Dit jaar mag TMO een bijzondere, internationale gastspreker verwelkomen om het studiejaar 2017/2018 te openen: Alberto Campagnolo. De Italiaanse Alberto Campagnolo (44) is naast Adjunct Master/MBA Professor, een zeer ervaren Brand Management Consultant in het luxesegment van de fashionbranche. Zo was hij marketingmanager bij o.a. Giorgio Armani en projectleider voor Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo en Sisley. TMO interviewde hem over zijn carrière, zijn passie voor luxe fashionmerken, de toekomst van de branche en zijn adviezen aan onze studenten.
Can you tell us something about your background and career?
‘Currently I am based in Tuscany, Italy, in a very little village long the sea where I work as an independent Brand Management consultant for fashion, luxury and lifestyle, traveling all around the world. Trend forecaster, fashion knowledge manager, luxury heritage and lifestyle storyteller.
I am extremely fond and deeply specialized in all main distinctive areas of Italian and European excellences. But I also teach at several fashion and business academies worldwide, where I try to share with all students (more than 1000 every year, globally) what I have learned helping them to make their dreams come true. It is also a great way to keep learning from new generations and from all the countries where I work. New perspectives are so crucial to decipher what fashion nowadays is becoming.’
What is so fascinating about fashion, especially luxury brands?
‘Fashion touches my heart because it is a very immediate way to convey my state of mind, both disguising myself and revealing my being truth. I hate so much the “photocopy” style we used to have in the 80’s and 90’s when I was a student and everybody looked the same. In this specific sense I also believe that luxury is the way we can express our most deeply felt expectations. The luxury goal is not “to appear” but “to embody” our best portrait of ourselves. In this sense, as always right, Mr Giorgio Armani used to say that “elegance is not being noticed, but being remembered”. In these frantic times, to be remembered, it is crucial to love ourselves, then such feeling comes up naturally and fashion reflects it.’
How do you see the future of luxury fashion brands?
‘Luxury is changing fast. Its customers too. Try to consider the phenomenon of Mass-tige, where several traditional prestige brands are working together with mass-market companies to offer well framed fashionable capsule collections. Huge business success no doubt: yet is this the luxury we used to appreciate, because of its quality and meaning? Of course not. The traditional luxury world today is thickly dialoguing with pop and street culture. On the other hand we cannot describe anymore the fashion luxury like we could do twenty years ago…everything has changed. My impression is that the future of luxury will be more and more individual and custom, like a mirror of what makes us special without framed styles to copy. I fully believe the future of luxury fashion will be “less but better”: the time of “more and more” is over. At now, at least.’
Where and how did you get in touch with TMO Fashion Business School?
‘You have to remember that TMO Fashion Business School is very famous, also beyond your country borders. I have achieved a consistent experience as Brand Manager for some high-end luxury, fashion, lifestyle and home decoration well renowned International companies and I also currently teach as adjunct MBA and Master Professor at some European high ranked institutes: everybody knows TMO and its rigorous education reliability. Since I am not teaching in The Netherlands yet – a country I do love a lot because of the countryside landscape, the quiet, and the wonderful people I have always met there – I applied for a visiting professor position if anytime available… and here I am!’
You will be key note speaker during the opening of the academic year of TMO on 11th of September. What will be your message for our students? ‘It is such a big honor for me to have been invited at TMO for the opening of the Academic Year, it means a lot to me. After deep evaluation about what really makes sense as speech topic, I do believe my message will be built around the idea of “fully being who we are” as the key to be noticed in such misty period. Time of yes-man is over, finally. My ultimate mission as professor is to assist students in exploring their own uniqueness. While imparting practical knowledge is essential, helping fashion students unlock their own original, intriguing vision remains of utmost importance to me. Enabling fashion students to discover the spark within is what I daily look forward to achieving the most.’
Can you tell us something about the course and masterclass you will be giving for our students?
‘Yes gladly. I am currently working hard about the topic of luxury brand management and this will be the backbone of my lecture for all TMO students. But my main goal is to destroy the traditional stereotypes about luxury and depict instead its evolution, its reshaping, its continuously reinventing. This is also linked to my last book published few month ago bout the permanent luxury fashion museums, a real trend that is reshaping the rules of fashion marketing, with a deep planned “rejuvenation” that is today the main goal of any established luxury fashion brand. Yet I do not want to tell too much about it… I can talk for hours! This is my passion and I do hope I will share that feeling with the students that will attend, considering the lecture not like traditional speech but possibly like a mutual dialogue. Brand Management is not mathematics, there is no official truth. It is much more a process of self discovering, from my point of view. Of course starting from a meaningful brand identity, like a springboard.’
Do you have a career advice for upcoming fashion business talents?
‘Honestly many! Yet if I had to limit myself to only one… well I would say “never stop learning”. Fashion is (hopefully!) so unpredictable and its crazy circus is offering new shows even daily. With such nervous, roller-coaster style business, to be able to keep continuously updated about whatever happens on both collections, communication, retail identities and PR side is truly crucial.
Oh please allow me a second one: “travel and think”. Society is more and more plural, the interaction with different cultures is an infinite source of creativity…not because of copying or creating fake inspirations, but to better understand who we are and the depth of our fashion storytelling.
Finally, I want to share with the students one of my favorite “mottos”. This is because I do believe it is important to convey our point of view in very concise way. “Creating beauty is essential. But it is not enough”. Also it could be of interest that I am also a classical piano player, still today, and it has helped a lot my business activity with luxury people all over the world.’