Five Ques­tions

The VP of men’s footwear de­sign at Bruno Magli on com­pet­ing in the sneaker space and cater­ing to cus­tomers across the globe.

Footwear News - - CONTENTS - By Bar­bara Sch­nei­der-Levy

Bruno Magli's men’s de­signer on reach­ing a global cus­tomer.


How do you keep an 80-yearold brand like Bruno Magli rel­e­vant for to­day’s con­sumers? “A brand needs to ap­peal to them emo­tion­ally as well as sen­si­bly. On the emo­tional side, con­sumers are drawn to the aes­thetic: Does the prod­uct evoke a sense of lux­ury? Do the ma­te­ri­als look and feel rich and ar­ti­san? Is the prod­uct not rep­re­sented else­where in the mar­ket­place? On the sen­si­ble side, con­sumers are look­ing for value: Is the level of qual­ity as good or bet­ter than other lux­ury brands? In short, is the pur­chase one they’d make again?”


What are some of the big­gest chal­lenges you face right now? “The world has be­come a much smaller mar­ket with the emer­gence of e-com­merce. Re­tail has be­come more ho­mog­e­nized, and the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence is not what it was 10 years ago. That be­ing said, each mar­ket has its own needs. Ital­ians dress dif­fer­ently than Brits, who dress dif­fer­ently than Parisians, who dress dif­fer­ently than Amer­i­cans, who dress dif­fer­ently than men in Asia. When cre­at­ing a global col­lec­tion, it’s dif­fi­cult to sub­scribe to a spe­cific de­sign ax­iom. I try to en­sure we cover all cat­e­gories in a way that’s unique but that also sat­is­fies mul­ti­ple mar­kets.”


How closely do you work with Bruno Magli’s other de­sign teams to cre­ate a full lifestyle look? “[Be­cause we are] a footwear-dom­i­nated brand, much of the di­rec­tion comes from me and our women’s footwear de­signer, Clau­dia Ci­utti. We start the de­sign process early to al­low other cat­e­gories to fol­low the same trend and color di­rec­tion. I work closely with Mia Roth­stein, SVP and head of global brand mer­chan­dis­ing, who co­or­di­nates the de­sign ef­forts of all cat­e­gories to cre­ate co­he­sion.”


The brand’s roots are in the dress shoe cat­e­gory, so can Bruno Magli be­come a sneaker re­source? “Break­ing into an over­sat­u­rated lux­ury sneaker mar­ket isn’t an easy en­deavor. How­ever, the one thing we’ve found is that the con­sumer’s ap­petite for prod­uct in this cat­e­gory is in­sa­tiable. As our pres­ence in the footwear mar­ket con­tin­ues to in­crease, so will the num­ber of sneaker styles we of­fer.”


With prices on the higher end of the mar­ket, does the brand run the risk of pric­ing out younger shop­pers? “We’ve done a good job of po­si­tion­ing the brand at an at­tain­able price point for a lux­ury re­source. Sneak­ers re­tail from $350 to $425, dress shoes from $395 to $550 and boots at $595 to $650. As a fa­ther of two young men, ages 20 and 17, I look at their footwear pur­chases with a high de­gree of skep­ti­cism. They, along with most of their friends, seem to un­der­stand and ac­cept the price to play in the arena we call fash­ion. Their clos­ets are filled with Adi­das, Nike, Tim­ber­land and Vans, but the oc­ca­sional Yeezy, Supreme or lim­it­ededi­tion AF1 re­mind me that their gen­er­a­tion will be pre­pared to shop for more tai­lored lux­ury footwear.”

A spring ’19 Bruno Magli sneaker

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