Renzo Rosso
Renzo Rosso
 

18 Oct. 2013

Three questions to Renzo Rosso, president, Diesel and OTB

For the first time in Italy, Milan has hosted Decoded Fashion, the international forum aimed at fashion insiders, and digital and start-up companies.

Among experts, editors, insiders and "start-uppers", the event hosted also Renzo Rosso, president, Diesel and OTB, who explains how important technology is to the development and success of the fashion world.

How is technology changing the fashion and apparel production chain, from your point of view and experience?
I have always been a fan of technology and innovation, In fact, our company was the first in Italy to employ a fax machine in 1981. We were also the first to use a laser table for cutting prototype samples. Shortly thereafter we began to employ a fully integrated system which allows us to communicate with every agent and filial, in any part of the world, in real time.

Today technology continues to help us a lot - in every aspect of our work. For instance, our design office employs special avatars in developing collections. We create avatars that resemble every body type – be them European, Asian or, for instance, Brazilian. This way our design office can build garments according to different body types and have patterns designed, cut and sent directly to our sample production divisions, very quickly. Through this technology you could ideally even organise your own fashion shows, remotely, by creating special avatars and sending them to everyone in your team, in every corner of the world, and everyone could view the show from the comfort of their home.

We also employ purely digital look books that can be used for international press offices, salespeople and agents, in every corner of the world. And, in case we decide not to produce an item, we cancel it from the book and no time or energy is wasted selling an item that won't be produced. I started employing these digital books even before the iPad was invented. In fact I used tablets in the beginning. And when the iPad was invented, I wanted every employee to have one, since so much can be done with it!

What about the future of the company? How is technology affecting your future developments?
In a few days you will see a new ad campaign released via web for our #dieselreboot project created by Nicola Formichetti. It was shot entirely by photographer Nick Knight with an iPhone. This new campaign will represent an epoch change in advertising.

How important is technology in boosting your company's sales?
In terms of turnover, e-commerce still represents a small part - about 6% of our sales, though the work we can do via digital tools is terrific. 80% of our customers who buy from our stores have first visited our website. What we sell best mostly depends upon what we present on-line. Moreover, I act through all of the social networks and I know that what is posted online is there for ever because the web is real and you cannot cheat consumers. Today consumers are much more learned and know exactly what they want - differently from what Steve Jobs has always said. In any case I often receive compliments via Twitter and very few criticisms, but when I get a complaint I always try to answer it.

I also adore start-up companies - especially in the digital business. They are pure energy for me. Through our own Red Circle Investments we also recently bought a quota of Depop (editor's note: a mobile app and a social network and marketplace through which anyone can buy and sell secondhand apparel and accessories) which was created inside H-Farm, a project involved with start-ups Diesel is partner of. When I visit H-Farm, I'm always astonished and think how much can change. It also inspires me to think what else I could change, for instance in my company, because I'm never happy with what I'm doing and think it can always become better... even when I walk through my home I always try to think what else I could change..."

Maria Cristina Pavarini

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