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Luxury goods are more resilient than others to the ups and downs of the economy
Massimo Ferretti, talks about Various factors affecting luxury apparel segment worldwide, with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Ilin Mathew.
AEFFE S.p.A., which was founded by Alberta and her brother Massimo Ferretti in 1980, is engaged in the manufacturing and distribution of prestigious brands , both proprietary and licensed, covering ready-to-wear as well as accessories segments and is today one of the best known international luxury players.
Among its propriety brands we name the Italian Alberta Ferretti, Philosophy, Moschino and Pollini, whereas among the licensed ones we number the French Cedric Charlier and Emanuel Ungaro.
Massimo Ferretti is the Executive Chairman of the company. Since the establishment of the company, he has been devoted to the development of the family's brands Alberta Ferretti and Philosophy and at the same time, to the valorization of emerging talents of the international fashion scene.
Being a big player in the ready-to-wear industry for many years, can you tell us about the most significant developments in the segment?
If I look back to the 80s, when we established our company and launched our first Alberta Ferretti collection in Milan, many things have changed. At that time, the Italian brands carrying the “Made in Italy” on their labels were just in their early-blossoming and we could never imagine how successful they would become worldwide. At that time the fashion houses were solely involved in the production of ready-to-wear and accessories, but soon they enriched their production to contemplate anything being part of a distinguished life style.
The markets ,we are looking at, originally Italy, Europe and the United States, now include the whole world and from an offline distribution we are now reaching out our customers through the online channel. The rhythms also dramatically changed: at the aim of continuously stimulating the market, the creative and manufacturing cycles have shortened giving space to intra-seasonal collections such as Pre-collections, resort or capsule collections.
As an example, a capsule of the Fall/Winter 2014 Moschino collection, the first of our new creative Director, Jeremy Scott , was available for shopping on-line and in-store only one hour after the show.
This was unthinkable until few years. I would say, the fashion world has undergone a true revolution.
How do you look at the consumption of luxury clothing globally? Which are the regions with high consumption of luxury wear?
For sure, the fashion industry is more and more competitive with new brands and new markets but it is also more segmented. In addition, to a general trend, which shows a higher price-versus-quality sensitivity, the luxury segment brings along new opportunities within the brand value in addition to the intrinsic product value.
Markets wise, I would rather talk about high fashion consumption areas such as Italy, Europe and the United States or Russia and Japan and other areas where the approach to luxury goods is more recent, even though more and more important. We can state that the fast growing countries like China and Middle East are gaining over the past very rapidly.
Do you think that change in consumer behavior has affected the luxury market? Can you elaborate on that?
Certainly, also the luxury sector benefits from growing economic phases whereas it gets affected during downturn periods. However, it is also true that luxury goods are more resilient than others to the ups and downs of the economy .
Social networks and the possibility to shop online from mobiles and tablets are already strongly influencing our industry.
AEFFE is among the most profitable clothing manufacturers in the world. Where do you see the growth is coming from? Is it from China or from more traditionally developed countries? What is the difference you have seen in consumer behavior for fashion in the West and in emerging markets?
I believe that the greater growth will come from the emerging markets but for our Group, it is still important to continue to invest in our main markets such as Europe, the United States and Japan. They remain key display windows for our brands.
If we look at the new generations- the ones who network through the social networks and shop online - I do not believe there are substantial differences. Maybe, a different behavior can be found among those who lived during the 80s. Those Westerners have developed , say, a certain sensitivity towards the product, to such extent as to become very demanding both in terms of product innovation and quality. This offers a continuous stimulus to improve our products and ends up with benefiting all the consumers.
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