Italian label Ermenegildo Zegna shares their secret to fashion success

Despite the casualisation of menswear and shifting consumer demands, men are not budging on their desire for quality, elegance and style.

At least, that's the observation of Paolo Zegna, Chairman of the Zegna Group, who is in Melbourne to talk all things business at VAMFF and share his family's success story when in town next week.

It was Zegna's late grandfather, Ermenegildo Zegna, who started the eponymous suiting business in 1910 and remains at the forefront of the luxury market more than 100 years later.

Tradition and innovation

They're just as keen to keep their traditional suit-wearing customer as they are about appealing to the liberated fashion set: an evolving silhouette, use of premium wool and a cutting edge athleisure line has driven the brand into the digital age.

In January this year, the Zegna Couture Show in Milan gave us a sneak peek of Zegna's future, showing us that under the debut creative direction of Alessandro Sartori a tailoring brand can be much more than just filtering the two-piece into the workplace.

For Sartori, the collection was all about creating sport-couture attire that leans on suiting's premium tailoring with a desire for modern chic (trousers with sweat pant hems); single-breasted loose fitting suits with drop-crotch trouser and chunky roll neck knits and quilted gilets for a ski-inspired nod to the brand's alpine roots.

Redefining everyday elegance

"We are redefining a new kind of everyday elegance," says Zegna of the new age hybrid tailoring featured at Milan.

"Under the creative direction of Alessandro Sartori we have created a modern interpretation of clothing that blends chic elegance with an effortless almost sporty attitude," he says.

Family values

With his grandfather's vision in mind, being a heritage brand puts Zegna ahead of its competitors.

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"The world is changing quickly but the values – the real ones – remain the same," Zegna says of his own approach to the business.

"The strong values imposed by my grandfather are evolving and expanded into a larger reality," he explains.

"Part of Zegna's success is also in our ability to reinvent ourselves all the time and for every collection. To do this we observe the changes and try to anticipate market needs, which are often different than trends," he says.

All about the people

Work practice aside, Zegna also says the key to succeeding in business is never underestimating the importance of good sales people.

In store stylists who help curate looks for consumers will help put brands ahead of the game says Zegna.

The merging of casual chic and contemporary elegance in menswear means not all guys know how to pull off the look successfully. Having a stylist guide your clients will put your brand ahead.

What's behind the clothes

"A good sales person who can translate the customer's desires in a different type of offer is key here," says Zegna.

"There's an increasingly sophisticated self-consciousness and maturity in what a man chooses to wear. His mood, the occasion, the circumstances and how he feels about himself and the look he is after are factors that influence his choices," he says.

"At the same time however the underlying heritage of beautiful clothing and an appreciation of quality, style and elegance hasn't changed. If anything, it has evolved to include a genuine interest in knowing what's behind the clothing and the brand itself."

Paolo Zegna is a guest of VAMFF.