From Sheep-To-Shop. Gildo Zegna Highlights Core Values
BY: Dylan Martin
October 14, 2016
Gildo Zegna is undoubtedly one of the busiest (and most influential) players in fashion. It is little wonder his visit to our Bloor Street store in Toronto was so highly anticipated by the Clothing Advisors he took time to meet. As Chief Executive of the world’s largest luxury menswear brand, Ermenegildo Zegna, this is a business leader with plenty on his plate. The illustrious Italian admits he is often swept up in his work — rigorously upholding the innovative vision set forth by his grandfather who established the brand back in 1910.
The meeting commemorated the enduring partnership between Ermenegildo Zegna and Harry Rosen, while simultaneously looking forward to the future. Mr. Zegna expressed his continued interest in catering to the sartorial needs of Canada’s astute international clientele and illuminated 5 key factors that will ensure his label maintains its position at the top of the luxury ladder.
1. The house’s tailoring has evolved.
“Ermenegildo Zegna adapts to the times, while maintaining its core values,” noted Gildo. Iconic suiting remains the label’s pièce de résistance, yet these designs have been subtly updated and styled in a contemporary way. Many of the sport jackets are more softly structured with a bolder depth of colour than in generations past. Gildo also highlighted how Zegna’s propositions extend well beyond smart tailoring. The new collection combines formal and casual pairings to convey personal elegance.
2. Alessandro Sartori was destined to be artistic director.
There is much excitement stirring around the house’s recent appointment of artistic director Alessandro Sartori. Mr. Zegna voiced his confidence in the gifted designer, declaring “he’s the perfect fit” to guide the label in a progressive direction. Mr. Sartori’s creative interests and cultural background neatly weave into the fabric of the heritage brand. In fact, he was born in the alpine town of Trivero, where Ermenegildo built the family’s first mill over a century ago. Even Alessandro’s last name holds significance (sarto is Italian for “tailor.”) Fans are eager see how his novel menswear style and cinematic storytelling will manifest at Zegna.
3. Zegna’s “sheep-to-shop” production is truly extraordinary.
The Italian brand continues to honour Ermenegildo’s original business philosophy: sourcing the best-quality natural fibers directly from their country of origin, and investing in the environment of its workers. Zegna’s vertically integrated “sheep-to-shop” approach means it has ownership over the entire supply chain. This goes right back to the Achill wool farm that the company acquired in New South Wales, Australia, where merino sheep peacefully graze. Through this “360 degree project” Zegna has close control over every aspect of the production process, including its own mills in Italy and fabric cutting houses in Switzerland. The highest quality livestock ensure the highest quality wool which ensures the highest quality suits.
4. The brand pioneers the world’s best fabrics.
“Fashion starts with the fabric. A terrific meal doesn’t start in the kitchen, it starts in the market – with the freshest ingredients. It’s the raw materials that make the final product exceptional. With fashion, it is no different,” proclaimed Gildo. He advised that premium wool is a critical component of the brand’s framework —prized for its ability to intuitively adapt to temperature changes and resiliently hold its shape. Zegna develops the finest fabrics known to man, bringing out the innate beauty and softness of these natural yarns. The company’s mastery of exclusive textiles culminates in the moisture-wicking TechMerino and weightless Troffeo fabric lines it is best known for.
5. It all comes back to la famiglia.
Gildo recited a popular saying amongst his close-knit Italian clan, “strong families make strong companies and strong companies make strong families.” The luxury label has been proudly run by the Zegnas for 4 generations, with Gildo’s sons showing promise as successors. This sense of family heritage and artisanal tradition lend a feeling of authenticity to the timeless brand. Gildo and his relatives work tirelessly to honour Ermenegildo’s dream of making “the most beautiful fabrics in the world.” They go above and beyond, making the most beautiful tailoring and sportswear, too.