It’s a year now since COVID-19 really took over in Europe and lockdown’s began to happen. But how did this really affect the fashion industry. Will it ever go back to what it once was? Will there be live fashion show and real street style once again?
Last visit to Milan for fashion week Izabela and I met up with Paolo Zuntini, CEO and creative director for Eleventy in Milan. It was super interesting to hear what he had to say. How things changed for Eleventy, the impact COVID-19 had even on the next collection and the future as he sees it.
Keep reading for the full story: “How COVID-19 really affected the fashion industry – talking to Eleventy’s CEO and creative director, Paolo Zuntini in Milan.”
How COVID-19 really affected the fashion industry – talking to Eleventy’s CEO and creative director, Paolo Zuntini in Milan.
Eleventy is an Italian brand founded in Milan in 2007 by Marco Baldassari and Paolo Zuntini. The idea behind the brand is to promote the concept of smart luxury. Smart luxury in the two men’s eyes, being; “a modern interpretation of the human being’s path in the world with a versatile and casual style”.
In 2014 Vei Capital, the private equity operator, took over 51% of the company. Then in 2016 Eleventy USA was born with headquarters in New York.
Today you will find Eleventy clothing sold in numerous boutiques, shop-in-shops and corners present in the most important and famous shop windows in the world, from Europe to Australia, as well as a dense network of high-level multi-brand stores distributed all over the world.
Now for the big question: How did COVID-19 affect Eleventy?
Paolo: “It wasn’t easy, it was as if overnight we had to totally change the way we worked.”
They work with so many different suppliers and were not used to having to do the initial chain process virtual. They had many delays in the process. It wasn’t just not physically visiting suppliers but also the problem that the suppliers had to close down operations at times.
Paolo and the team had to make sure there was a constant form of communication going across the supply chain.
It was difficult to present new collections to buyers. Buyers who already knew the brand had an idea of the types of fabrics to expect but this was harder when it came to gaining new buyers.
Fortunately they had already started doing online trunk shows 2 years ago. Eleventy is now partnering with a new B2B platform, NuOrder and believe it to be the new reality. Paolo believes the future will focus on great photos and videos of new collections that in themselves portray the quality, texture and colour of the fabrics used.
Me: “I’m a little old school here and wonder what the effect of a non personal sales approach really will be. Having my own online business (FunkyForty GmbH), I still notice the importance of personally meeting people – it does make a difference.”
The general impression is that people in general are slowly prepared to look into social and environmental issues. Moving away from fast fashion.
Paolo and the team are now, more than ever ensuring to work with artisans who currently have difficulty getting work. Selecting specialists such as people with special shoe knowledge. A lot of research is done into the fabrics too before purchasing.
What about the collection – how has this changed for Fall Winter 21/22?
Paolo believes comfort will remain a top desire but coupled with beautiful. This collection is designed to be worn all day. Reflecting British countryside memories – a sort of Scottish diary. He says we need to adapt to the times when it comes to fashion.
This coming Fall/Winter will see that the shacket is here to stay. Hoodies and leisure wear will continue to feature. Oversized shirts with cuff detail as seen above, soft blousons with rounded sleeves and white corduroy will be awaiting us.
Dresses will be designed for comfort whilst multi pocket jackets with tight waist belts will add a sense of femininity.
I noticed plenty of chunky boots and baker boy caps dotted around the showroom.
The colour palette is wide ranging from neutrals right through through to picking up the luscious greens, honey, camel, plum and burnt sienna replicating the English countryside.
With all that has been happening recently, the time has come to slow down and rediscover the beauty of nature. This is where the inspiration has come from.
The question about the future of fashion?
Paolo looks and it is clear from the expression on his face that the future is unknown. The hope is there that all will return to normal. However COVID-19 has made people rethink what is important in life.
Will the Fashion shows go on?
Me: I’ll chip in here on a personal note and say that Camera Moda are convinced the shows will return. To what extent? That is yet to be seen…
Dear Paolo, thank you so much for taking the time to meet!
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nb: other than the one with me, photos taken by me.12 Persons think this post is funky