December 8, 2015

Marc Cain: 10 questions and answers on fashion, tech and business

42 years of tradition and 82 million euros invested in innovation. Ambassador of the Made in Germany label and cultivating a 60% export ratio, present in 59 countries, from Australia all the way to Saudi Arabia. The Marc Cain fashion brand has offered Fashion Avec Passion an interview.

We’ve thus found out what exactly it means for Marc Cain that ’’The collection is the Star!’’, what is ’’the spirit of the time’’ in the German and world fashion industries and what is the approach the House founded in Bodelshausen, Baden-Württemberg uses to blend art with technological innovation and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin runway shows with global business making.

 

? Marc Cain bids strongly on its Made in Germany process. Can you tell me more about this identity and what strategic choices it implies?

From 1973, when it was founded by Helmut Schlotterer, founder and owner, Marc Cain has become this globally operating premium brand for ladies’ fashion. We have our own production facility in Germany and we manage all our global business from the head office in Bodelshausen. We pride ourselves with our Made in Germany process because we invested over the years to build something that today is known as representative for Marc Cain fashion. To further safeguard the brand’s competitiveness, between 2007 and 2014, around 82 million euros were invested in administration and manufacture, as well as research and development. It is part of who we are.

? Research and Development is a pivotal part of Marc Cain’s business approach. How does it blend with the fashion side of your product? How do technology and artistry merge in a Marc Cain fashion item?

Research and development play an important role at Marc Cain indeed. Constant innovation is the basic prerequisite for running a Marc Cain production facility in Germany. Even back in the seventies Marc Cain was a pioneer by having the first electronically operated knitting machines. In the highly modern production facilities at the headquarters in Germany, currently 100 knitting machines are in operation, 92 of which are knitting machines and 8 circular knitting machines specifically for the manufacture of garment fabrics. The majority of flat knitting machines are able to create “3-D Knit & Wear 100% Made in Germany” products. “3-D Knit & Wear” is the production of a garment in just one single step, i.e. a completely finished product leaves the machine. After processing at the Bodelshausen site, the garment can also be printed in-house. Due to the high demand, additional “3-D Knit & Wear” products are being added to the Marc Cain collections. The designers ideas have the best execution, that is how we see it.

? What is, do you think, the role of innovation in an industry often rooted in traditional know-how, artisanship, techniques and patterns that are highly viewed especially for the legacy they carry, for, essentially, their glorious past?

It is about the same balance between technology and artistry, one wouldn’t work without the other. We try to keep tradition alive by working with providers that come from craftsmen generations and are known to be the best in their field. At the same time, innovation allows us to reach perfection every time.

? Marc Cain equals high tech design. But can you tell me more about the inspiration side of your collections? About the non-quantifiable aspects of the creative process behind a collection?

At Marc Cain the collection is the star! The company philosophy was therefore defined by the following guidelines: a sense of aesthetics and art, combined with casualness and naturalness, innovative thinking and exclusivity. Fashion that is always a little bit different and yet always true to itself. Distinctive and unmistakable – that is the vision of Marc Cain Coordinates. Marc Cain not only understands Coordinates to be a perfectly coordinated outfit, but, above all, as the subtle meeting of seemingly different individual pieces. Contradictions which nevertheless come together to create a rounded image. The resulting interplay forms a new definition of the term “look” – the Marc Cain look. This is translated into the three labels Marc Cain Collections, Marc Cain Sports, Marc Cain Essentials and Marc Cain Additions.

? Many of your fabrics come from Italy. How do you see the Italian and the German approaches to fashion working together? Is there a natural synergy? A complementary relationship maybe?

Since the founding of Marc Cain in Italy, the company has been preserving its Italian roots combined with German perfection. The highest standards when it comes to design, quality, materials, the latest processing techniques and the fit are Marc Cain’s number one priority. This is why the fabrics, like the woven materials, jerseys and knitting yarns come directly from Italy, where artisanship and craftsmanship have their well deserved place.

? How about your work relationship with Romanian tailors? How does it fit the manufacturing process?

The innovative qualities and uniqueness of the Marc Cain collections have their roots in the German production facility in Bodelshausen, which successfully runs a three-shift system for knitting, nishing and printing. The final stages of production, i.e. the sewing together of the garment components, takes place in Romania and Hungary by partner companies, in which more than 2000 employees work for Marc Cain. We are happy with the way things are working out.

? Marc Cain shows its collections at Berlin Fashion Week. How would you describe the landscape of German fashion right now? And what is the place of Marc Cain within this industry?

On paper, Germany should be the fashion capital of Europe. The country is Europe’s largest national economy and its biggest consumer of apparel and footwear, according to Euromonitor. Berlin alone is the site of ten fashion schools, a Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and more than five leading fashion trade fairs. German cities are brimming with fashion businesses, according to a report by Berlin Partner for Business and Technology, a public-private initiative that markets the city. Since 2007, the inaugural season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, the number of fashion shows and presentations held during the week has increased by almost fivefold.

? You have a wide-spanning global retail presence – in 59 countries if I’m not mistaken. How does the Marc Cain style resonate across all of these cultures? And what does the Made in Germany label mean across the world?

180 Marc Cain Stores, 314 Shop-in-Stores, 370 Custody customers and another 712 upmarket specialist retail stores in 59 countries characterize our presence today. New stores and new shop-in-stores are currently in the pipeline. The Marc Cain export ratio is over 60%, with expansions continuing. So, what is the one thing that resonates all over the world? It is the Marc Cain woman that lives for today, the one that is confident, open-minded and curious. She loves being a woman, which she expresses through what she wears – naturally and effortlessly. She is the reason we speak the same language everywhere.

? Indeed, Marc Cain is present from Azerbaijan to Australia and from Romania to Hong Kong – how do you build brand awareness across all of these parallels and meridians?

We believe in social media, in fashion bloggers and media. We like to be present and we love to follow and participate at the same time in building a legacy. But, most important, the clothes take us across the world and introduce us to so many beautiful and great women out there.

? Can you tell me about what prompted you to develop your latest Marc Cain Additions line? What are your expectations following its introduction on the market?

Additions are “add-ons” for best sellers and important single items for the fashion trade. Completely separated from the Collections themes of the coordinates labels Marc Cain Collections and Marc Cain Sports, they offer customers modish trends in the most important sectors, such as outdoor wear, dresses, T-shirts, blouses, trousers, etc. With Marc Cain Additions, our existing range of individual items has been further extended.

And let’s also not forget that in stores it’s the time of the Marc Cain fall-winter 2015/2016 collections!

 

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Photos: Marc Cain