MILAN — A report about Moncler on Italian TV show “Report” on Sunday caused the fashion brand to take legal action against the program as the company’s shares fell 4.7 percent to close at 10.54 euros, or $13.20 at current exchange.
This story first appeared in the November 4, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Stemming from “Report” investigations in Hungary into the malpractice of plucking goose feathers by harming and badly impairing the animals, the show pointed its finger at Moncler, charging the company with the purchase of feathers for its down coats from Hungary and without abiding with European regulations. In addition to impacting the company’s shares, the program spurred a social media outcry against the brand.
Moncler denied the claims, saying it would take legal action against the show and issuing a statement Monday that said “all the down used by the company is sourced from strictly certified suppliers that adhere to the principles established by the European Down and Feather Association and that they are obliged contractually to guarantee their respect for the treatment of animals, as set out in Moncler’s Ethical Code,” which the company said was available on the brand’s Web site. The firm said all of its down suppliers are located in France, Italy and North America. “Therefore there is absolutely no link between Moncler and the distressing images transmitted that relate to farmers, suppliers and companies that are operating illegally or unacceptably; these were linked in a deliberately misleading way by the program to Moncler,” the brand added.
“Report” also chastised Moncler and Prada for outsourcing the production of some of their goods outside Italy, to the detriment of local small and medium-size manufacturers. The show’s reporters are seen traveling as far as Trans-Dniestr, a Soviet breakaway territory near Moldova and Ukraine, where underpaid workers are allegedly working for the brands, according to “Report.” While Prada declined to comment, Moncler confirmed that, “as stated but ignored by ‘Report,’ it produces in Italy and in Europe. The company produces goods in Italy in limited quantities and in Europe in locations capable of producing in greater volumes and with a high level of technical know-how that guarantees the quality required by Moncler’s customers.”
The company claims to have “always” produced in Eastern Europe, therefore underscoring “that it has never transferred its production away from Italy in the way described by the program. In Italy, Moncler has continued to work closely and efficiently with the very best suppliers.”
The show also criticized the industry’s mark-ups. “The cost of the product, as is normal in the luxury sector, is multiplied by a factor of 2.5 from the manufacturer to the retailer to cover indirect, management and distribution costs,” said Moncler. “In each country, the final selling price is then established depending on the mark-up applied in that specific market. It is therefore clear that the sums referred to in the program [i.e. 40/50 euros, or $50/$62, for a jacket whose retail price is around 1,000 euros, or $1,252], that take into account only a small part of the overall cost of the product, are utterly unreliable and misleading.”
Despite its aggressive crusade against the industry, one brand emerged unscathed by the show: Brunello Cucinelli, praised by “Report” for the namesake entrepreneur’s efforts and investments to preserve production in Italy.