Image courtesy of Highsnobiety.
As reported by both the
and Financial Times (a well-respected forum and shop for Stone Island collectors, archivists and fans) the two brands will unite under a new holding company named “DoubleR” (a nod to both Remo Ruffini and Stone Island chairman and CEO Carlo Rivetti). The Showroom
According to reports, the two brands will still operate largely independently, with a focus on
growing Stone Island internationally as opposed to dramatically shifting its successful strategy blending [technical innovation](grailed.com/drycleanonly/master-class-stone-island) with subcultural cachet.
“Remo and I have decided to combine forces and visions to meet together and with greater strength than ever the challenges we all face. We share the same roots, similar entrepreneurial journeys and the utmost respect for the profound values of our brands and our people. And we are Italians,”
Stone Island’s Rivetti explained in a statement. “Our headquarters in Ravarino will remain the beating heart of the brand and a center of excellence that will be further enhanced, and my team and I will continue, in our current roles, to do what we have been doing with great passion for many years.”
It’s clear that Ruffini feels the same way, aiming to keep the spirit of Stone Island largely unchanged. “Nothing will change. It’s only about improving things,” Ruffini explained on a call shortly after the announcement with
. “It’s about fine tuning almost anything like we did with [Moncler] back in the day...the DNA, the collection, the communication and product, don't have to change much. When I say fine tuning, what I mean is that we can always do better. We are going to help them to improve everything.” Highsnobiety
When discussing growth opportunities, few can deny that Moncler has set itself apart; Since Ruffini acquired Moncler in 2003, the brand “had multiplied its sales by a factor of nearly six in less than a decade, growing to €1.62 billion in revenue,” according to
. Thanks to the largely successful Moncler Genius program—which sees designers like Business of Fashion Alyx’s Matthew Williams, Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Fragment Design, Craig Green remix and inject their respective aesthetics into small collections for the brand—Moncler has maintained its dominance on the mountainside, on the runway and on social media timelines.
While talks of a pending deal with Gucci parent company Kering never materialized, it’s clear that Moncler is capitalizing on a post-pandemic fashion industry and teaming up with brands it’s excited to work with—or, in Stone Island’s case, shares a sense of national pride with.
Considering VF Corp’s aforementioned move to acquire Supreme, it’s looking more likely that bigger brands will enter 2021 looking to snap up smaller players, rounding out their portfolios and creating more diverse and robust organizations. That’s not to say that Moncler is about to become the next LVMH however, Ruffini isn’t planning global fashion domination… at least not in the short term.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect the big transformation VF Corp has done in the past three to four years. About five years ago they were outside of the good conglomerates. Now they made a couple of good moves,” Ruffini confessed to
Highsnobiety. “That said, we don’t have the same approach. We’re two families and we want to build something different. I don’t want to say that tomorrow we won’t buy another company, but I don’t think so at the moment. The idea is to build up something unique for the market and not another luxury group that I think we have enough of around the world.”
While the two labels do have share some level of crossover—especially in their Italian roots—it’s also fair to say that this deal was a shock to the industry upon its announcement. Only time will tell how Moncler’s vision of luxury will blend with Stone Island’s “if you know, you know” appeal (whose attention to detail, some might say, is luxurious in its own right). Given Ruffini’s interest in supporting (rather than dominating) Stone Island, here’s hoping these two Italian representatives of modern luxury emerge bigger and better than ever.