“Today, the synergy is very important,” emphasizes CEO Michele Malenotti. “In the past, there were many trends; today there is a mix. It is difficult, for example, to imagine a collection of men’s clothing without sneakers, or one without leather. The focus is now more on timing. When the brand is in the shops, the clothing must sell fast; social media plays a huge role. Seconds count: that’s the way it is today. It’s a completely new mentality. It’s basically the same philosophy that Apple and the automotive industry follow. In the past, it took five years to develop a new car; today, the world can change in that time.” The M Symbol Group also lives this philosophy. “We work with many music and Hollywood film producers to develop new garments,” Mr. Malenotti continues. “We have the James Bond jacket in our collection; the jacket replicates the one worn by Daniel Craig in the Bond film. It was launched as the film came out. If we had been a week later, we would have missed the boat.”
In fashion, the focus today is on timing. Seconds count: that’s the way it is. It’s a completely new mentality. Michele MalenottiCEO
Since 2017, the M Symbol Group has held the worldwide licence for the renowned Matchless brand, which is this year celebrating its 120th jubilee. “In February, to celebrate the anniversary, we presented the first fashion show featuring an e-scooter, and we also presented jackets at the G8 summit,” adds the CEO. The company also holds the licence for the Legacy brand, and several others. Its ethos is to develop clothing which combines a sense of mobility – motor bikes in particular – and heritage. The brand is in the middle luxury segment of the market; the average price is 1,400 EUR, but some garments lie in the 3,000 to 4,000 EUR price range. M Symbol designs the garments, which are then produced by partners in Italy under M Symbol’s close supervision. Material quality is hugely important. “We use only exclusive materials, and develop technologies with some of the most important manufacturers in Italy. A variety of materials are incorporated; for instance, we recently launched the Schwarzenegger jacket made from sheepskin, which was processed with natural wax to make it look very old, with added leather to give it a modern touch,” says Mr. Malenot.
Today, a lot of products are copied. If you do it well, get the products into the shops, and sell them quickly, the competition have already lost the race. Michele MalenottiCEO
Customers – both men and women – tend to fall in the 40 to 45 age group, and while the younger generation are less familiar with the Matchless brand, some of the jackets are simply timeless, and are worn by one generation after the other. Up to 90% of the company’s products are exported; Germany is the most important market, followed by the UK, France and the US. New stores are set to open in Munich and Rome, to join those already operating in Milan, Treviso, Mogliano Veneto and London. The brand is also sold in concession outlets in prestigious stores.
Innovation, materials and timing are central to M Symbol’s success. “Today, a lot of products are copied,” Mr. Malenotti points out. “If you do it well, get the products into the shops, and sell them quickly, the competition have already lost the race. Nevertheless, it is hard to create a phenomenon. It is not enough that a famous personality has worn a particular jacket; content is also important. We have the same concept as Apple: our own technical characteristics, and fashionable yet timeless products. Garments have to give consumers a sense of security. We are very privileged to have a brand that is 120 years old, and when customers purchase our products, they are buying a piece of history which will last for ever. We are authentic and very proud to work with a traditional English brand which is made in Italy.”
It is the sense of timelessness which motivates the CEO. “I love the fact that I have the opportunity to create something that will last forever,” he sums up. “Nevertheless, innovation is vital; we have to look ahead, and seek out new materials and new synergies. The new Matchcoat for women, for example, can be worn long or short and is therefore suitable for different occasions; we are already working on the men’s version.” Timing and timelessness: for M Symbol, the perfect combination.