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Fashion’s Class Act: Brunello Cucinelli

Designer Brunello Cucinelli.

By Jessica Michault

Brunello Cucinelli believes in the whole package. His eponymous brand is as committed to high quality clothing, especially luxurious cashmere, as it is devoted to the pursuit of human dignity. Cucinelli is known in the fashion world for not only annually donating 20 percent of his company’s profits to charity but also paying his staff a salary that is significantly higher than industry norms.

This is a company with standards that go beyond style. If it was hard not to be tempted to invest in Cucinelli’s elegant collections of staple designs before, knowing about the noble intentions and actions of its founder makes it almost impossible to shop anywhere else. This brand is the definition of feel good fashion.

We spoke with Cucinelli about keeping a work/life balance, how to splurge and his lifelong devotion to comfortable luxury.

Tell us about the work environment at Brunello Cucinelli. What’s most important to you?
I truly believe in investing in people and their happiness. If the people feel taken care of and secure, this creates a pleasant, creative, and rich working environment. I do not allow my employees to work after 5:30pm as I believe a work/life balance is critically important. I find this to be the best formula for encouraging creative minds and joyous souls.

What was the inspiration behind the Fall/Winter 2015 collection?
The fall/winter women’s collection pays tribute to nature and “wild luxury.” There are lots of layers with chunky knits, furs, and lush cashmeres all of which have a very sporty lux vibe. I really believe in combining comfort and luxury.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the fashion industry since founding your company in the 1970s?
From when we started we are certainly growing in numbers and people who collaborate with us, but I must be sincere, for me nothing has changed in how we have managed the company or in relationships with people. If I think about when we sold the first collection of cashmere sweaters, only five pieces in different colors, I remember how I felt like the king of the world. This sensation will always remain with me. Certainly today, we are a public company and for this reason we must abide by certain rules of the market, but for me and for my partners, the dignity of work still remains the most important thing. I have always had a dream to make the work of man more human, this has inspired us and continues to inspire us.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start their own fashion business today?
I advise young people to have vision and to stay committed to their dreams. Most importantly, to always respect and to honor each other.

If a person could only afford to buy just one item from your company which one would you suggest investing in?
I suggest choosing something cashmere because it is something that you will always treasure and you can pass on to your children to keep and enjoy.


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