EMiLUX and the future of luxury at the intersection of sustainability and technology

EMiLUX - Executive Master in Luxury Management

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Alumni of the five editions of EMiLUX - Executive Master in Luxury Management - and participants of the current sixth edition (in Milan for their third module on Luxury Market, Strategy and Business Modelling) gathered on campus to reflect on the coming evolutions in the luxury world, from new technologies and sustainability to supply chain evolution. The day demonstrated how SDA Bocconi, thanks to the work of experts like Gabriella Lojacono, Director of EMiLUX, supports its alumni community by attracting leading luxury professionals and continually creating networking opportunities.

"Education is not a one-way street; it is a dance made of giving and receiving,” said Stefano Caselli, Dean of SDA Bocconi, as he kicked off the talks. “EMiLUX Alumni will always be part of SDA Bocconi, and SDA Bocconi will always be there to support them."

Authenticity, technology, blockchain and sustainability were words of the day. How does the high fashion industry speak to new technologies? How is the automotive industry addressing the challenge of sustainability? Can the development of blockchain improve the brand experience for a consumer? The topic of consumer relations was collectively addressed by the guest speakers, with a shared perspective on the increasing value of honesty, authenticity and transparency. And new technologies allow for greater visibility of the origin of products, the journey they take, and how they are made.

Leo Rongone, CEO of Bottega Veneta, spoke in a conversation with Gabriella Lojacono and Andrea Rurale, Director of MAMA (Master in Arts Management and Administration), on how giving the proper value to craftsmanship is fundamental (only 75 leatherworkers in the world know how to make their bags, a skill that is preserved thanks to the School of Master Leatherworkers founded by Bottega Veneta)


Leo Rongone, CEO Bottega Veneta

 

Cyrille Vigneron, President & CEO of Cartier; Lorenzo Bertelli, Marketing Director & Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Prada; and Stefano Rosso, CEO BVX - OTB Group, were guests of honor. In a conversation moderated by Gabriella Lojacono and Stefano Pogutz, Director of the Full-Time MBA, they discussed how the development of blockchain is key in pursuing the value of authenticity. For this reason, they founded the Aura Blockchain Consortium alongside LVMH and Mercedes in 2021, to certify and track the past, present and future history of luxury items. As we look to the future, one thing that will become increasingly imperative is to respond to the ease of replication of products by tracking the history of each piece.

The increasingly close relationship between luxury and art emerged from conversations with Leo Rongone, CEO of Bottega Veneta, and Flavio Manzoni, Chief Design Officer at Ferrari. The two brands think of design as an applied art just as much today as they did in the past. And this relationship is in constant dialogue with architecture, music, figurative art and so on.

Far from a nostalgic approach to luxury, they look to the future by hybridizing their work with the greatest contemporary artists, in a mixture of genres that also guarantees creative prosperity for the industry in the years to come. Of course, creativity in this industry can never be separated from the concept of technology. Evolutions in engineering, the development of AI and other new techniques are, for all the guests who spoke throughout the day, fundamental tools to keep the production chain alive. However, despite being useful tools, they are never substitutes for humans. “This is the guiding thought behind creativity and only later does the intervention of technology become useful,” said Cyrille Vigneron.

When it comes to sustainability, creativity is in service of technology for the design of the new Ferrari hybrid to be launched in 2025. In the meeting led by Flavio Manzoni, and moderated by the EMiLUX Faculty Member Pietro Lanza and Enzo Baglieri, Associate Dean for Master Division SDA Bocconi, he spoke about how working on the project has meant finding aesthetic solutions to a new engineering system that is complex to manage. This is just extra motivation to invent new forms that address the future of the automotive industry.

All of the guests noted they've found an increased interest in sustainability among the younger generation, which has reacted well to projects such as Bottega Veneta's Certificate of Craft, a certificate that allows the customer to receive an unlimited number of repairs for the product purchased free of charge.  “We are focused on responsible growth. Our intent is to keep products in use longer, reducing the need to replace them ” said Leo Rongone.

The service offered by Aura Blockchain Consortium to resell a certified product in just one easy click has also received positive feedback. This blockchain service has the capacity to breathe life into the whole second-hand industry. Similarly, the service offered by Gruppo Florence, part of VAM Investments, is receiving excellent feedback. They offer repairs of products in a systematic way, in order to give them new life, which seemed impossible for the high fashion industry.
By joining forces with many small companies, the Group has created a sustainable way to do this, generating great operational synergy. "Florence was founded in 2020, and in a few years has grown from 8 to 27 acquired companies from different categories, not only Ready-to-Wear," said Marco Piana, CEO VAM. Gabriella Lojacono highlights how suppliers around Florence are not mere executors of choices made by Brand Clients but integrate and actively contribute to merchandising and prototyping processes. "Today all luxury goods have had a significant acceleration from the point of view of digitization, not only downstream but also upstream. Florence is a wonderful example of upstream technology investment in the supply chain."

This last example leads to the reflection that sums up the perspectives of all the guests. Whether it was about design or the supply chain, new technologies or craftsmanship, one element seemed to dominate when looking at coming development in the luxury sector, and that is cooperation. Working collectively rather than individually means small and large brands can move forward at twice the speed, solve seemingly insurmountable problems, increase their turnover and, together, implement consumer services. What awaits the luxury sector is a coming together of forces to best answer new demands like authenticity, sustainability, quality and exclusivity.

We wish the EMiLUX alumni success in answering these questions and becoming the luxury innovators of tomorrow. In the words of Director Lojacono, "these are exciting times for luxury, a fascinating and challenging market in which international managers are called upon to give their best, equipped with cutting-edge management tools and endless creativity."


From left to right: Stefano Pogutz, MBA Director, Cyrille Vigneron, President and CEO, Cartier, Gabriella Lojacono, EMiLUX Director, Lorenzo Bertelli, Marketing Director & Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Prada Group, Stefano Rosso, CEO, BVX, part of OTB Group, Stefania Carraro, EMiLUX Coordinator.

 

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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