Fabio Fusi – Creative Director, Furla Interview
BY OBI ANYANWU
The history of Furla is just one decade shy of 100 years. Founded by Aldo and Margherita Furlanetto in 1927, Furla champions Italian craftsmanship and design, offering contemporary accessories, jewelry and footwear for men and women.
The family owned company since 2010 has been in the hands of Florence-born Fabio Fusi, who believes that Furla’s history and heritage is rich and should not be cast aside. After working at Italian companies such as Etro, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Dolce & Gabbana, Fusi is ushering in a new, modern era for the Bologna-based company, and an era that is a natural progression for the Furla history.
Now in its 90th year in business, Furla is focused on expanding to the North American market, and also celebrate a milestone that not many companies can say they have done.
Fusi is tasked with leading Furla as it encroaches 100 years, and he managed to find the time to speak with us about the company’s history, how Furla plans to celebrate 90 years, and about Italian fashion.
Can you tell us briefly about Furla’s 90-year history?
It has been a playful journey narrating Furla’s history that began in 1927. Furla started as a family business and has evolved into a global fashion and lifestyle brand. Aldo Furlanetto, the founder, opened the original Furla store in Bologna, Italy, and it still exists today. Now, Furla counts over 400 monobrand stores worldwide, and is present in over 1200 other locations in over 100 countries.
Over the past 20 years, Furla has expanded its product categories to include men’s collections, shoes, jewelry, eyewear, and watches. Furla is now sold in the best global department stores and elite shopping districts worldwide.
To celebrate our 90th anniversary, we created a capsule collection with nine different flaps for our Metropolis bag style that represent the music and spirit of the different decades from the beginning of the 20th century to the dawn of the new millennium. Just to give you an example, a jukebox communicates the advent of rock-n-roll in the 1950s and the 1970s flap is a disco ball.
What did you discover about Furla’s DNA when you did your research? How does it compare to the other labels you’ve worked with?
I discovered a company with incredible potential, capable of being dynamic, lively, and so fast. We love to play with basic shapes, working with the sizes and proportions to make them unique. Materials and colors are very important—they have to be surprising and unexpected (for example; the new Oxygen, the Furla inflatable bag).
Let’s talk about being Italian, starting from our love for tradition and attention to detail, with a modern, pop view and never being nostalgic. Our eyes and hearts are full of contemporary art and we love the avant-garde creative philosophy of the Italian interior design companies.
How would you describe Italian fashion compared to other European countries and abroad?
Italian fashion has always been second to none on the international fashion scene, defined by impeccable tailoring, unmatched creativity, innovative use of materials and overall elegance.
How has Italian fashion changed over time, and what do you see in the future for the Italian fashion industry?
From the start, Italian fashion has been centered on research, innovation, quality and craftsmanship. Italian designers and brands have continued to keep these values in mind while creating their modern designs, which I believe will lead the Italian fashion industry down a strong path for decades to come.
You worked at Etro, Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana. Have you found it challenging to tell the story of Italian designers and brands?
Each of these brands has their own story to tell. It was fun to discover the roots and DNA of each of these brands. To find the qualities that identify these brands and what makes them stand out, in order to then create a collection that remains faithful to the company’s spirit was a great experience.
How important is heritage to Furla, and how does the company today maintain the same ethos and message from the late 1920s?
Furla is a vital, contemporary brand with solid roots and its heritage always inspires me. In the new collections, I expounded on Furla’s idea of elegance, freedom and sense of color, while investing in experimentation and researching new materials, technologies and shapes.
We still maintain the same DNA and quality. Research and development of new design technologies are always the important pillars for Furla.
Furla’s success can be attributed to the brand’s ability to constantly evolve with the ever-changing fashion trends while maintaining the same product quality and authentic Italian tradition.
Finally, how is Furla investing in the North American market?
Furla continues to grow exponentially across all geographic zones and across different product categories, asserting itself on a global level as one of the leading brands in all markets.
Nurturing and growing the brand in the US is one of our biggest objectives. We opened on Fifth Ave a store in the second half of 2015, which joins other Furla stores on the most important luxury streets in the world.