OVS starts relaunching Stefanel
Stefanel is rising again from its ashes. The Italian women’s ready-to-wear label founded in 1959 and renowned for its knitwear had been beset by endless difficulties for a decade, until it went into receivership in 2019 and was put up for sale a year later. It was bought at the start of this year by budget fashion retailer OVS and is now back on the market, having been given a gentle facelift with a rejuvenated product range and brand image.
“Initially, we were thinking of incorporating Stefanel in our OVS stores, to make it an additional element of our knitwear range. We then realised that it’s still a much-loved name in Italy, with a great brand reputation. We therefore decided to relaunch it with a fully fledged strategy,” said OVS CEO Stefano Beraldo, speaking to FashionNetwork.com. Beraldo has taken direct charge of Stefanel with his staff and with OVS’s creative director Massimo Piombo.
Stefanel's range has been given a make-over, focusing on a classic, evergreen wardrobe with an urban touch, knitwear still playing the leading part. The new collection features flowing and even oversize silhouettes in the label’s signature knitwear (chiefly cardigans and cashmere sweaters) as well as camel-hair coats, silk blouses and an array of trousers, jackets and dresses, plus a few denim items and sweatshirts to give the line a younger, more contemporary feel. The rather neutral palette of natural hues is enlivened by a few bright colours and the introduction of red and black accents, reflecting Stefanel’s new, redesigned logo.
OVS has taken over Stefanel’s business, including the contracts of some 100 of its former employees, the label’s archives and 30 monobrand stores in Italy. To preserve the label's identity and quality, the group has connected again with Stefanel's long-established suppliers and is sourcing part of the collection in Italy.
“We source 50% of our collections in Italy, and we’re very proud of this. Maintaining product quality, especially for yarns, was crucial. A number of former Stefanel sales assistants who had gone to work elsewhere have come back to our stores, proof of the passion that still exists for this brand,” said Beraldo.
The label has also been repositioned in a more affordable price bracket, approximately 30% cheaper, cutting down margins. “In recent years, the label was a little lost with a price positioning that was too high,” said Beraldo, who believes in Stefanel's potential in this new segment.
Another 30 stores in Italy, with warmer, more modern interiors, have recently been added to the existing 30. Some of the new stores are entirely upholstered in pink. Nearly 21 other stores have also opened outside Italy, with franchisees in Portugal, Greece and Russia. Stefanel has deployed a new advertising campaign targeting a broader audience of women of all ages and styles. “Mothers and daughters,” said Beraldo, who is very happy with the initial feedback on the new collection.
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