Interview with Alessandra Nisi and Carlo Rola from Imago-Rola

The February 2019 edition of the Première Vision Paris show was an opportunity for the Marketplace team to visit suppliers who are on the Marketplace, to get their views about the digital platform, which is soon to celebrate its first year. Among the suppliers they talked to were Alessandra Nisi and Carlo Rola from Imago-Rola, a company that put its trust in the Marketplace quite early on. They explain why, and tell us about their company.



My fabrics and embroidery are characterised by the imagination and creativity typical of
“Made in Italy”.


Carlo Rola: CEO of Imago-Rola




Read our interview with this creative duo…



Alessandra Nisi and Carlo Rola on the Premiere Vision Paris show last February


Can you tell us about each other? 


Carlo : So, ladies first, let me introduce Alessandra. She comes from high-end retail and was the Sales Director and Senior Buyer for some luxury shops and showrooms in Milan and in Lugano, Switzerland. She managed the purchasing of new collections as well as directed the sales campaigns and follow-up with top clients (the millennials). She was specialised not only in the most famous and well-known brands but also in emerging contemporary brands, as well as in vintage and collection garments. She was one of the first store managers who decided to move from simple garment sales to the “concept store”, where clients can find out, and buy, everything they might be in the mood for, from garments and accessories, to perfumes, home furniture, to books and artwork.

She now oversees the creative R&D of each collection and suggests emerging clients to be contacted to the IMAGO-ROLA sales team and agents. She is also always directly involved in the special customised developments requested by our clients.


Alessandra : Thank you Carlo, now it’s my turn. Honestly speaking it is not easy to describe Carlo’s role in the company. He is like a motivator and ‘speeder-up’ for the company – you can find him dealing with clients and suppliers just as easily as you can find him on a textile machine during production or on a lorry carrying a handloom, or running to the airport for a quick delivery, or rushing to the finishing of a special development. He never accepts the word “impossible” and pushes and motivates the IMAGO-ROLA team to always find a way to satisfy our clients.

“He is a model for the team and a hard worker.”



Carlo, Imago-Rola is a family business, founded by your father. Was this a decisive factor in your career choice?


Despite the trivial ideas about a family business, I must point out that family businesses are not an easy deal.

Parental expectations are always high, but the market is always evolving, so you must keep your eyes and mind well open to understanding whether what was good yesterday will also be the same tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

A family business is surely an easy opportunity during the start-up, but it can have heavy consequences you have to deal with in terms of future projects or developments.

In my case, the business changed a lot – we moved from a third-party production factory to a blend between fast production, services, and consulting.

Production, society and art are now blended together and a flexible international company with an Italian accent, and some history on its shoulders, might be the right driver to confront the challenges of the market.


What is the specific orientation of your company and its products?


We are client-oriented, price-conscious and always proactive in terms of products and services.

We are open-minded and, as Alessandra told you earlier, nothing can be impossible for us.


Can you please describe to us more specifically Imago-Rola’s style?


Carlo: Me, I’m the past and present of the factory, so I prefer that Alessandra explain to you our style from now into the future.


Alessandra: We must always offer something a little bit different, and also a little bit better, cooler and faster, than what our competitors are used to doing. Design, colours and handle must be contemporary. And what’s also important is something that goes in the direction of “see now – buy now” – but in a customised way.


Does Imago-Rola do business with a variety of market segments, including the luxury market? Can you tell us about your clients, and the specific needs of the luxury market?

Unfortunately, our products and services aren’t affordable for the mass market – and this is not a limitation, but an opportunity, the opportunity to experiment and offer the best that textile technology can offer to emphasise the characteristics of the fabrics.



You’ve positioned creativity at the heart of your collections. Can you tell us your sources of inspiration?


Thank God we are Italian – and we are proud of that.  We have the unique and extraordinary good fortune to grow up and live in “The Great Beauty” (LaGrande Bellezza). In any single little village in Italy we have masterpieces and at least 3,000 years of art, development and research.

We must put all our best into emphasising what we have around us, renovating it – because as it is isn’t enough – and sharing it with the world.



What are the particular inspirations and highlights of your upcoming S/S20 summer collection?



The key word of our last SS 20 collection was “EURASIA” – the natural match between Europe and Russia. We played with soft and delicate colours blended with ornamental patterns derived from the Eastern tradition.


In the aftermath of the February show, what are the main S/S20 trends being requested by designers and buyers?


Honestly speaking there is uncertainty in the market. Only emerging brands have clear ideas – because, due to their size, they are well focused on their clients, with whom they have continuous contacts and feedback. Every client will want customised articles, to be unique, so it is hard to read general tendencies for the market.

Lots of clients are requesting natural and organic fabrics and are attentive to social issues, but the ideas aren’t clear at the moment…. In any case we are ready with fabrics with GOTS certification – just in case.


Can you tell us about the key product you introduced at the show? What are its unique features?


We presented romantic raffia macramé as well as futuristic iridescent fabrics that seem to come from space – embossed embroidery and textured prints.




Fabrics | Embroidery | Imago Rola, Italy | Réf : SORRENTO0679-013 – CO SORRENTO0679-013| 90%CO 10%PL | See more



Fabrics | Silkies | Imago Rola, Italy| Réf :KALLIOPETF – CO KALLIOPE| 74% PL 26% AC | See more



Fabrics | Jacquard | Imago Rola, Italy | Réf : 49002CA34675 – CO 49002CA34675| 51%CO25%PL11%AC5%PC5%SE3%PA | See more



All our collections are a unique crucible of ideas and colours, a pivotal starting point to innovation.


Do you already have some ideas in mind for autumn-winter 20/21?


Sure, we are already brainstorming with the R&D team.

The key words will be “A LITTLE BIT MORE” – in fact we’ll put “a little bit more” in all the articles; prints with crusts effects, embroidery with laminating effects, jacquards with … that one will be a surprise.

Come and see them at the next PV show – you’ll be much more than welcome.


You are very active on our platform… Do you think the future of textiles will also involve going digital?


We are focused on emerging brands worldwide, not necessarily the most famous. We must be able to present our products and get in touch with clients from Africa to the Pole. The Marketplace platform can be the perfect way.


Is this one of the reasons you decided early on to participate in the Première Vision Marketplace? What other advantages do you think this platform offers?


The platform is an opportunity and a window to find out new business contacts and to offer our services and products to emerging brands worldwide.


To continue to the online shop of Imago Rola, click here

To discover their products in the online catalogue, click here









Imago-Rola is an Italian fabrics producer based in the Northern part of Italy, in a small town called Cairate, that is in the district highly specialized in cotton textiles (Gallarate/Busto) but strategically located between Biella (district specialised in wool), Como (district specialised in prints, jacquards and silks) and not too far from Prato (district specialised in wools and finishings).

The company was founded on 5th May 1963 by Mr Alberto Rola and his wife Mrs Ernesta Mara as a third party embroidering company, offering their services to other existing embroidery factories and wholesalers.

In 1993, the Rola’s sons, Carlo and Marco, joined the family business and started the process of growing the company as an independent entity aiming to produce for the national market.

With the creation of the IMAGO-ROLA brand in 2012, a line of jacquards, quilted and knit fabrics has been introduced over the years, growing the RICAMIFICIO ROLA line with the aim of offering a wide and complete range of novelty fabrics to international markets.

The company is now specialised in high-end novelties, eyelets, prints (digital, screen and rotary), embroideries and jacquards, often combined with different finishing, laminating and printing techniques. To get a general idea, we always suggest taking a direct look at our website, where you can get a better idea of our history, articles and price range, or our INSTAGRAM pages: CARLO.ROLA and IMAGOROLAFABRICS, where we present our novelties weekly.

Attention to the needs of emerging contemporary international brands, and a huge offer of textile novelties are the main focus of the IMAGO-ROLA team.

Flexibility, competitive prices (as low as 3 euros for basic fabrics, as high as 60 euros for high-end embroidered textiles), affordable challenging lead times (such as 2 to 3 weeks), low minimums (from 28 metres up to 400 metres) but also quality and service are what made this company grow over the years – always providing the best combination of quality / service / delivery / price.

The cool match between Mrs Alessandra Nisi (she comes from high-end retail), who now oversees the creative R&D of each collection, and Mr Carlo Rola, the commercial manager (he is a textile technician – with a background in embroidery production) and his several yearly trips to different markets such as Asia and United States provide the company a knowledge of the variety of different global trends, allowing them to create and offer products that are very successful among a number of emerging contemporary brands worldwide.





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