Massimo Dutti: Not an Italian Fashion Designer but a Spanish Fashion Brand!
As winter has set in, my wife and I have been busy turning up the central heating system, hanging thick curtains on the windows, checking on our vehicles’ heating devices and pulling out the duvets and rugs and mittens and thick socks from the closets to keep ourselves and the kids as warm as possible. According to the environmentalists, we are having severe winters as a result of the dreaded global warming. (Well, it’s not easy to answer kids’ questions about why winters are colder when the earth is getting hotter; not for me, anyway!)
Now comes the more important question of what to wear for outdoors. We have nice sweaters and coats from previous winters, but they seem to be out-dated. So, my wife and I have sat down to select the Brand from which to choose our this year’s winter coats and other winter related accessories. Even before I have started to suggest a Brand, pat comes the name from my wife: Massimo Dutti!
Brand Value recognition:
I am surprised that my wife who, like most other women, does not like to have items from the same brand year after year, but in this case, though we have already had a few clothes from Massimo Dutti, she hasn’t hesitated to go for the same Brand, which means the brand’s cut and feel must be excellent, and this year’s lines must be entirely different from the previous ones, unlike most brands which keep to the same shapes and designs year after year, and get along well, too.
So, I’ve checked on Massimo Dutti’s website and found the new designs very interesting, and the prices… not so exuberant. Hell, yes. Why not go for the same Brand when its designs look different, cute & comfortable and reasonably priced?
What’s in the Name:
Massimo is Italian for Maximum or Max and Dutti/dutty is (we believe) slang for dirty*
* Citation needed
Massimo Dutti, was founded in 1985 by a Spaniard, Armando Lasauca in Barcelona, Spain. Before going any further into this brand, there are these three interesting names Zara, Amancio Ortega and Inditex that pop up frequently all through this article.
Zara, the much lauded Spanish fashion brand and retailer was founded by a couple of Spaniards, Amancio Ortega Gaona and Rosalia Mera Goyenechea, in a small municipality called Arteixo in Spain. Soon it became a success story with several ‘titles’: ‘from Zero to Zara’, ‘most innovative and destructive retailer’, ‘Spanish success story’ (by CNN), ‘fast fashion’, and so on. (There is an interesting story about how Zara got its name. We will discuss that in my article exclusively on Zara.)
The Zara Brand grew so large that Amancio, a shrewd entrepreneur and one of the top five filthy rich business people in the world who surprisingly does not wear any of his favourite brand ‘Zara’ clothes, established a group/company under the name ‘Inditex‘ (Industria de Diseno Textil, S.A.) in 1963 and gradually incorporated seven other brands: Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Strandivaius, Tempe (footwear), Utergue and Oysho. Inditex has it’s presence felt in about a hundred markets with about 6,500 stores (@ 500 new outlets a year) and 128,000 employees, all over the world, with Zara being its flagship brand.
Brand Strategy Notes:
Zara’s banding strategy: ‘Makes hey while the sun shines’ – no advertisement, but stocking in full the latest fashions that are popular with the customers and supplying the numerous stores and outlets with more number of pieces relatively fast. While the industry’s average is from 2000 to 4000 items a brand, Zara pushes 11000 items, and while it takes some weeks for its competitors to supply, Zara takes a few days to deliver the goods to its outlets. It’s said Zara can produce a design and bring to its outlets just in two weeks — quickly produced, quickly distributed and quickly replaced imitations of current trends.
A Spanish Brand with an Italian Flavor:
Massimo Dutti, though founded by Armando in 1985, was incorporated into the Inditex Group in 1991, and soon made a comfortable niche for itself as a classy chic brand in the Inditex Group. Though it started with only men’s fashions and stayed put with only men’s, it launched its women’s fahsion in 1992 and a children’s line, Massimo Dutti Boys and Girls, in 2003.
The bold Massimo Dutti has its presence felt in about 65 markets in about 750 stores located in the best shopping centres in about 71 countries, with over 4,000 employees, garnering a reputation for its classic styles, modern fits and ready to wear with luxurious leather accessories.
Since 2006, Massimo Dutti has been designing and marketing Women’s wear, Accessories, Soft, Fragrances for women; Men’s wear, Accessories, Soft, Personal Tailoring and Fragrances for men; and Children’s wear for kids totally under its own Brand name.
In a statement in 2012, Pablo Isla Alvarez de Tejera, the current chairman and CEO, said that Massimo Dutti had become a more mature format, and reached $1.3 billion after sale in 2012, adding that the brand’s revenue growth had been exceeding its retail space expansion, showing that it was Inditex’s most profitable line the year before, gaining 24% growth compared to its sister concern Zara’s 19%.
According to Press Trust of India, September 27, 2013 report, the Indian government rejected an application by Zara Holding BV of Inditex to sell its up-scale brand in collaboration with the Indian industry giant Tata Group’s retail division, Trent Ltd, in 2012, but approved Massimo Dutti line of clothing, footwear and other products in 2013! (An instance showing how Dutti is accepted more readily than Zara.)
In her February 2014 review, Jon Keller, a recruiter, travel professional, improviser and contributor at Vancity Buzz, wrote that Massimo Dutti, though a sister concern of Zara, boasted a more high-end appeal, with class and top-quality at affordable price point, but without forgetting to be on the leading edge of trends.
Massimo Dutti in Europe:
Massimo Dutti has a massimo number of shops in Europe. Being a Spanish brand, about 229 in Spain alone, and it has 11 shops in the UK, which stands in the 10th place. The biggest shop in London is at Regent Street, London. This shop’s speciality is in-store personal styling & tailoring service for men at a very reasonable price range. A customer can ask for a personalised stylist to help them to have a personal new look.
There are some ardent Massimo Dutti’s fans in the UK who like to buy Dutti’s designs but can’t afford or don’t like to spend all that money on just clothing as the main land products are more expensive there in the UK, especially in England. So, for such a group of shoppers, Clare Goldwin wrote in her article on 22 October 2014 for The Daily Mail in which she suggested going to Barcelona, Spain to buy Massimo Dutti or Zara products and get back in 24 hours. She practically proved that one could still save £3.89 on a purchase of 13 items of clothing and accessories, even after paying for round-trip flight to Spain, hotel, food and land transportation! (Of course, we are not considering any such exciting plans!)
Entering the New World:
It had been a mystery to a bunch of fashion experts, including myself, why Massimo Dutti did not make an appearance in the States earlier. Though Zara made its presence felt on the US soil way back in 1989 and, though being very popular in Europe, with such a long history of 29 years, Massimo Dutti shied away from the New World market until 2012 when its first showroom was opened on 12 October, 2012 on Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York, displacing its senior Zara from that venue, and then opened the second one in George Town, Washington DC.
Regarding this late arrival in the States, some Fashion lovers went to the extent of declaring that Zara was scared of The GAP Inc, the American multimillion dollar fashion brand, and so did not dare to bring Massimo Dutti into the Fashion market in the States, which pundits say is over-crowded and more demanding. Whatever be the reason for the delay, by 2014 Dutti established itself in the American market as the fine line between up-scale and casual wear.
However, there are mixed feelings in the Dutti’s shoppers, especially from women. Some feel the designs are great and the service at the outlets is nice; on the contrary, some others feel that though designs are great and the price range is affordable, the service is not all that good and they don’t like to buy there any more. (In my case, I have personally experienced very pampered treatment at Massimo Dutti.)
Ms Row I, from Jersey City, NJ, compared Dutti with Gap, saying ‘Massimo Dutti line was the best in Inditex Group, like Banana Republic was the best one of GAP. She particularly liked Dutti’s blouses and cardigans, especially the way Dutti used different materials at different parts of its clothes. As an example, she quoted a shirt with chiffon sleeves on a cotton body which, she believed, gave comfort combined with fashion. She was happy that the prices were slashed so much that she was able to buy a parka at $ 59.99, cut down from its original price of $ 198. (My wife readily agrees with Ms Row about the sophistication and comfort of Dutti’s designs.)
On the other hand, some men say they can’t afford Massimo Dutti’s apparel though they very much like to. For instance, John Schellhase, a 29-year-old graduate student at New York University, found Dutti’s double-breasted topcoat ($400) and certain other new items out of the reach of likes of him.
Brand Strategy Notes:
Manuel Baigorri, October 2012 News article for Bloomberg Business Week, wrote that Inditex was scared not only of GAP but also about the whole US market, and now that Inditex learned more about the US market’s peculiarity. As a result of Inditex going public, GAP US shares gained less than 10 percent.
This shows that brand perception and story telling can really take a company to the heights of success! In case of Massimo Dutti, the story is told very elegantly with great design, awesome photos of the products and a sense of exclusivity that puts this brand into a luxury league.
As Massimo Dutti website boasts “he, brave, she, enterprising”, I’m going to be brave and my wife’s going to be enterprising in our new Massimo Dutti’s winter clothing!