Garment Workshop is a brand developed from the experience of the group NXTGN who is active in the fashion consultancy sector
The world of fashion consulting
Today, it still seems clear that the world of consulting has remained tied to its essential theoretical function, which has characterized the development of the profession in different areas. Particularly in the luxury and fashion sectors, this theoretical approach has often meant that development possibilities have been lost. Both on the brand’s and consultancy’s side.
Those who were, or are still part of these traditionalist groups, focus a lot on discussing and studying performances. This is to say to propose innovative solutions that the group itself cannot afford to implement. This is because it lacks the necessary professional figures specialized in a variety of issues.
A weakness in this area is therefore the impossibility of implementing a consulting plan in its entirety. If referring to the fashion world it means to combine solutions that address design, product development; but also communication and the PR side, such as go to market and various other aspects.
Valerio Coretti is the managing director and co-founder of NXTGN (Next Generation). After working for years in this sector, he realized that there was a disconnect between brands and these kinds of businesses. «Through previous personal experiences, we had the opportunity to understand what worked and what didn’t. What clients wanted, especially mid-sized businesses, and the recurring problems with a standard consulting model».
Flaws of established consulting firms
Coretti explains how the idea behind NXTGN came from the goal of diversifying from competitors; by offering a range of integrated services, defining it as a plug-in company. In this sense, it stands almost as a subsidiary of any company that chooses to have support in special projects; with all the professionals integrated to develop the plans.
One of the problems analyzed within standard consulting models was the cost of projects. Precluding a continuity of collaboration between the client and the firm. «Often, these projects were very expensive, in particular those of collaboration. This is to say that in a season there are even figures of a million and a half of global investment. Between consultancy, fidelity-designer, development of the collection; implementation of the communication plan, fee of the showroom of the distributor», points out Coretti.
This is also not advantageous for the consultancy firm because much of the money in this case covers external expenses. In addition to costs, the success of projects was tied to the external partners. As a consequence the relationship between clients and consultants was often compromised.
The project was successful and the costs amortized. However these operations were quite complex and difficult for the executives to quantify. These mid-sized, often family-run companies, evaluate a lot in terms of expenses and supplies. As such, it is difficult for the brand to rely on the company for more than two or three seasons. This with a small number of brands that could actually tackle this type of planning.
NXTGN, the foundations of a new form of consulting
The first alternative choice is to have a varied team. Composed of all the professional figures capable of developing apparel projects. Product design, marketing and communication, PR, and commercial management. «This composition allows a strategic approach and to develop a project that makes sense in the market and is able to sustain itself. The client offloads the totality of the operations to the firm, agreeing with it on the different aspects», specifies Coretti.
The benefits of this strategy includes being able to address a wider and more diverse range of clients. From private equity to the licensed manufacturers who have all the skills and expertise to create a product, but needs all the other services. Even some media and music labels have asked to create collections; having a lack of knowledge in the manufacturing part of the industry. Being able to reduce costs is another benefit of the proposed model. Allowing the client to avoid integrating in-house resources, and using an already trained and complete team at their disposal».
Through this model, you make the client able to develop projects that, without you, they would not be able to accomplish. This is also the big difference with the traditional consulting method. This is to say a different know-how and specific skills than those inside the company; but with a more theoretical and non-operational approach». For the development of the strategy of some brands, it is necessary to create a network between national and international stores. For instance selling the products directly through the most disparate modalities. From see-now buy-now to the renowned luxury wholesale online.
Garment Workshop, implementation of the strategy
The founders decided to apply the same type of strategy to create their own brand, named Garment Workshop; putting together all of their experience gained in the consulting field. The trend analyzed by Coretti, and others prior to the creation of the brand, saw a number of streetwear brands increase prices; given the significant increase in demand, but without matching this increase with a higher quality of products offered.
«What we thought of doing was to create a brand that had a certain degree of recognition comparable to the major streetwear brands. The same strength of communication with the support of artists and celebrities. But a positioning close to what is the real core target of this type of brand; composed of fifteen to twenty-five years old guys», says Coretti.
The attributes of made in Italy and keeping prices affordable, were two of the key objectives. The price point of these garments remains lower than that of the competitors. At the same time they offer workmanship tied to an elevated level of craftsmanship in both product assembly and the creation of specific decorative elements.
The strategy behind Garment Workshop and other brands
This reflection has guided the strategy, not only behind Garment Workshop, but also of other brands that have followed the consultancy. In addition to these goals, fashion communities develop the international growth of the brand. This phenomenon of communities had developed around 2012 on Facebook through forums and blogs, recounts Coretti, both around brands and around buying and selling.
Now, through an organic partnership, the brand uses different platforms to achieve a certain internationalization. «Because we didn’t have external and economic pressures, we were able to steer the brand toward what we think is the future of this industry. With a product that has a focus on value for money, quality, durability but at an affordable price and made in Italy», affirms Coretti.
The brand is based on the idea of educating the consumer, who is already familiar with the processes behind the garment industry. This is done by involving them in the whole development. Taking them inside the factories, making sure they understand the location and production processes. By being transparent about the process, including the costs, the consumer can understand what the real value of the garment is.
Lampoon reporting: from product to brand
The success of the model lie in the numbers analyzed just over a year after the creation of the NXTGN project. The various projects undertaken by the consulting agency have exceeded one million in revenue.
Barrow’s record case, on the other hand, is around ten million after eighteen months since its inception. Here, the team started with the creation of the logo, and then implemented the business strategy as that of their product identity. They also took care of the communication part and the coordination of the offices at national and international level.
From this last step comes the possibility to make international and popular in the world an Italian productive excellence. The strategy in this case also envisages the local support of PR offices to make up for the lack of presence and knowledge of the territory. Another aspect that relates to this issue is networking with top players inside and outside Italy.
Garment Workshop and consulting
«Key to success is the creation of a coordinated image. The focus is on the DNA of the product that supports itself through its details and the necessary recognizability starting from the labels to the logo and beyond. Then, we focus on the details of the product’s processing, going in depth even to suggest. For example, specific in-line colors, aspects that are not taken into account in a traditional consultancy», explains Coretti.
The transition from consulting to branding, when all the steps applied to third parties worked, was so short that the founders created Garment Workshop in the same year as consulting. At the level of market imposition, what has proven effective is to focus on online communication projects that have a strong content approach.
Equally pivotal is having a following that is genuinely interested in these aspects of fashion and culture, echoing the concept of community. Aiming to create a relationship with the consumer based on shared daily values has been more effective than using marketing strategies; that try to sell an experience beyond the product.
Consultancy firm founded in 2020 by Valerio Coretti, Federico Barengo and Paolo Sarimari. Developed with an alternative approach to this field; it put the basis for the creation of the brand Garment Workshop.