After a stop at the newest Assos showroom and retail store, the “manga.Yio” on the lake in downtown Lugano, we drove a few minutes up the road to the company’s home location. It’s a collection of three small buildings on the edge of a quiet neighborhood framed by vineyards. One of the buildings is actually the former home of Assos founder Tony Maier. In the early days, he and his wife ran the business from their home. As it grew, he added nearby space. But the headquarters still has the tranquil feel of a residence rather than a corporation.
A majority of Assos clothing production takes place in Slovenia and Bulgaria. Just a few years ago, a shop in Italy built some of the FI.13 shorts, but it’s no longer used by Assos. However, everything passes through Lugano, from raw materials to finished product. Even zipper pulls for the jerseys are ordered from Lugano, delivered to a warehouse here, and then re-shipped to the jersey shop in Slovenia. The goal is to keep close tabs on inventory, quality control, and avoid the potential for counterfeit and grey market product.
Here in Lugano, the company builds prototypes, special pieces (like national team kits for the upcoming World Championships) and performs pilot production on new clothing. Testing and quality control of finished pieces is also the responsibility of Lugano workers. Finally, all finished clothing from the off-site production is shipped and warehoused at a building just a few minutes from company headquarters.
Enjoy the photos.
These finished boxes of shorts are ready for delivery.
Finished clothing is assembled with tags then folded and boxed.
Every peice gets an Assos logo stamped into place.
In a room above the sewing stations, the final touches are put in place.
After the pad is sewn into place, it's checked for location on the shorts and also stitch quality.
The photo doesn't convey just how quickly this seamstress stitched the pad precisely into place.
Sewing the chamois pad into place.
Chamois placement in the shorts is critical and it's measured and marked every time.
Literally in just a few weeks time, Swiss riders will take the start at the World Championships wearing Assos outfits made today.
Once again, old fashioned sewing methods are still the ticket to perfect fit.
The view from the sewing room isn't bad at all.
When we visited, seamstresses worked on team kits for the upcoming World Championships.
Upstairs, the fabric is sewn into what looks more like cycling clothing.
This isn't where every piece of Assos clothing fabric is cut. Just special projects, limited edition, and early prototyping or test production.
Rows and rows of these patterns dictate the size and shape of clothing cuts.
Down in the basement of the prototype and special projects shop, fabric is cut by hand.
This giant iron-like device prints custom logos on Assos team clothing.
Stacks of logo transfers wait for shorts and jerseys.
Assos supplies limited numbers of custom garments to teams and clubs. The printing is all done in house.
The Assos test lab tests the clothing and fabrics for washing, weather, UV light, and more.
This machine creates artificial abrasion on the fabrics to test for durability and pilling.
In the lower level, a test lab houses equipment for testing fabrics and finished pieces.
Somehow its easy to forget that cycling clothes have to be tailored like any other garments.
Design and prototype construction share one wing of one of the buildings.
The main office building has a nice atrium and break room for guests or employees.
No, Assos is not making espresso machines, but the logos are everywhere you look.
The building across the way houses administrative offices. You have to walk farther down the block to find design and prototyping production.
The signature Assos aesthetic extends to landscaping as well.
This is one of three buildings that Assos occupies for their headquarters and home location.
It seems like an older building from the outside, but the entrance is stylish.
Just about every bike under an Assos employee wears the proper graphics.
Assos's headquarters occupies an unassuming neighborhood outside of Lugano, Switzerland.