A conversation with ... francesco marino

The Bespoke Dudes Francesco Marino

30 Agosto 2014 by Fabio Attanasio

A workshop in San Giorgio a Cremano, “homeland to the ties”, as Francesco Marino says. Cassandra srl – this is the name of the company since 2000 – is managed by Francesco and his son Patrick and produces ties for the biggest Italian and foreign brands with the expertise of 68 years of history and a tangible passion for the craft. Francesco is a cheerful and charismatic man, willing to tell his story, made up of trips to America, achievements, failures and new beginnings: he has lived in New Jersey, working for Randa Nequer, a famous tie producer from New York, then decided to get back to Italy. “I bought two machineries to make ties, a LIB and an MF, this is how I started my own production” – he says. He faced some troubles for alleged unfair dismissals, so his company, whose name was Marfer (from his father’s name Marino Ferdinando, Ed), rises again with the name Cassandra, his daughter’s name. 

Seven employees work in this small and busy factory silently producing ties that can be found in the  biggest multibrands all over the world. On the ground floor of a building, without any kind of sign to suggest it, they make ties out of a huge variety of fabrics such as twill, crepe de chine, denim and cotton. I am shown their stockroom filled with “pezze” (36 meters of the same kind of fabric, Ed): fabrics with old patterns – never call them “vintage” when Francesco is present – and unique colours. “The skill of an artisan lies just in his ability to decide the amount of canvas to be used inside a tie, according to the fabric” – says Marino, who now settled down in S. Giorgio. “I won’t move from this place; here I have the sea, my life, everything” – says like a tired soldier and – alluding to the involution of the market – sarcastically adds: “Once if you wanted half of a pezza, you had to pay an extra charge; today suppliers thank you even if you buy few meters”. 

Bespoke hugs, Fabio