Ermenegildo Zegna (Italian pronunciation: [eɾmeneˌʤildo ˈʣeɲɲa]) (often abbreviated and known simply as Zegna) is an Italian luxury fashion house. Founded by Ermenegildo Zegna in 1910, in Trivero, Biella Province of the Piedmont Region of Northern Italy, Ermenegildo Zegna remains one of the most renowned businesses in Italy.
|Paolo Zegna (Chairman) Ermenegildo Zegna (CEO) Anna Zegna (President of Fondazione Zegna) Alessandro Sartori (artistic director)|
|Revenue||€1.159 billion (2018)|
|€34 million (2018)|
Number of employees
Foundation and early yearsEdit
Prior to the founding of the company, founder Ermenegildo Zegna's father Angelo – a former watchmaker – owned a wool mill and looms in the Alps of Piedmont, Italy. Ermenegildo, together with his brothers Edoardo and Mario, founded the company in 1910 in Trivero in the Biellese Alps when he was only 18, utilizing his father's looms and assets. In 1915 the company was renamed Fratelli Zegna di Angelo.
Zegna's vision was to create high-quality fabrics, so he began to source wool directly from several countries around the world, such as Mongolia, Australia, South Africa; he also bought modern machinery from England.
During the Interwar period, Zegna's business started to flourish. In the late 1920s, the Lanificio (wool mill) employed more than 700 workers, growing to more than 1,000 in the late 1930s. In 1938 the company began to export fabrics in the US. through its subsidiary Zegna Woollens Corporation established in New York City.
In 1942, Ermenegildo's sons Aldo (born in 1920) and Angelo (born in 1924) entered the company, which was renamed Ermenegildo Zegna and Sons. In the mid-1950s, the company employed 1,400 workers.
Ermenegildo Zegna's sons, Aldo and Angelo, took over the company in the mid-1960s. Under their guide, the label both expanded its business to ready-made suits and established new plants and distribution network abroad. In 1968, the first factory producing sleeve-units and trousers was opened in Novara, followed by openings in Spain, Greece, and Switzerland. Sales and marketing departments were also established in France, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S.
In 1972, Zegna launched its made-to-measure service called Su Misura.
The international development strategy run by the Zegna brothers brought to the openings of the first owned boutique in Paris in 1980, followed by Milan in 1985. In 1991 Zegna became the first luxury label to open a store in China.
During the 1990s, the third generation of the Zegna family entered the business. Angelo's son, and namesake of the company's founder, Ermenegildo "Gildo" Zegna, became CEO of the Group in 1997; his cousin Paolo became the chairman. They are still at the helm today.
In 2008, the Group established its new headquarters in Milan, in a building designed by architects Antonio Citterio and Gianmaria Beretta.
Moreover, a large number of acquisitions and partnerships have been signed since the late 1990s to the present day.
In 2014, Zegna acquired the majority of Achill, an Australian wool farm counting about 12,500 sheep in its flock.
In 2016, the Group acquired a majority stake in Bonotto, a high-end textile manufacturer based in Molvena, Vicenza, Italy, giving the Group the possibility to explore new areas such as furnishing and experimental fabrics.
Two years later, Zegna – through its subsidiary ZECA company – took over the historic Cappellificio Cervo hat-maker.
In 2018, Ermenegildo Zegna Group – already present in India with three stores – together with Reliance, acquired a stake into Indian fashion designer Raghavendra Rathore's firm. In the same year Zegna announced that they purchased 85% of the eponymously named Thom Browne, a New York City-based menswear and womenswear brand, founded in 2001.
Ermenegildo Zegna Group, that entered the fragrances market in 2003, signed a worldwide licensing agreement with Estée Lauder on its fragrance line in 2011. Recent lines include the Essenze Eau de Parfum collection launched in 2019.
Zegna have also been in partnership with famous Italian luxury vehicle manufacturer Maserati since 2013, to produce custom-kitted interior, as well as several collections of leather goods, travel-friendly clothing and personal accessories.
Alessandro Sartori oversees creative direction for all departments of the brand. He was appointed as artistic director in June 2016, when he came back to Zegna after serving the label from 2003 to 2011 as creative director.
Ermenegildo Zegna Group is the largest menswear brand in the world by revenue. As of 2018, Ermenegildo Zegna operated 480 retail stores (267 of which company-owned) across the world. Following the company's strongly export-oriented strategy, exports account for over 90% of total sales.
Zegna is now managed by the third generation of the Zegna family and remains in family ownership. Ermenegildo (Gildo) Zegna is currently the CEO; his cousin Paolo Zegna is the company's chairman; Anna Zegna is President of Fondazione Zegna. Ermenegildo's son, Angelo, is the honorary chairman.
A number of actors and models have advertised Zegna's lines through the years. Celebrities featured in Zegna's advertising campaigns include Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, American model Ryan Burns, Irish actor Jamie Dornan, English actor Sam Riley.
In 2017, Ermenegildo Zegna launched a four-chapter campaign called Defining Moments. The campaign featured Robert De Niro, McCaul Lombardi, Benjamin Millepied, Park Chan-wook, Yoo Ji-tae, Wang Deshun, Sunny Wang, Javier Bardem, Dev Patel. The first three chapters were directed by Craig McDean; the last one was directed by Luca Guadagnino.
During the 1930s, founder Ermenegildo Zegna actively promoted social facilities in his native town Trivero. Before the advent of popular ecology, he also planted thousands of trees and financed the panoramic road which was named after him. In 1993, Ermenegildo Zegna Group created the Oasi Zegna, a protected natural area of 100 km2 in the mountains surrounding Trivero. In 2014 the Oasi was granted the patronage of FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the National Trust of Italy.
Since 2014, the Group has been financing the 25-year project called the Ermenegildo Zegna Founder's Scholarship. The program provides €1 million annually to enable talented Italian graduates to pursue international postgraduate studies, while encouraging them to return to Italy upon completion of their programs abroad.
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