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Fashion leaders talk post-pandemic strategy at Pambianco Summit

By Rachel Douglass

Nov 18, 2021

Fairs

Image: Fashion Summit Pambianco, David Pambianco and Marco Bizzarri

Leaders of the fashion industry came together for the 26th Pambianco-PwC Fashion Summit, entitled ‘The fashion industry and new paradigms’, hosted in Milan. Participants from the likes of Gucci, Zalando and Moncler took to the stage of the Italian Stock Exchange, covering subject matters from digital acceleration to research priorities, in panels and presentations hosted by the Italian media platform, Pambianco.

Much of the talks tackled the question of strategic development in the post lockdown era, with many noting a dynamic shift in consumer behaviour.

“Today, however, there is a relationship, creating a community is fundamental…”

CEO and president of Moncler, Remo Ruffini, was one of those highlighting the essential changes the company has observed within the luxury sector. Ruffini presented a case history during the Summit, and in a talk with PambiancoTV following the presentation he said: “When we talk about ‘Beyond fashion, beyond luxury’, I mean the new way of thinking the new culture.”

He continued: “Once there was a transaction with the customer, you had to bring the customer to buy the product. Today, however, there is a relationship, creating a community is fundamental, the approach is completely different, much more complex.”

Ruffini proceeded to centre in on this development of ‘community’ within the luxury industry, stating that Moncler has adopted this approach as a way to target new generations of consumers. He added: “In addition to fashion and luxury, we need to find an element that gives strength to the brand, a different approach from three to five years ago. We are doing our race, we have built our community which is fundamental for our work, but also difficult. We speak to all generations. My goal has been from the beginning to have a young guy in the shop who gives energy to the lady, to create an intergenerational community”.

Gucci’s CEO, Marco Bizzarri, was also present at the event, taking part in the first speech of the day moderated by Pambianco CEO, David Pambianco. Bizzarri highlighted Gucci’s change to its runway presentation schedules, announcing it will return to the National Chamber of Italian Fashion catwalk calendar starting February 2022, after exploring a digital format over the past year. He also revealed two other unified shows to take place late spring in September 2022.

In a talk with Pambianco, Bizzari explained how the changes in the schedule were imposed by the pandemic and the consequent closure of factories, impacting product development. “We went from four to two collections,” he noted. “After the creative experiments we have done, allowing Alessandro to define Gucci’s aesthetic horizons for the next years, today is the time to return to a more traditional calendar.”

Bizzari also took the opportunity to highlight a number of sustainable initiatives by the Kering-owned brand, including the implementation of 100 percent renewable energy and recycled materials into its company-wide operation.

Image: Fashion Summit Pambianco, Ennio Fontana

“We produce more than 300 million pieces a year, so it is clear that we must try to do it in a more sustainable way…”

Additionally using the Summit as a platform to outline eco-conscious strategies was VF Corporation’s executive vice president and president EMEA, Martino Scabbia Guerrini. A testimony by Guerrini outlined the company’s integration of both online and offline methods and listening to the “global consumer agenda”, which he suggested is part of VF’s growth strategy.

The multibrand conglomerate, which oversees the likes of The North Face, Vans and Timberland, is currently looking towards a number of brand-level environmental targets, including Icebreaker’s goal of using only natural fabrics by 2023.

He added: “And then there are the corporate-level goals, which we know have a broad impact: we produce more than 300 million pieces a year, so it is clear that we must try to do it in a more sustainable way, with zero-impact logistics and looking to be sensitive to what we call ‘scale for good’,” which he describes as community-based production initiative.

Ennio Fontana, Roberto Cavalli’s general manager since September 2020, was also present at the event. Following his appointment, the Cavalli label has seen significant modifications, including a new creative director, Fausto Puglisi, and the opening of a major real estate project: the Cavalli Tower. “Now some results are starting to arrive, but certainly the path taken is the right one,” said Fontana.

He continued: “The next step will be to focus on the opening of new major stores around the world, especially in the US and Europe. Furthermore, we will strive for continuous development of the product categories, it is important to give more and more offers and choices to the final consumer.”