AGL is a beloved Italian brand, having been run by the Giusti family for three generations, since its founding in 1958. Following in the footsteps of their grandfather Piero, the Giusti sisters Sara, Vera and Marianna now lead the Made in Italy footwear business – and are taking it into 2020 with an infusion of new ideas.
Operating a brand this year looks very different to any previous time. Companies must manage safety protocols, which sometimes require engaging with customers and vendors remotely. The showroom environment must also be redesigned, so that buyers and shoppers can safely browse the collections in person. AGL is committed to letting its partners interact with the brand in whichever way they prefer, so that the product can be experienced in the best way possible.
“Our motto is ‘go local, go digital,’” said Sara Giusti, head of sales at AGL. “We strongly believe it is necessary to have a presence both physically and digitally, to offer our partners the most opportunities possible to reach us and interact with our brand.”
By presenting physical showrooms in footwear hotspots such as Milan, New York and Paris, AGL lets its customers experience the shoes first-hand. For those browsing the collection from afar, a new partnership with digital wholesale platform Joor means that they can explore the footwear in high definition and with video – a near perfect replication.
Technology is also being incorporated into how AGL supports its retail partners, as they navigate a new shopping landscape. The brand has created a series of videos and shareable content, which its partners can use to help promote AGL product on their social media channels. The AGL team is also available for virtual trunk shows and seminars, for those who want to learn more about the footwear.
“We wanted to be as close as possible to our partner and their new needs,” said Sara. “Our relationship with our partners have improved and strengthened through this time of distancing.”
It is not only the brand’s external relationships that have grown stronger; the sisters report a closer bond between themselves and within the company more broadly. There has always been an emphasis on inclusivity at AGL: the workforce consists of 60 percent women and represents 14 nationalities. By using video conferencing to improve communication, all employees have been able to contribute to the brand’s mission even during the pandemic.
“This multicultural environment has always been a value for our company,” said Vera Giusti artistic director at AGL. “We have always felt that the shoemaking expertise and know-how passed down from our grandfather could only grow further when executed through the skills and talent of artisans from different cultures and countries.”
This care extends to the way that AGL produces its footwear. Made entirely from Italian materials and produced completely in-house, AGL shoes are also made on-demand to help reduce waste and excess inventory. The sisters look to their archives for ways to upcycle leftover materials, including using scraps of leathers or fabrics materials to create small accessories for press giveaways.
The result of this creativity is a new 2020 collection that offers a fresh take on the AGL spirit of femininity and quality. The brand is known for its energy and style, but the newest line embraces a feeling of lightness and positivity. The collection uses delicate shades of butter and mint green, to evoke spring and freshness, while also providing superior comfort.
“We want this collection to form the basis for a restart, for new beginnings,” said the sisters in a joint statement. “We have been focusing around comfort and ‘feel good’ elements, creating hybrid shapes that transition seamlessly from indoor to outdoor. Soles are extra padded for added softness and stress-free fit.”