A ‘Master Collection’ Approach – WWD

Milan — The ‘Year of Balance’ is what Simone Rizzo expects in 2023. Sunnei is the hip Italian brand he launched with Loris Messina, almost a decade before him.

Since Vanguards Group acquired a majority stake in the company in September 2020, the two have gradually expanded their business.

“The last two years have been intense as we have decided to remain involved in the decision-making part, not only in terms of creativity, but also in terms of management and overall strategy,” said Messina. “It’s been two years of her that we’ve been building and destroying. This is very interesting. The first year was super-construction, the second year was destruction, and now she’s in her third year of equilibrium. It’s time.”

Flexibility in extending its strategy has always proven to be an asset of the Milanese pioneer brand in experimenting with collections, presentations and distribution formats. It introduces what the designer calls the concept of a “master collection”.

This is a combination of the pre-collection and main collection that will be revealed in its entirety to buyers at pre-collection timing, intended to provide an overview of what to expect and ease pressure on the supply chain.

“We wanted to get out of the usual scheme of doing hundreds of things and see what happens,” says Rizzo. “We want this to be a very focused moment so that buyers can deliver their collections at the right time and optimize their supply chain processes.”

“We have already unveiled some of the collections that will be presented at Fashion Week in February,” continues Messina. “Excludes about 15% of that collection, which are the most special and complex pieces that have to be produced at different times and are priced differently. Our goal is to limit the access to only major partners or our own channels.”

A look from Sunnei’s pre-fall 2023 collection.

Courtesy of Sunnei

The ‘Master Collection’ movement essentially replaces the pioneering Canvas project Messina and Rizzo launched in 2020 amid the pandemic. The initiative, which represents the brand’s pre-collection, flanks two of his major line-ups that Sunnei traditionally presents through runway shows during Milan Fashion Week in February and his September.

Available on a dedicated VR-enhanced platform and intended to enable wholesale partners to build their own Sunnei collections through a customization service, Canvas offers retailers the opportunity to intervene on the design side to create ready-to-wear clothing and accessories. We provided the opportunity to personalize genderless carryover pieces, including (Vary sleeve length, fabric, color, stitching, etc.) of each item to differentiate your assortment from your competitors.

“For us, the canvas represents a way of getting around a complicated moment. We found a smart way to continue within that context. Messina said, emphasizing that the service has become cumbersome on the production side.It will continue to be offered to key partners for special collaborations, he said.

Vanguards Group Chief Executive Officer Peter Baldaszti said: also includes the Nanushka and Aeron brands. “So Sunnei’s business is doubling or tripling every year, so they have to come up with a commercial strategy that scales with their business.”

Baldaszti defines the new format as a “commercial game-changer” for the brand, increasing the cohesion of the collection and saying, “Wholesale accounts are still very important and will be a very important part of the business. It was advertised as helping build a . His Sunnei of them serve more strategically. “

The first iteration of the new approach is being tested this week in a sales campaign running in Paris, a city where the brand will become more proactive, which Baldasti believes “is so resonating with the energy of Sunnei.” increase.

Peter Baldasti

Peter Baldasti

Courtesy of Sunnei

The group’s plans to expand the label’s international appeal include community building, communication and marketing.

“Most importantly, the business is most likely to reach breakeven in 2023. This is a very important milestone in the company’s survival,” said Baldaszti.

Without disclosing financial figures, executives forecast that Sunnei business will grow sevenfold to eightfold by the end of 2023 since the Vanguard Group first invested €6 million in the brand.

“Sunnei has had great success in certain geographies where it focuses on two key pillars of the brand: community and culture. focused on and resonated with a lot and found an easy way to get in. The CEO, who named South Korea, Italy and the US as the top countries, said:

North America will remain a key strategic focus over the next 18 months. Executives alongside China and the UK said the potential remains untapped.

Sunnei RTW Spring 2023

Sunnei RTW Spring 2023

Photo by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

“We are trying to find the right balance with Peter. Instead of making big business plans in the short term, we are doubling down. [sales] “We’re trying to be cautious and try to preserve the value of the brand as much as possible,” Rizzo said. We want to build a new model with our partners to avoid the Since its inception, it has emphasized that distribution has increased “only in terms of quality, not quantity.”

“The key to keeping the brand from being diluted and not just a commodity is to build and be consistent with the communities that Sunnei is building in key cities and markets. We also need a local presence, so let it be pop-ups, music events, dinners, and other activities,” added Baldaszti.

Executives also spotlighted compelling product offerings, particularly accessories that “cannot be compared to anything on the market.” Sunnei has always had an edge in footwear, starting with his rubber-studded 1000Chiodi sneaker, but over the last nine months he has focused on developing bags, first introduced in his Labauletto in the ‘It’ style. Lacubetto cubic leather made his bag twice his size. 2019.

Labauletto and Lacubetto bags from Sunnei.

Labauletto and Lacubetto bags from Sunnei.

Courtesy of Imruh Asha and Alessio Bolzoni/Sunnei

According to Baldaszti, the footwear business now accounts for about 25% of total sales. The executive aims to achieve a healthy balance between overall accessories and ready-to-wear, with accessories making up 40% of his sales. While these two segments drive his business, Sunnei also has eyewear, jewelry, petwear, and he’s also launched the Sunnei Objects lifestyle line in 2021.

Currently, 75% of total sales come from the wholesale channel. The brand is available at LuisaViaRoma, La Samaritaine, Ssense, GR8, SKP, Rinascente, B1ock Concept Store, Boon The Shop, Beijing’s Dover Street Market, and more.

In addition to e-commerce, Sunnei has a flagship store on Milan’s Via Vera. It was originally the headquarters of the brand. Baldaszti said he strongly believes in a direct-to-consumer model, but plans to open other of his Sunnei stores are “still a long way off.”

“What I think is very important is creating the right Sunnei pop-up experience for both dtc and major wholesalers, so we plan to invest this year and 2024,” said Baldaszti. I’m here.

Last year, Messina and Rizzo unveiled an itinerant inflatable pop-up concept for bags developed by design collective Parasite 2.0. The designer’s vision is to continue working with architects to create new formats. Everything is rooted in simplicity.

“We are at the moment evaluating optimization criteria. Popups don’t have to be playgrounds. The concept feels outdated…we want to provide the simplest and most practical experience possible.” I’m thinking and imagining a space that serves the community,” said Rizzo.

Sunnei's inflatable installation.

Sunnei’s inflatable installation.

Courtesy of Sunnei

Communication follows the same streamlining, as the designer admitted to being overly shared on the brand’s social media. “We have narrowed down our digital channels. Now we want to focus on quality and align our communication peaks with the event,” he says Rizzo.

But the brand’s ironic and smart digital presence has helped its founders garner a cult following over the years and attract investor attention.

“I first met Sunnei in mid-2019. and “very recognizable and distinctive identity”.

These factors are some of the criteria Baldaszti considers when evaluating suitable brands for expanding Vanguards Group’s portfolio.

“The most important aspect is always creative talent and creative founders building something from scratch, but we want to make sure that we already have a team in place that also has some business acumen and an entrepreneurial spirit. We are also very focused on,” he said. “Future brands need to think like media brands in how they approach content and build brands and communities. Sunnei is a great example of that,” he said.

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