The Borsalino is a clothing company in Alessandria, which is responsible for the invention of a type of felt hat that par excellence took the name of borsalino. Giuseppe Borsalino, called "u siur Pipen", was born in Alessandria in 1834. After an experience as an apprentice and then apprentice in his city, he worked for about seven years in the Berteil hat factory in Rue du Temple in Paris, obtaining the status of Master Hatter . One year after his return to Italy, Giuseppe opened his first workshop in a courtyard on Via Schiavina in Alessandria together with his brother Lazzaro. It is the beginning of a story that will live great successes and immense satisfactions.
The production began on 4 April 1857 when Giuseppe Borsalino took over and later expanded to a large and renowned industry, a hat factory that reached the considerable level of 750,000 pieces per year produced at the beginning of the new century, expanding to over 2,000,000 at the eve of the First World War. The manufacturing plant reached over 2,500 employees, representing a significant resource in the economy of the Piedmontese city.
The production of quality hats required exclusive use of rabbit fur felt. This led to a positive fallout in the rural economy of a large region that saw the emergence of domestic farms, usually entrusted to women and children.
Giuseppe realizes that the decisive moment has come for the industrial turning point: thanks to the English experience, the master decides to import those machines that in Denton, Stockport and in the suburbs of Manchester had revolutionized the craft of hat makers. In 1897 the master visited the Battersby hat factory in London and the legend says that "without being seen he dips his handkerchief in the tank of 'tarrying': thus brings to Italy the English secret for the manufacture of the perfect bowls". The quality of Borsalino products easily transforms the dream of a small artisan workshop into a real industry.
Soon even abroad, the brand spread everywhere, conquering wide markets. From the purely British and traditional London City, with the Borsalino bombs, up to compete with the John B. Stetson Company for American headgear at the beginning of the last century, not forgetting the markets that could be defined as minors.
Its downsizing took place concomitantly with the beginning of the disuse of headgear, the production was moved to a new location outside the city but continues to the present day. At the height of the crisis period, the historic Cento Cannoni plant in Alessandria was sold, which is currently home to the humanities faculties.
The entrepreneurial dynasty of the Borsalino also contributed to the construction of important works for the city of Alessandria such as the aqueduct and the sewage system, the civil hospital, the sanatorium and the nursing home.
In spring 2006 a specific museum was inaugurated for the express initiative of the Municipality of Alessandria and Borsalino S.p.A. to remember the various historical phases that have characterized the Borsalino hat industry. The Museum, which extends over an exhibition area of 400 m², hosts about two thousand hats - chosen from the over four thousand of the collection - exhibited in the historic Chippendale style wardrobes, created in the Twenties by Arnaldo Gardella for the factory's Sala Campioni.
Today Borsalino boasts ten single-brand stores in Italy and one in Paris as well as being present in the most elegant boutiques and the best department stores in the world: Bergdorf & Goodman, Barney's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Harrod's, Selfridges, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Bon Marché, Isetan, Imaru just to name a few. Famous celebrities and celebrities of the likes of Johnny Depp, Leonardo Di Caprio, Denzel Washington, Justin Timberlake, Kate Moss, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Campbell, John Malkovich are immortalized wearing the living legend embodied by the unique style of the most prestigious hats brand in the world .