Hogan’s general manager speaks to Marie Davies about raising the luxury brand’s profile with a little help from Karl Lagerfeld.
What is your fashion background?
My background is actually in the car business. I joined [luxury men’s and women’s wear brand] Hogan in 2008 from the motor industry where I worked at companies such as Volvo and Mini. [Chairman of Hogan parent company Tod’s] Diego Della Valle approached me as he wanted somebody outside of fashion to have a wider approach to the business.
Hogan is collaborating with designer Karl Lagerfeld on a capsule collection called Hogan by Karl Lagerfeld. How did that come about?
Diego and Karl have known each other for many years. Hogan started its designer collaborations two years ago with [designer brand] Thakoon, and spring 11 was the first collaboration with Karl. We used Karl because we wanted to have someone versatile who can lead the brand and put their own twist on it, which he does very well.
What is your strategy for the UK market?
We want to focus on marketing and product placement for now. At the moment we are in Harrods and Selfridges. Hogan does have the potential to go into independents but we want to increase the brand profile and the demand first and foremost.
The UK market is more fashion-forward than most and our product is not high fashion, it is ‘functional luxury’, product that is stylish but practical. The future focus for Hogan is on western Europe and then Hong Kong and China.
Hogan is best known for its footwear and bags. Are there any plans to broaden the ready-to-wear clothing offer?
A large part of the business is the success of the trainers. We don’t want to move away from accessories but clothing will become increasingly important. In our flagship store in Milan we sell between 300 and 400 pairs of shoes in one day. Hogan sells twice as much as [Italian luxury footwear and accessories brand] Tod’s in Italy and we think if Tod’s is so strong internationally, then why can’t Hogan be?
How is the clothing collection performing?
The clientele is growing. We are known for accessories but the customer that shops with Hogan is brand loyal and they are adopting ready-to-wear.
What is Hogan’s best-selling style?
The Interactive trainers have been the best-sellers since 1997. They’re very iconic.
Do you design your product with specific markets in mind?
We design for an international customer. We get contributions from international designers and the idea is that we are an international brand.
What is performing well in the Hogan by Karl Lagerfeld spring 11 collection?
Bags, shoes and a trench coat were all part of the Karl Lagerfeld collaboration. It has only just launched in store, but the cowboy boots are doing well, as are the trainers.
Which other brands do you admire?
Mini. I worked for the company for four years. Cars are an expression of personality, like fashion, and Mini does that well. I also admire what Apple did with the iPod.
What are your interests outside of fashion?
I like listening to music. I met Paul Weller in Selfridges the other day and he is one of my icons.
Who is the Hogan customer?
An architect, because it’s the meeting point between a business and a creative mind.
Nicola Giorgio is general manager of Italian luxury brand Hogan, which specialises in footwear and handbags.