by Giorgia Feroldi
Leading the way for the perfect combination between the Italian heritage of craftsmanship and avant-garde sustainable practices is Corneliani, under the creative direction of Stefano Gaudioso Tramonte. Getting introduced within the latest brand collections, CIRCLE was born as a sustainable capsule of few items, that’s now gradually absorbing the entire production process of Corneliani. The vision that Stefano crafted for the brand seizes the most innovative environmental and digital approaches, navigating between inner revolutions and experiential communication.
Since when you started at Corneliani in 2016, digitalisation has been an important matter to you. I read you managed to give clients the same customised experience in-store and online. How does it work and how did you reach this goal?
In the last years, a lot of things have changed in men’s fashion. Today, there are no more age clusters you can refer to, it’s about your social environment and culture, not to mention that men’s habits have changed too. Customers choose something not only because of the brand or the product itself, but even more because they embrace the same values of the brand. It’s more and more a question of experience, it’s a continuous evolution in order to offer something unique, exclusive and customised. For these reasons, I think that in the future the most important features of fashion will be ‘service and experience’, and we’re working at 360° on this concept.
The new digital platform and e-commerce were launched at the beginning of this year. Moreover, in 2020 we launched a virtual showroom for our trade that’s evolving every season, we’re planning to start working on prototypes with 3D technology, we want to create an online suit configurator for our MTM service, we just re-opened a B2B platform where our trade can see and order available products in our stock, and we’re also working to build a strong community linked to our values on social networks.
Much more than a product, we want to deliver a service, a way of life and, ultimately, an experience of sophistication and Italian excellence. These are the main challenges we’re working on.
How did you blend Corneliani’s heritage with your creative freedom when you started revolutionising the brand around environmental issues and transparency?
Corneliani has a great product and DNA, that’s why it didn’t dramatically change in terms of style. From the beginning, the idea was to work on the product in a smarter way in terms of innovation, technology and research, while taking inspiration from our archives and heritage to create a real value and exclusive dressing both in formal and sportswear clothing. Our goal is to always create stories about the product starting from our roots going to a bright future, stories for the consumers of today and tomorrow.
What are you proudest of within your work at Corneliani?
Corneliani is a great family, animated by a continuous passion in everything we do. The striving for excellence and respect for our heritage and knowledge handed down for generations characterises every single individual who works in the company. This is what makes me most proud, and that every morning makes me get up with a smile.
What does success mean to you?
Success is a path in constant evolution, not a point of arrival or a definitive goal, but it’s a path in constant transformation that must be nurtured daily. It’s a constant stimulus to face challenges and strive for excellence, while always remaining aware and true to ourselves. Every day is a success if you go home satisfied with what you’ve produced.
In which ways you think the vision you have for Corneliani can match the modern man?
What’s the meaning of modern in today’s society? Is there a rule in fashion today? In our opinion, Corneliani has always proposed an updated collection for the now-man. The formal side of the designs is continuously evolving thanks to an important research in terms of shapes, construction and new materials. The casual one is completely updated every season and is following macro trends and change of our customers’ habits, always keeping quality, comfort and functionality in mind.
We’re constantly proposing new projects, collaborations, styles. I think you inspire the customer when you connect through the product’s storytelling rather than just the product itself.
Do you feel sustainability will only be a claim, or is there a more optimistic future for fashion?
I believe that values related to the environment and respect for the planet are a priority for all mankind. Safeguarding the earth is a duty for all of us who must begin to act concretely.
Like any other industrial sector, fashion can’t exempt itself from environmental responsibility, which becomes an imminent urgency to which the whole system must strive. Our planet needs alternative futures, unprecedented scenarios, possible only through the creation of great new propositive narratives. Sustainability requires daily commitment, research and dedication, but guaranteeing products with a low environmental impact and transparency at every stage of the production cycle is an act of responsibility for a healthier, more sensitive and modern production system. In summary, environmental responsibility is now one of the values that guides all of our choices and the will to act in a positive and conscious way is a consolidated need to reduce the environmental impact and the waste of non-renewable resources.
CIRCLE is currently a capsule at Corneliani. Do you think it’ll absorb the whole brand in the future?
CIRCLE was introduced with the FW20 collection. Initially conceived as a capsule collection made of a few items, over time it’s developed into an actual collection, made with sustainable materials. The goal is to bring this conscious approach to all the categories and collections produced by the company over time. It’s a process that requires time, research and investments, but at Corneliani we’re working to achieve this goal. It won’t be possible in the short term to have a complex and articulated collection like ours completely made with eco-sustainable materials, but sustainability can derive from many other things. Sustainability means durability of the garments; sustainability is making sure that your suppliers and the production sites connected to them comply with environmental regulations and guarantee safety in the workplace; sustainability is making sure that there’s no discrimination. In short, perhaps the product will never be 100% sustainable, but the commitment is to have the the lowest possible impact on the environment and to guarantee high-quality standards in full compliance with rules.
What would you say the next decade looks like for Corneliani?
Our objective is to become more and more an experiential brand in terms of shopping experience, communication and digital approach. We want to be customer-oriented by continuously communicating with our clients and using our know-how to style men’s lives. On the other hand, we want to be a trusty and flexible partner for the trade system by working together, side by side, to give the best service, anticipate market requests and satisfy the needs of our clients. Keeping our heritage of craftsmanship, quality, and Italian savoir-faire while evolving our style together with the customer and becoming a digitalised company that offers services and stories to our trade and final client.
Credits: Photo by Simon, Interview by Giorgia Feroldi