tennis. Mr. Carretti (who devised the Fila logo) designed the fabulous Maggia logo, and an iconic sports’ brand was born: truly the ‘Ferrari of Tennis’.
In the late seventies and early eighties John Newcome, Billy Jean King and Vitas Gerulaitis were all contracted to Maggia. Wonderful players all, with over 50 grand slam titles between them, their personalities transcended their sport. Billy Jean, a pioneer fighter for social justice and equality, Vitas, the archetypal playboy sportsman, often to be found at Studio 54 at 2.00 am the day before a US Open match and Newcombe, owner of arguably the most famous moustache of all time. Collectively, they symbolised the passion and uniqueness of Maggia, as well as its history and flair.
Economic circumstances caused Maggia to move away from garment production in the early nineties, and to focus on producing the highest quality textiles. Today, Maggia invest hugely in R&D and technology, their goal, always to trying to develop the “perfect” fabric.
Maggia and Golden Age of Tennis
Umberto is still a force within the business, but his son and daughter drive the business today. They are Italian, passionate, fashion fans, tennis fans. They wanted to work with a company that shared their passion, that would ensure that their famous logo was again seen on tennis courts across the world, and on beautiful clothing that could be worn beyond the court and showcase their fabulous textiles and quality. Golden Age of Tennis is thrilled that Maggia have chosen us to be their partner.
Over the weekend before Wimbledon we will be launching our first range of clothing, at a private tennis event in the glorious countryside of the Royal County of Berkshire. Greats from the golden age, such as Roscoe Tanner, John Lloyd, Chris Lewis and Lisa Bonder will be competing over two days with the best up and coming talent from the Oratory School, one of England’s most prestigious private schools. The venue is the ancient walled garden of the Oratory School, home to six of the most beautiful grass courts you will ever see. It is a fitting setting for the rebirth of a legend.