Salvatore Ferragamo is one of Italy’s most historical luxury brands, with roots dating back to the 1920s. Founded by Italian immigrant Salvatore Ferragamo, who made a name for himself as a shoemaker in the United States before returning to his native Italy to continue his burgeoning shoe business, the brand is known for its Italian heritage and artisanal craftsmanship.
Settling in beautiful Florence, Italy, Mr. Ferragamo continued to grow his business, earning the nickname “shoemaker to the stars”. Eventually, the Salvatore Ferragamo brand had become a fully-run family business, with his daughter designing a new RTW line and his wife, Wanda, taking charge of the brand following Mr. Ferragmo’s death in 1960. However, it wasn’t until the late 1960s that the brand extended its offerings to include handbags. Though the bags were initially designed to complement the rest of Ferragmo’s offerings, they became increasingly more significant for the brand, becoming coveted items in their own right.
Today, the Ferragmo family is still the company’s main shareholder, remaining at the helm of everything the brand does, and the brand’s storied house codes remain an integral part of modern collections. From the iconic Ferragamo Gancini emblem, which was inspired by the iron gates of Palazzo Spini Feroni in Florence and first used over half a century ago, to the brand’s storied Vara Bow, history remains a big part of the brand’s DNA. But these days, we’ve seen that it is possible for a brand to stay true to its core yet reinvent itself, and recent news of a company shakeup indicates change is on the horizon, and it’s time.
The Time to Change is Now
In March of this year, it was announced that creative director Paul Andrew would be departing the brand after five years. Andrew officially left his post in May, and a successor has yet to be announced. The current design role has since been taken over by existing in-house teams, leaving the future of the Ferragmo brand a mystery, for now.
While news of the departure was speculated earlier in the year, following a tough financial year in 2020 due to the pandemic, the announcement came amidst even more rumors surrounding a shakeup of the company’s board. As fashion moves away from traditional marketing instead now focusing on the generation that’s grown up in the digital age, many brands have struggled to find their footing, and for me, Ferragmo is one of them.
Despite its rich history, attention to detail, and solid offerings, the brand seems to struggle to find its niche, and modernization of sorts would be extremely beneficial in creating a broader consumer interest. With a heritage brand with a name like Ferragamo and a distinction for its quality and craftsmanship, the right changemaker could make all the difference in reviving the brand, whose offerings are solid but somehow still miss the mark, falling short of standing out amongst a vast sea of competitors. Only time will tell what’s next for Ferragamo, but with the right next steps, the possibilities are endless.