Fabio Ducci

Despite the critical global situation, OLG Onward Luxury Group continues to invest in enlarging its portfolio.

The luxury group — which controls a range of brands, including Jil Sander and Joseph, and produces under license the accessories collections of JW Anderson, See by Chloé and Proenza Schouler, among others — has signed a new five-year licensing agreement with Elie Saab. Starting from the spring 2021 collection, OLG will manufacture and distribute the footwear and leather goods lines of the Lebanese luxury brand.

“From the fall/winter 2020 collection, we started producing Elie Saab ready-to-wear collections in our factory in Bergamo,” explained OLG chief executive officer Fabio Ducci. “During several dinners with Elie we started discussing the possibility to develop a new collaboration for accessories and bags and we signed this deal, which is aimed at further boosting the business of this successful, prestigious brand.”

OLG’s expansion plan doesn’t stop there. Ducci said that with the fall 2021 seasons, OLG will introduce two new important licenses in the footwear segment, while he is also negotiating another high-profile deal in the ready-to-wear arena. “This might be more than a license,” Ducci hinted.

At the same time OLG, which operates two physical stores in Milan and Paris, is launching next week a new retail project: a digital platform called Blancah offering the accessories collections of a selection of both its house and licensee brands. For the launch, Blancah will carry the lineups of Joseph, See by Chloé, JW Anderson, Proenza Schouler, Brock Collection, and Federico Curradi, as well as emerging labels F_WD, Carlotha Ray and Maria Luca.

Blancah digital platform

Blancah digital platform.  Courtesy of OLG

“With the launch of this online retail project we are also defining the restyling of our stores’ concept,” said Ducci, who added that the company is looking for two new retail locations, in New York and London. “Compatibly with the current situation of the markets, we plan to open in the first quarter of 2021.”

In terms of wholesale distribution, Ducci expects spring 2021 orders to be down by between 20 and 25 percent compared to the same season last year. “I have to say that I feel pretty happy with the results of the sales campaign, my expectations in the past few months were much darker,” said Ducci, who praised the efficiency of the company’s wholesale e-commerce platform developed in collaboration with NuOrder.

Asked about the most critical issues the company is facing, Ducci cited the increased price of shipping goods, as well as the worrying situation of the U.S. market, which accounts for 30 percent of OLG’s total business.

“We expect to close 2020 down 15 percent compared to 2019,” said Ducci, citing the non-delivered spring 2020 goods and the cancellation of many fall 2020 orders as the causes of this year’s revenue decline.