MILAN — Custo Barcelona is dreaming big.
“Custo Barcelona has always been an innovative brand, the Dalmau brothers are eclectic types always thinking outside the box and the label has maintained its awareness throughout the years,” said Luca Gori, general manager of Velmar, the Italian manufacturing company controlled by the Aeffe Group, referring to Custo Barcelona’s founders, siblings Custo and David Dalmau.
As reported, in July the Spanish brand established in 1996 signed a multiyear licensing agreement with the Rimini-based Velmar for the production and worldwide distribution of its collections.
“In order to preserve one’s DNA, it’s crucial to always reinvent and keep innovating,” noted Gori, adding his aim is to push the brand’s fashion offering into a more contemporary direction, not necessarily in terms of price point, which Gori stressed is highly dependent on the premium fabrics the network of Velmar’s manufacturers employ.
“We’re targeting a younger customer, being a market-oriented company forces us to stay true to the brand’s roots but also to sense and adapt to the shifts happening,” Gori remarked. For instance, he indicated a new model of multiple drops, potential collaborations with young designers and a see-now-buy-now strategy.
Marking its new course, the brand participated in both New York and Milan Fashion Weeks in September, presenting its main spring 2020 collection and a spin-off capsule collection, respectively. In addition, the Spanish label will debut a see-now-buy-now collection of quilted jackets for fall 2019 in November.
On the New York catwalk, Custo Barcelona also reintroduced its men’s line. In addition to representing a fast-growing category, Gori said “today the brand’s specifics resonate with the men’s customers more than ever, while in the past it may have been too daring.” Following the first sales campaign for spring 2020, which also tapped into fashion’s current appetite for logoed gear, men’s accounted for 40 percent of the orders, compared to an expected 30 percent.
In addition to preserving the label’s heritage, one rooted in flamboyant prints and bold color juxtapositions, Gori stressed the importance of a new distribution strategy, which is pivotal to restructuring. To this end, Custo Barcelona unveiled a new showroom in Milan’s Porta Nuova district.
“This had been essentially a wholesale-based brand, but coinciding with the peak of its expansion it invested a lot in directly operated retail,” he said. Velmar’s strategy, on the contrary, aims to reach 250 to 300 wholesale doors in 2020 as well as banking on e-commerce.
Custo Barcelona operates five flagship stores, in Madrid, Barcelona and Nice, France, and while retail expansion is not in Velmar’s pipeline, Gori said the brand could potentially find franchise partners in key regions where wholesale is weak, such as South America, the Far East and the Middle East.