Number of locations
|Paolo Zegna (Chairman)
Gildo Zegna (CEO)
|Products||Men's suits, fabric, accessories, shoes, small and large leathergoods|
|Services||Made to measure suits, overcoats, shirts, ties|
|Revenue||€1.3 billion (2013)|
Ermenegildo Zegna (Italian pronunciation: [eɾmeneˌʤildo ˈʣeɲɲa]) (often abbreviated and known simply as Zegna) is an Italian luxury fashion house that makes men's clothing and accessories. Founded in 1910 when Ermenegildo bought his father's textile looms, it is now managed by the fourth generation of the Zegna family and remains in family ownership. As well as producing men's suits for its own labels, it also manufactures suits for Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Dunhill and Tom Ford. As one of the biggest global producers of fine fabrics (2.3 million metres per year), Zegna has been active in promoting improvements in wool production around the world. Zegna is the largest menswear brand in the world by revenue. Alessandro Sartori oversees creative direction for all departments of the brand.
Prior to the founding of the company, founder Ermenegildo Zegna’s father Angelo owned a wooden mill and looms in the Alps located above Piedmont, Italy. Ermenegildo Zegna founded the company in 1910 in Trivero in the Biellese prealps, utilizing his father’s looms and assets. The original name of the company was changed to Fratelli Zegna di Angelo in 1915.
Zegna quickly gained a reputation for producing fine quality fabrics for suits, and by the end of the 1930s, the wool mill employed 1,000 workers. In 1938 the Zegna Woollens Corporation was set up in New York although exports were not helped by the privations of war. When Ermenegildo Zegna's sons Aldo (born 1920) and Angelo (born 1924) joined the company in 1942, it was renamed Ermenegildo Zegna and Sons.
By 1955, the company employed 1,400 workers. In 1963, the company began presenting the Ermenegildo Zegna Wool Awards, with the first ceremony held in Tasmania, Australia. As Zegna has been one of the largest buyers of Australian wool since the 1920s, the company established the awards to note the finest purveyor of Australian wool in each calendar year. In 2002 the company started awarding a second trophy for wool measuring 13.9 microns and under—the “Vellus Aureum” award. The 50th anniversary awards ceremony in 2013 was held in Sydney’s Fox Studios, which was accompanied by a one-off Zegna designed Australian Celebration Collection.
Ermenegildo died in 1966 at the age of 74. Aldo and Angelo took over the business, and two years later they launched a line of ready-to-wear men's suits produced in Zegna's factory in Novara. Following this, Zegna launched its knitwear line, a casual wear line, and then an accessories line. Angelo was in charge of men’s wear and accessories, and Aldo was in charge of textiles, through the 1990s. In 1973 Zegna was one of the first Italian brands to internationalize their production, opening factories in Spain in 1973 and Switzerland in 1977. During the 1980s, the company opened flagship stores in sixteen different countries.
The children of Aldo and Angelo took roles with the company as well as they came of age, and by 1990 Angelo’s son Gildo was head of the apparel division, his daughter Anna was head of store planning, and Aldo’s son Paolo was the marketing director of the textile division. At the time, the company pledged to not drive growth through acquisitions, but instead looked to grow its main business of fashion and apparel. Lisa Bannon wrote that year that, “The younger generation, all in their thirties, are now plotting the strategy of the group for the '90s with much the same conservative, yet forward- thinking, planning of their fathers and grandfather.”
As of 1999, the Zegna Group had eight manufacturing plants in Italy, two in Spain, three in Switzerland, one in Mexico and one in Turkey. While many Zegna suits are factory-produced, the majority of premium suits are still made-to-measure. GQ Magazine wrote that Zegna has been a major proponent of establishing the reputation for the term “Made in Italy” and that the fashion house “arguably has done more than any other to make these three words an international benchmark”.
The first boutique was opened in Paris in 1980, followed by Milan in 1985. By 1990 the company was one of the largest apparel producers in Italy. It also imported thistles from Calabria as a part of its fabric finishing operations. That year, the company represented 30% of the world’s total marketshare of luxury men’s wear. In 1991, Zegna became the first luxury apparel company to enter the Chinese market, opening three boutiques in the country between that year and 1993. By 2014 the company had 70 stores in greater China—including a store opened in Shanghai for the company’s 100th anniversary in 2010. Stores have also been opened in South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and Nigeria.
In 1994 the company had 130 stores, before investing in an effort to grow to 200 stores by 1997. In 1999, Zegna opened its first store in India, when the nation opened its first ever shopping mall, Crossroads, located in the city of Mumbai. During the 2000s, the company began producing a youth-oriented line called Z Zegna. In 2013 their numbers had grown to 550 boutiques.
Aldo died in 2000; Angelo remains the Honorary President of the company. A fourth generation successor team selected Angelo’s son, and namesake of the company’s founder, Ermenegildo “Gildo” Zegna, as the new CEO of the company starting in 1997. The company continues to be doing business in Trivero, its original location of more than one hundred years.
Zegna's range includes fabrics, suits, neckties, knitwear, shirts, accessories and sportswear. They have also branched out in other areas, for instance upholstering the interior of automobiles such as the Lancia Trevi Volumex in 1982, and a limited edition, sixth generation Maserati Quattroporte sedan.
Ermenegildo Zegna has a yearly output of over 2.3 million meters of fabric, 600,000 sleeve units suits, 1.6 million pieces of sportswear and 1.7 million textile accessories. Zegna employs over 7,000 workers worldwide. The export quota was more than 90% in 2010 divided equally between Europe, Americas and Asia. As one of the biggest buyers of ultra-fine Merino wool, Ermenegildo Zegna has encouraged, supported and rewarded the efforts of the Australian wool industry since 1963 in the production of finer and softer wools.
In 2002 the Ermenegildo Zegna Vellus Aureum Trophy was launched for wool that is 13.9 micron and finer. Wool from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa may be entered and a winner is named from each country. In 2010 a soft ultra-fine, 10-micron fleece, from Windradeen, New South Wales set a new world record in the fineness of wool fleeces when it won the Ermenegildo Zegna Vellus Aureum International Trophy.
In 2006 Ermenegildo Zegna partnered with designer Tom Ford to help him launch his eponymous label, in 2007 with Perofil to produce a new line of men’s undergarments. In 2014 Maserati produced a luxury sedan, described by Style.com as a “limited-edition, sixth generation Maserati Quattroporte sedan with a custom-kitted Zegna interior in high performance leathers, silk, and woolen herringbone fabrics in moka and light gray”. One hundred were produced. The group partners with Girard-Perregaux for its timepiece collection. In February 2014, the Ermenegildo Zegna Group signed a ten-year licensing agreement for the manufacture of eyewear with the Marcolin Group, and it also has a licensing agreement with Estée Lauder on its fragrance line. Zegna partnered with Italian Writing instrument maker, Omas, to produce a line of pens.
Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody advertised Zegna's Spring/Summer 2003 and Fall/Winter 2003 lines. Model Ryan Burns was the face of the F/W 2012 campaign and the 2013 debut of the Uomo fragrance, as well as the summer 2015 launch of Acqua di Bergamotto fragrance. Irish actor Jamie Dornan modeled Ermenegildo Zegna Couture in 2013 for the line's Spring/Summer 2014 campaign. Sam Riley modeled its autumn/winter 2015 campaign. The F/W 14 Lookbook was modeled by Latvian Janis Ancens and South African Shaun De Wet. In 2014 Zegna commissioned Park Chan-wook to create a 4-part series of short films collectively titled A Rose Reborn starring Daniel Wu. The Couture S/S 2015 campaign was photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin with art direction by Giovanni Bianco.
During the 1930s, the company funded reforestation projects for the mountains near Trivero, Italy, the city where the company was founded, in addition to other environmental projects in the region, before the advent of popular ecology. This initiative has continued to modern day times with the company, and has been expanded to include an environmental education program. Zegna has also sponsored art exhibitions at galleries including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. ZegnArt is the company's platform that supports initiatives in the field of contemporary art, like the exhibition Fabulae Romanae at MAXXI in Rome, and a one-year programme in India, part of the “ZegnArt Public” project, in which Zegna commissioned local exhibitions and artists—including sending artists to Italy on a bursary to study art.
In 2009 Zegna established a project supporting 200 families in the Picotani aboriginal community from Peru, channeling clean water into the community for expanded agriculture, and building transportation channels from their community to connect to the outside world. In Peru, Zegna has also cooperated with the Peruvian government in funding conservation efforts of the country’s national animal, the vicuña. In February 2014, the company started a scholarship to promote "excellence in Italy". The scholarship fund started in 2014 with €25 million (roughly US$34.3 million), to be used over 25 years.
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