Quantfury Daily Gazette
The value of fashion
What is the value? The answer to this question can be somewhat subjective; in other words, it varies depending on whom you ask; some may answer by referring to economic value, others to personal values, while a third group of people might opt for the useful value of an object, and all these answers would be valid. Would you believe me if I told you that a company founded in 1978 managed to capture and maintain, to this day, most of the definitions of value?
This company is Brunello Cucinelli (BATS EU: BCU), a designer of Italian origin, more specifically from Castel Rigone, a small village near Perugia. In his youth, he abandoned his engineering studies to devote himself to reading books on philosophy. But in 1977, in a small workshop, he started making cashmere jumpers for women dyed in bright colours. A year later, in Solomeo, he founded Brunello Cucinelli (BATS EU: BCU), a knitwear company. He was fascinated by the warmth of the brown and grey tones of wool, its softness and its ability to last. The concept of something that lasts over time is part of his philosophy of life, and a cashmere garment should last forever: its durability is a symbol of its value. Years later, he would earn the nickname “Prince of Cashmere.” In addition to women’s garments, he added men’s, children’s and accessories.
His products perfectly combine industry and craftsmanship, which is his priority, seeking the highest quality and creativity in each of them. For every entrepreneur, vision is very important, but even more important is knowing how to transmit and materialize it. Brunello’s ability is clear to see; he developed a luxury fashion brand on an international level without leaving his values aside, following his philosophy, which is why in Italy, he is known as “the humanist entrepreneur” or “the Franciscan capitalist.”
The philosophy that accompanies him in his daily life and that he applies in his brand “Brunello Cuccinelli” was inspired by an American economist, Theodore Levitt, with the idea that was the main driving force behind the designer’s garments to focus on luxury. This would limit his market, but his creations would compete directly with other haute couture brands, leaving aside those garments of low quality or that had no distinction from the rest. We could say that the value of his garments would not only be economical, but they would also have the value of being handcrafted and rare in the world.
Artisans are very important to Brunello, who achieved a unique balance between capitalism and ethics, prioritizing the well-being of his employees, who receive a higher salary than the sector. In 2012 the luxury apparel company made its debut on the Milan stock exchange with great success and, reinforcing the idea of maintaining the welfare of its employees, or rather artisans, they received a bonus of over €6000. In his own words, “It is a choice and a personal gift to thank those who have helped us grow, thanks to their work.”
Brunello’s philanthropy is not only present in his business, but his brand is, for him, a tool to give back for all that he has received. In 1985, he acquired the ancient castle of Solomeo, a village near Perugia, and, keeping its essence intact, renovated it to become the headquarters of his company. He also renovated an old property to turn it into a large library, an inexhaustible source of knowledge.
He also built a hospital and a school in Malawi, and in 2008 he completed the creation of the “Foro delle Arti” complex, which includes a theatre, a philosophy garden, a learning centre for artisan crafts and a library, with the intention of giving back and helping those who brought him to where he is today.
The values that his brand represents are not only economic and/or high standards but also human values, something that goes beyond the tangible or a simple item of clothing. The company constantly strives to preserve the value and respect for its artisans, who produce all garments by hand, but also for its suppliers, with whom it maintains a close relationship.
Philosophy, ethics and values come together in a unique trident, creating an essence that is transmitted worldwide with the garments that Brunello Cucinelli (BATS EU: BCU) designs and distributes in his luxury brand shops, making products of great value but without neglecting the value to him of his craftsmen and his company.
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