On a visit to Dubai to check up on a newly refurbished store in Mall of the Emirates, CEO of Italian menswear clothing brand Pal ZIleri, Paolo Roviera, sat down with us and spoke of the state of fashion vs fast fashion, the chaotic fashion week modules and the growth of Pal Zileri.
Vesque Magazine: In today’s day, why is it more important to have an appreciation for craftsmanship and quality over fast fashion?
Paolo Roviera: Honestly, I think there is a market for everybody. If I see the (revenue) numbers for that brands like Zara and H&M, it would be hard to compete with them on that level, but I believe it’s a different segment and it’s a different kind of consumer. But I feel we could all benefit from the same kind of growth rate of these big companies, because I think they invented a way of doing business which is very clever.
Having said that, I think craftsmanship is very important to our segment because the more people refine their choices, the more they start appreciating something unique, and to create something unique, you need human hands.
Just earlier I was having a conversation about the extravagant prices of vintage cars, and there is a market for it because these cars were made by hand and there’s no one who does that anymore. This is why they are so precious.
I feel with our craftsmanship our consumers get a unique kind of experience and feeling.
V: Is the changing fashion module going to affect Pal Zileri?
PR: I think that we saw some interesting cases in the last few weeks. We heard of important brands deciding not to have shows, we heard of people like Tom Ford who decided to release a video, like the one with Lady Gaga, to showcase their collections. On the other hand, we witnessed a great show by [Hedi] Slimane [for Saint Laurent] in Los Angeles, but at the end of the day, I still believe that when you have a trade which is still part managed by direct retail and part with franchisee partner wholesale, you do have the need to show your collection via a fashion show or something similar.
For sure there will be some evolutions, something will change eventually, we will already see some changes in June in the Milan Fashion Week for menswear. But at the end of the day, unless something major happens in the mindset of opinion leader brands, I don’t think there will be many changes to the model in the next two, three years.
Also, the capability of the final consumer of approaching our industry would possibly change. If you think about it, fashion shows are essentially for traders and press only, not for the fashion consumer. I think, for sure, there will be some inclusive model that will reach the final consumer, which would be the final consumer; it must be.
Think of the evolution of communication over the last two years just because of Instagram. This is an open way to directly speak with the consumer. I think we will see something in that direction.
We do live stream for our fashion shows, but there is this talk of having the opportunity to have the product in stores the day after the fashion show. I don’t see it as feasible because as long as you have a (business) model which is part wholesale and part retail, you have to create a desire for for the product, at the end of the day.
The important thing, in my opinion, is the evolution of communication is to exit the elite of talking simply with traders and press, but also talking with the final consumers, which is already happening with social media.
V: What does it mean for Pal Zileri to have a newly renovated store in Dubai?
PR: Having a newly refurbished store really stresses on two things, firstly, the importance of Dubai. Dubai has always been an important hub for luxury consumption, not only for us. Pal Zileri has always been strong in the Middle East, and now we are also going to open store in the Kuwait and Qatar and Iran soon, and we are going to be pioneers there, which I’m very happy about because I like the idea of being the first in that country.
Secondly, to stress on the perception of the brand towards the final consumer. We created a new store concept which is modern than what we used to have in the past which is a link to our showroom in Milan. We wanted to create the world of Pal Zileri in the store. We want to stress the importance of creating a delightful experience, which is why you’ll find some interesting piece of furniture like a vintage stereo on which you could select old vinyl records and listen to some music.
Since shopping for clothing is not particularly on the priority list of most men, let’s try to make their shopping experience more pleasant and let’s try to relieve the stress of the shopping experience with good time in the store.
V: What is next for Pal Zileri and what can we expect?
PR: I think that in the first first two years of us joining the company has been a true rush, we wanted to make things happen quick, we rebuilt the creative direction of the company, we hired an new creative director we built a merchandising team, we built a communication department. We built so many things in the last two years, that let’s say that 2016 is our year off; a consolidation of all the changes we have brought to the company.
In the meanwhile, 2016 is a good year for us because we are starting to see our harvest. We are starting to collect the first fruit we planted in 2015. We see growing interest in the brand with potential partner, the press and from the final consumer. So 2016 and 2017 might not bring dramatic changes, but we will continue building on our brand.
By Pavan Premaney