His employees, who include most of the 500 inhabitants of the sunkissed maze of streets, as well as families in nearby villages, earn higher than average wages. They do not clock in and out. Work ends promptly at 6pm. Lunch is three courses daily for €2.80 – including wine and olive oil from Mr Cucinelli’s groves – cooked by those workers who are not in the workrooms using magnifying glasses to sew buttons or stitch on lapels.
“In order for people to want to stay and work with me and build their skills, they have to be offered something more,” Mr Cucinelli says.
Mr Cucinelli says he believes consumers will want more than that. “If you buy a sweater for €1,000 and you know that the funds you are paying are also going to help to build a hospital and a school, wouldn’t you think better about it? If I know a product is made well I will buy. I don’t want to buy something that has harmed anyone, this is my absolutely strongest belief, and I believe other people think this too. Or if they don’t now, they will”.