The foundations of consumerism in fashion come from the inborn human desire for novelty. This is not a brand-new concept by itself. But now more than ever, our collective desire for novelty is pervasive, thanks to the growth of social media, online shopping, and digital journalism.
The typical consumer today doesn't invest in clothing twice a year or even seasonally; rather, we purchase clothing more frequently. Brands from the high street to the upper echelons of the luxury fashion world are responding in turn to changes in where and how we shop.
Remo Ruffini, an Italian billionaire, is well aware of the new difficulties facing the sector. Since taking over as CEO and a co-owner of the upscale company Moncler in 2003, Ruffini has been working to modernize it. Moncler is known for its ski jackets and high-end activewear.
He overhauled the brand's supply chains and business model from top to bottom in order to introduce a new program called Moncler Genius.
The Moncler Genius project rejected the notion of appointing a single creative director to lead a brand when it was first introduced at Milan Fashion Week last year. Instead, it promotes a relatively avant-garde strategy that involves hiring several creative directors to work for the same brand and having each of them design their own distinct collections that are released on a rolling schedule.
The concept of fashion collaborations, which typically only result in one-off products that are available for a brief period of time, and "drop" culture are combined in this model (regular limited edition items that are hyped online and released to the most loyal customers). Instead of seasonally in accordance with the schedule of the annual fashion week, as was the case for Moncler in the past, the brand can now market new products on a monthly basis.
Ruffini claims that the Genius strategy enables a "more frequent conversation" with clients. Exactly one year after the debut of the Moncler Genius, he said in an interview that it also offers "more, content, more ideas, and more energy."
This model provides the opportunity to draw in new clients while also maintaining the interest of current ones. To work on the project, Ruffini has enlisted an impressive roster of creative directors, and these designers, each with their own brands and distinctive styles, each have a dedicated fan base.
For Moncler, the commercial benefits of working with high-profile names are clear enough. But what do the designers stand to gain?
During an interview this week in London, Rocha said she was initially "excited by the level of designers that were going to come together," and that she "really felt that all of the designers had their own point of view." She also cited Moncler's wide distribution network and distinct customer base as draws. It also doesn’t hurt that the collections that have emerged thus far seem to have maintained each designer's visual identity.