Silvia Azzali, the Chief Commercial Officer of luxury skinwear and hosiery brand Wolford, recently shared her insights on the brand’s future plans and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. With her extensive experience in the fashion industry, including notable roles at Dolce & Gabbana and La Perla, Azzali highlighted her goal of making sustainability the centerpiece of Wolford’s revival.
Coming back to the brand last year, Azzali acknowledged concerns about its strategy following the acquisition by Chinese luxury group Fosun in 2018. Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, Azzali remains optimistic about the brand’s future and her role as the Chief Commercial Officer.
In her position, Azzali takes charge of marketing, design, and merchandising, while COO Andrew Thorndike handles products, logistics, and finance.
To rejuvenate the brand, Azzali plans to focus on three key “heritage milestones” of Wolford: merging lycra with elasticity, revamping iconic styles, and collaborating with renowned designers. Wolford has been at the forefront of collaborations with esteemed designers such as Chantal Thomas, Thierry Mugler, and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Recent collaborations with Vetements showcased the brand’s commitment to collaboration, and Azzali hinted at another exciting partnership in the pipeline that will be announced soon.
Drawing inspiration from her experience at Moschino, Azzali brings a proactive approach to Wolford, including being responsive to the market, being customer-centric, and utilizing digital and social media platforms. She commended Jeremy Scott, the creative director of Moschino, for his visionary and sustainable approach to fashion.
Sustainability is a paramount focus for Azzali at Wolford, driven by the realization that the pandemic has underscored the need for change, particularly in terms of the environment. Wolford has already made significant strides in this area, earning the distinction of becoming the world’s first apparel group to receive a Cradle to Cradle certificate in April 2019. They are committed to adopting the principles of the circular economy and strive to create products that can be reused or biodegrade completely.
Wolford’s expansion plans include opening stores in Asia Pacific, Japan, and Korea in addition to its existing 259 monobrand stores. Recently, the brand opened stores in Biarritz, France, and Hong Kong, further expanding its global presence.
Like many other brands, Wolford has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a decline in sales. However, the company adapted by reorganizing production facilities to manufacture face masks. The brand has also donated masks to hospitals in Italy and sold them online, with plans to make them available in-store as well.
Under the management of Fosun, Wolford has witnessed positive changes and strategies. Azzali expressed her gratitude for the support and guidance provided by Fosun, and the brand is eagerly looking forward to celebrating its 70th anniversary with a grand event in Shanghai, along with an exhibition scheduled for September.
In a final note, Azzali discussed the strategic decision to sell Wolford’s headquarters, explaining that it was a move aimed at reducing debt and attaining greater control over the business.
Residing in Bregenz, Austria, Azzali appreciates the city’s vibrant culture and Austria’s dedication to innovation and sustainability. While it may not be an easily accessible location, she enjoys the natural beauty of Bregenz and plans to spend her summer vacation reconnecting with family and reveling in the countryside and mountains.