Loro Piana 

Founded on April 4, 1924, by a wool fabric merchants’ family, Loro Piana has carved a reputation for fashionable, high-quality woollen fabrics and drapery. Led by Pietro Loro Piana and later his nephew Franco, the company began establishing its reputation as a premium wool and cashmere supplier for a growing haute couture industry and is now famous for its discreet and sophisticated elegance. 

The luxury goods division was born in the 1980s with products developed to accompany life at leisure, balancing the need for both elegance and function and developing an international retail arm. Nowadays, Loro Piana prides itself as the world’s foremost cashmere* processor and the finest wools’ largest single buyer. 

It is not by coincidence that the brand’s slogan is “the long journey of excellence”. Loro Piana uses exclusive raw materials of excellent quality originating from various parts of the world, ranging from its unique cashmere collected of kids* raised in northern China and Mongolia to extra-fine Australian merino wool, lotus flower fibre from Myanmar and New Zealand, and vicuña from the Andes. These treasures are then crafted in Italy to produce clothing that moulds the body and offers complete comfort and style. 

The quality of the company’s products is a critical factor that truly differentiates the label from its competitors. The quality of raw materials used in the clothing is a critical factor in the brand’s strategy, ultimately allowing the label to truly differentiate itself from the competition. In every tag, it is possible to control the origin of the wool, the farmer’s name and the shearing date of the sheep. In addition to the high quality of its products, the company’s strategy also includes not changing its brand’s focus, irrespective of the changes that take place in the industry. As a result, Loro Piana manufactures the same products in the same way it has for decades and doesn’t succumb to fashion trends.  

Loro Piana is more than clothing; it is also about a sensory experience. The sensation of its products is indescribable through words, which is why they invite all of their customers to their stores to discover the unique touch sensation of the world’s rarest wool and cashmere.

*Cashmere is the superfine under-fleece of the Hircus adult goat, grown to protect from the extreme climate of the harsh desert landscapes they inhabit.

*a kid is an infant goat

Why is the Loro Piana cashmere so unique and special?

Loro Piana sources its cashmere from outer and inner Mongolia, where long winters reach extreme levels of cold, transforming into scorching hot and dry summers where rain is rare, and water and food are scarce.

The uniqueness of their cashmere also depends on human relationships. They have long-term partnerships with a small number of herders who are keen to keep their exclusive and privileged relationships with Loro Piana as the herders belong to an exclusive club devoted to producing the best fibres destined for the very top of the market.

With over 100 years of experience in the textile industry, the firm has established uncompromising sourcing, quality manufacturing, and retailing standards. The company is recognised for unrivalled savoir-faire in crafting raw materials into fabrics of rare quality. These fibres may then be transformed into a €7,260 baby cashmere wool coat or a €1,565 DolceVita jumper. In the end, the real secret of cashmere remains the same: the incredible fineness and softness of the raw material.

Fabio d’Angelantonio, Loro Piana’s current CEO, says Loro Piana’s DNA is  

driven by the belief that beauty originates in nature, and that if you go searching for the most beautiful, precious and rare natural fibres and transform those into beautiful products, those products will find their customers. It’s quite organic.” 

“This brand can be addictive.”

Business Analysis

Acquired by LVMH in 2013 for € 2 billion, the house continues to produce high-quality craftsmanship that fits clients’ needs. Sergio and Pierluigi currently hold 20% of the company. Today, Loro Piana has 6 factories, all located in Italy, and employs more than 2000 people. Fabrics are still an important part of its total production, representing 32% of its annual income of approximately 630€ million.

The Italian brand also works with licensing through a luxury collection of sunglasses. In 2006, they created the Loro Piana Interiors, a house decor collection with curtains, upholstery fabrics, pillows and rugs, all made with their same high-quality fabrics, such as cashmere, vicuna and linen.

Curiosities and Peculiarities

Protection of the Vicunã: Vicunãs are facing a dangerous risk of extinction due to their valuable fleece. An agreement between the Peruvian government, the Andean communities and Loro Piana was signed, in 1994, to grant the company the exclusive honour of buying, processing and exporting vicuña fibre obtained only from animals sheared alive. This commitment was renewed in 2008 by creating the “Reserva dr. Franco Loro Piana”, Peru’s first private nature reserve. In this protected area of 2,000 hectares, the vicuñas are free to live wild.

Loro Piana is responsible for promoting the worldwide championship “Wool World Record Challenge Cup”, where sheep farmers are challenged to produce the best sheep wool possible. The winner is utilized in suits created by the brand. They also launched 2015 the Cashmere of the Year Award, which aims to support and celebrate those who nurture goats and harvest the rare cashmere. 

Sources: (Financial Times, Business of Fashion, Loro Piana, Wall Street Journal)

Written by Micael Balioni and Jade Mouradian

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