Abstract: The Variety and the Evolution of Business Models and Organizational Forms in the Italian Fashion Industry

Paola Varacca Capello and Davide Ravasi


Thousands of Italian companies are involved in vertical chains involving textiles and apparel and shoes and leather goods, respectively. These industries have varied business and company models, partly linked to their fragmentation in product categories, prices, customers, channels, and styles. In both domestic and global markets, international competition and the evolution of customers forced those companies to redesign strategies and organizational structures to maintain and reinforce the success attained in the 1980s. We describe the variables of greatest importance in explaining diversity: core businesses and segments, brand portfolio, degree of vertical integration and expertise, internationalization, design, ownership, and growth. We use these variables to analyze strategic models for the twenty-two most important (by revenue) Italian fashion groups and discuss their evolution. Identifying strategic models in fashion/luxury is not easy; competing companies/groups differ in many ways, including differences related to country of origin, even in a continuously globalizing industry.

BEH On-Line Paper