MILAN — Diesel Jeans became the latest Italian company to make the leap into the luxury goods market with its acquisition of Staff International.
Staff, based near Vicenza in northeastern Italy, owns the New York Industrie and Gym brands and makes lines under license for Martin Margiela, Vivienne Westwood and Atsuro Tayama. It also produces Diesel’s fashion-forward sportswear line — DieselStyleLab — under license. A Diesel statement said Staff’s fall 2000 production and distribution plans wouldn’t be affected by the purchase and that shows for the spring 2001 season would take place as planned.
Diesel principal Renzo Rosso said, “We wanted to diversify, and for us, Staff is all about new luxury — luxury for people in their 20s and 30s.” He added that Diesel planned to both add and subtract names from Staff’s current stable of brands to make the company more focused and profitable and “to ensure that all the lines have the same final customer.”
Rosso said any addition of labels would be through acquisitions. “I’m not a big believer in licenses. I believe in owning brands and supporting new names that need financing to grow.”
Rosso said he expected Diesel sales to reach $325 million this year. The Staff acquisition will add another $25 million to Diesel’s yearend results. In addition to its wholesale activities, Diesel operates 120 name brand stores around the world.