Moncler breaks down creative barriers, not just seasonality
di Giulia Crivelli
4' di lettura
«The value of collaborations and the energy generated by different experiences with common goals is something I have always greatly believed in. Not just in the creative sphere.» This is what Remo Ruffini had to say about Moncler ’s decision to join the Fashion Pact, a commitment to safeguarding our suffering planet recently signed by 32 major players in the fashion industry (see Il Sole 24 Ore of 24 August).
The words confirm the consistency of the direction taken by Ruffini, chairman and CEO of Moncler: beginning with its focus on team spirit, an over-used expression that retains its meaning if applied to people who turn their words into action. Then there is its willingness to embrace new ideas which, on the surface, appear very different from his own. Sixteen years have passed since 2003 when Ruffini acquired a brand with revenues of just a few million euro but a glorious past (see article on page). Since 2016 Moncler has been a member of the highly exclusive “€1 billion company” in Italy (revenues of €1.04 billion that financial year), with its turnover rising to €1.42 billion in 2018. Listed since 2013, its figures for the first half of the current financial year (revenues of €570.2 million) confirm its strong growth trend. Between 2003 and 2018 its CAGR (compound average growth rate) was 24%. But the figures in the financial statements only say so much. Together, Ruffini and Moncler have revolutionised the fashion calendar, questioning the idea that collections should be created and delivered to stores on a seasonal basis and taking concrete action to challenge this trend. Climate change and the old saying that autumn and spring no longer exist have something to do with this, but only in part. Rather, according to Ruffini people do not purchase high-end apparel - Moncler ’s segment, with fleeces starting at €400-500 and rising to thousands of euro, for example - for reasons associated with the period or the change of temperature, or the geographical location of the places in which they live or visit.
The reasons and motivations that drive luxury consumers, particularly younger buyers from the Millennials onwards, are much different. To cater for the former, in 2018 Ruffini launched the Genius-One House Different Voices project, an evolution of all previous models of collaboration between a brand and external creatives. Ruffini put together a vibrant hub of talented individuals from all over the world and continues to expand it, following his own intuition and listening to the opinions of others. A multicultural group that embodies both the diversity of the world and something that can be universal: clothing that stems from artistic intuition rather than necessity. All of the creative minds that have collaborated on Genius – from Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino to Simone Rocha, from Poldo Dog Couture to Richard Quinn, the British designer whose last runway show was honoured by the attendance of HRH Queen Elizabeth – should be familiar with the concept of serendipity: with Moncler they made unexpected discoveries while looking for other things.
The same goes for the end customers, given the success of the Genius collections, who come to stores on a monthly basis. If Genius is a response to luxury consumers ’ hunger for purchasing motivation and stimulation, Ruffini and his team have done plenty of other work on more profound issues. There is nothing random about Moncler joining the Fashion Pact: the company has been committed to social and environmental sustainability for years. 54% of its managers are women, a far higher proportion compared with most companies in the business (out of love for our country we won ’t restrict the field to Italy). 100% of the down it uses boasts Dist (Down integrity system & traceability) certification, developed and applied in 2015 to guarantee that breeding methods respect the wellbeing of the geese, as well as the quality and traceability of the down. The same rigid criteria are applied to Moncler ’s supply chain: in 2018, its Code of Ethics was applied to 100% of its suppliers and all European and US offices and stores have OHSASA 18001 certification, one of the strictest in the area of workplace safety. For Italy there is the ISO14001 certification, also obtained for the logistics hubs. Commenting on the half-yearly results in July, Ruffini explained: «To continuously experiment with new forms of collaboration to find the talent that is in all of us: this is what I ask my staff and what they demonstrate every day.»
A statement that is again backed up by tangible action: in 2018 the number of hours of continuous in-house training rose by 39% compared with 2017 and in 2019 the first hackathon was organised: 24 hours of discussions on future strategies involving 450 people that work for Moncler across the world. Prepare yourself to be amazed by the evolution of Genius.