Massimo Giorgetti of MSGM: “fashion must be light, but considered”
MGSM, the contemporary ready-to-wear brand launched by Massimo Giorgetti (42) in 2009, is enjoying ever-growing success. The designer grew up in San Mauro Pascoli, near Rimini, between his parents’ embroidery workshop and his uncle’s textile laboratory.
Influenced by casual sportswear, he made graphic prints and colour his trademark. For the tenth anniversary of his brand, Giorgetti will return to the Pitti Uomo menswear trade show in Florence, Italy, six years after having been invited as one of the forces behind the new-wave Made in Italy movement. Giorgetti will present his new menswear collection on June 13 and spoke to FashionNetwork.com for the occasion.
Founded with the support of Manifattura Paoloni, which produces the brand’s collections, MSGM welcomed a funding injection from the Italian firm Style Capital in 2018. Style Capital increased its stake in the label to 32 percent (Paoloni holds 49 percent and Giorgetti holds 19 poncent).
The brand achieved a turnover of €51 million, representing a 21.4 percent increase compared to 2017. The brand has 32 global stores and plans to increase the total to 43 by the end of 2019 and is also present in 600 multi-brand stores.
Europe represents 45 percent of MSGM’s sales, Asia 30 percent, the Americas 10 percent, and the rest of the world 15 percent. In September, MSGM’s flagship store in Milan will relocate from Ponte Vetero to Via Broletto, still in the Brera quarter, with an increase in store size from 80 to 300 square metres. Among his other projects, following the recent launch of an underwear line, Giorgetti plans to launch an activewear line.
FashionNetwork.com: How are you celebrating your brand’s tenth anniversary?
Massimo Giorgetti: For me, it’s not a point of arrival but rather a starting point. The brand’s anniversary runway show at Pitti Uomo will be neither nostalgic, nor a celebration, but it will represent the young and energetic spirit of MSGM with a DJ, an artist, and a new collaboration. The idea is to restore the brand’s identity through colours and prints while moving to a more streamlined design. We will present the show at a large sporting venue, the Forum Nelson Mandela, which will be a first for Pitti Uomo.
FNW: What made you want to use an investment fund last year?
MG: For nine years I personally took care of everything from designing to brand development, always on the front line with suppliers and distributors running from Japan to Hong Kong. I wanted to free myself from this so I could concentrate on the collections. This is why I decided to bring in Style Capital to the brand’s funds last year, which had previously been owned 50/50 by myself and the Paoloni group, which has been my producer since the beginning.
FNW: What has changed at the business since Style Capital’s entry?
MG: We are still in a learning phase. I want to emphasise that these investors are Italian. They believe in the value of people and that is why we chose them. They entered the business in a very delicate manner. The founder of the fund, Roberta Benaglia, is now the CEO at MSGM. In the wake of this appointment, we recruited managerial staff including a sales manager and a merchandise manager. The strategy is to expand internationally and to strengthen retail.
FNW: How has your brand evolved over the past 10 years?
MG: MSGM began with a very simple identity, mainly casual clothing, street-sweats, jeans, t-shirts, men’s shirts, jerseys, and tie-dye. Today, easy and youthful style is everywhere! Fashion has evolved in the direction of MSGM’s style over the past few years.
For example, when I started, it was hard to sell my menswear because men’s fashion at the time was polarised between classic and youthful style. My line of casual sportswear sat between those two styles and did not work. Nowadays, this is what is sold everywhere. I was frustrated for a long time to the point of wanting to quit men’s fashion. Finally, thanks to my first show at Pitti Uomo in 2013, things changed. From that, I was invited to take part in Milan Fashion Week by the Camera della Moda and it all took off from there.
FNW: You were also one of the first to use an acronym as your brand name, now everyone does that...
MG: That’s right! I remember when I was often advised to add my full name to the four letters MSGM. And that’s not to mention my use of neon, fluorescents, and my graphic logo, where again I was somewhat of a pioneer.
FNW: Now everyone has started, competition in your niche has increased. How do you distinguish yourself?
MG: I have evolved, especially with construction details. I work more with the textiles and form with a more sartorial eye. What’s more, I would like to emphasise that we are 100 percent made in Italy, even including the basic parts. We are also a little more expensive in certain product categories, for example our socks retail at €25.
FNW: What do you think about the streetwear phenomenon?
MG: Street is far from finished, but it’s changing its formula. In fashion, it’s novelty that always wins. Major trends don’t tend to last for over five to six years. It’s a bit like what happened with the 90s, which saw its trends swept away by minimalism. What we’ve been through in the last three, four years is a sort of second decade of the 90s so we might end up arriving at some years of total purity.
FNW: What do you think of consumers today?
MG: At the moment, teenagers are the most passionate about fashion. They are the ones who influence the masses and trends the most. Today, they want to dress with some more serious pieces. Moccasins, tailoring, and jackets that we also see in womenswear. What’s interesting is to break up this formal style with streetwear pieces.
FNW: How has fashion evolved in recent years?
MG: Today, everything is very simple. Fashion has become easy: a double-breasted jacket, a striped knit, a pleated skirt. It’s definitely a bit repetitive. But what matters is storytelling, the history behind the product or collection. The role of the advertiser has become very important as it’s he who makes the rules.
FNW: What has changed fundamentally?
MG: In clothing, we are moving towards comfort and freedom. Young people in their 20s have no other interests. They are more into their diet and sport than we ever were. In general, people don’t want to waste their time shopping. They buy on the internet so clothes are more simple because they have to wearable by the masses. Shapes are less considered than before and what matters is to attract a customer through a digital image.
FNW: How do you see the market today?
MG: We are living in very interesting but very challenging times. Luxury has been “democratised” in some ways. It is no longer exclusive and wants to be inclusive. This has changed the rules in a very short period of time. Luxury brands have almost transformed into sportswear brands retailing shoes, socks, and belts… They have found a way to reach a mass audience. For certain products, their prices are similar to mine. I have to struggle to maintain the coolness factor of MSGM by maintaining a precise product strategy and keeping my prices a little below theirs. This is increasingly challenging as the prices of certain raw materials have exploded so I cannot afford some textiles any more.
FNW: After your experience as creative director at Emilio Pucci, which you left after two years, do you plan to collaborate with a big luxury brand again?
MG: My experience at Pucci was very important to me. I entered the brand a child and left an adult. I learned a lot about how luxury fashion works. Above all, I realised that I had created something special with MSGM and that I should return to the brand. I realised that it was an amazing opportunity to have been able to create whatever I wanted and now I appreciate and respect it. I am gratified and very happy with my brand. It now comprises menswear, womenswear, and accessories, as well as children’s wear, which I launched under licence in 2014 and which has a revenue total of €9 million. I don’t think that I would go and work for another brand again. I would actually like to open myself up to other product categories like home décor and design objects.
FNW: How would you define your brand in just a few words?
MG: MSGM is first and foremost a young brand. It’s a unique label with a strong component of energy, optimism, positivity, and joy. It’s light-hearted fashion, but not superficial. Fashion should be like that: light but considered; fresh but cultivated.
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