After near bankruptcy, a vintage ski apparel brand has become one of the most interesting brands in fashion. In fact, they did $1.5 billion last year! Here’s the Moncler brand playbook.
Founded in the Alps in 1952, Moncler made quilted jackets for mountaineers and skiers in Europe, but couldn’t stay afloat over time.
Italian entrepreneur Remo Ruffini bought the near-bankrupt company in 2003 and moved it to Milan, re-launching Moncler as a luxury goods company.
But it wasn’t until 2018 that the luxury brand – now based in Milan – launched its most ambitious overhaul yet…
It ditched seasonal collections for monthly collaborations featuring a roster of fashion giants, including Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, Craig Green, and Simone Rocha.
Each designer took turns riffing on Moncler’s signature puffer jacket. Piccioli turned out evening dresses made from the jacket material. Green experimented with playful inflatables. They were right in time for the wave of the budding brand collaboration era.
But it wasn’t just a few seasonal collabs. The idea was for the fashion brand to compete in a world that moves at the speed of a TikTok post. By refreshing their offerings monthly Moncler’s GENIUS strategy moved at the pace of their target consumer avatar: Gen Z.
“You cannot talk to your customer every six months; you need to talk every day. I hope the GENIUS strategy will get young kids, a young generation, talking about Moncler around the world,” Ruffini said.
Moncler kept up the pace.
The collaborations list is legendary
And while the collaborations are often too avante garde for regular wear…
… they certainly drive sales of the core Moncler puffer jacket.
After the shift, younger consumers turned up at Moncler boutiques in droves, driving up sales revenue and creating even more brand awareness.
Clearly Ruffini’s strategies are striking a chord with the youth he’s attempting to reach.
In addition to disrupting the speed and quality of execution of collaborations, Moncler also made a major business move in buying a complementary brand with their 2021 acquisition of UK youth & luxury staple, Stone Island. Now, its a cold-weather lifestyle fashion house.
Then, Moncler launched MONDOGENIUS: a live event to showcase the entirety of the Genius collection.
Their strategy isn’t just to get consumer purchases, but to build online and offline experiences for their demographic to engage with the brand.
MONDOGENIUS offered 11 shows in one by spotlighting the worlds and cultures that birthed each collection. They took guests on a journey of 11 designers and 5 cities, from Milan to Shanghai; Tokyo to Seoul and finally, New York. It was a smash hit for critics and fans.
The brand is aiming for Gen Z to represent 30% of its clientele by 2025 and if their current trajectory is any indication, they’re right on track. It wasn’t just from one strategy, it was executing across multiple, at lightning speed. Building for an even faster future.
The playbook derived from the Moncler brand echoes a lesson I argue about with brand teams I work with all the time…
You need to be going faster. The speed of 2022 and onward is lightspeed. Your brand evolves in hundreds of micro-moments. Go faster, and don’t sacrifice quality to do it.