MILAN — Mario Filippi Coccetta, chief executive officer of Fabiana Filippi, is staying positive, standing by his belief that investments in quality and craftsmanship will serve the company well as it faces the inevitable hurdles the coronavirus pandemic has strewn around the world.
“We have been relying on a solid financial position, which has helped us weather the storm. Of course, we faced the problems everyone else did and a number of our wholesale accounts pulled some orders,” said Filippi Coccetta, who shares his job title with his brother Giacomo. “But we have great enthusiasm, we are working on being more efficient, without cutting corners, relying on quality and innovation to be prepared when things will pick up after 2021.”
The Perugia, Italy-based fashion company, known for its precious cashmere designs, is leveraging the brand’s draw on “utility, not vanity.” The timelessness of the clothes are an opportunity at this moment, said the executive. “Our fashion is for women who want to feel well throughout the day and this has always been a strong concept for us.”
In the first week of August, the company will start to sell its spring 2021 collection to wholesalers online and physically through its showrooms in New York, Milan, Paris and Munich. “We have rationalized the collection, which does not mean it’s smaller, but rather closer to what women need,” Filippi Coccetta contended. The brand has always supported the classic seasonal collections twice a year, “because quality and craftsmanship excellence require time.”
Since the spring 2020 season has been impacted the most by the pandemic, Filippi Coccetta said some pieces from that collection will be carried over across seasons until next spring through all the brand’s channels. “We don’t want to endorse heavy discounting, stocking or burning clothes. We give dignity to the designs, such as a silk top or a light cashmere coat that can be worn in any season,” he said.
This is mindful of the environment, a key interest for Filippi Coccetta, who revealed that a collection in organic cotton will be available in and dedicated to the U.S. market with the spring season. The American region accounts for 12 percent of the company’s sales.
Fabiana Filippi counts 72 stores around the world and about 1,100 wholesale accounts.
“All our stores have reopened, but we are not back to the normal volumes, given the lack of tourists. Online fared well, but it’s still a small business, accounting for 3 percent of sales,” he admitted. The online showroom has been a tool, but Filippi Coccetta said it was limiting. “You really need to touch and feel the details of the product with a brand such as Fabiana Filippi,” he noted.
The manufacturing plant is working at full speed with double shifts to respect COVID-19 protective measures and it is producing the fall collection, with no plans to close during the month of August, a staple holiday moment in Italy. “We have to make up for lost time,” said Filippi Coccetta. The company employs 280 workers around the world. Exports last year accounted for 75 percent of revenues.
“We are thinking in terms of a medium-term objective, monitoring the situation daily, with the help of a stop-and-go flexibility,” he observed.