Gucci reveals sustainable plans to bring craftsmanship in-house
The Italian fashion powerhouse is taking operations to the next level by upping in-house manufacturing
Luxury Italian fashion house Gucci has announced it is to follow in the footsteps of British and French rivals Burberry and Louis Vuitton by bringing more of its manufacturing in-house, in a bid to keep up with increasing demand from Chinese shoppers. The brand, owned by Kering, plans to slash its reliance on independent leather goods suppliers by almost half – from 75 per cent to 40 per cent – as part of a renewed focus on sustainability and efficiency.
Gucci has recently bought out 10 local suppliers with a further 10 in its sights in the near future. The label hopes the move will enable greater control over production which will affect both quality and speed – the brand hopes to halve the turnaround time between a product's conception and delivery as a result. This means more time for innovation.
"If you internalise production you are able to experiment much more in terms of innovation.” Gucci’s CEO Marco Bizzarri said at the recent opening of Gucci ArtLab, a craftsmanship and innovation hub located just outside of Florence, where bag and shoe prototypes will be made and housed. “We want to reduce the lead time, and it’s not possible if you’re too scattered with small suppliers. We also need to make sure other brands are not stealing supply. Because of the growth we’re having, we need to protect our artisans."
Looking to the future of production, Bizzarri cited the practice of growing leather in laboratories as one potential successful lead the house could follow. The innovative shake-up follows Gucci’s recently-announced plans to reach €10 billion in annual sales in order to steal LVMH-owned Louis Vuitton’s title as the world’s biggest luxury label – a target it’s on track to meet. Since creative director’s Alessandro Michele appointment in 2015, Kering has reported an impressive rise in sales, which is projected to continue to soar.
But Gucci isn’t the only brand taking production in house. Fellow fashion giant Prada has also outlined plans to adopt the in-house manufacturing route. "One of the problems with outsourcing is one of quality. You need artisans, and the problem with craftsmanship is one of training, you can't find those kinds of people everywhere," Prada chairman Carlo Mazzi told Reuters.