Posted on May 11, 2012

Earlier today, I had a slight fanboy moment. The Ermenegildo Zegna twitter account started following me & asked about my favourite Zegna digital project. Naturally I was smiling from ear to ear (and screaming inside), I mean this is the brand that I’ve looked to for inspiration. Everything from what it means to be a luxury brand with impeccable product to styling garments & models from the times I’ve art directed formalwear shoots. The first & most obvious thing that came to mind was their 3D inSTORE project.

“Fine Italian craftsmanship meets eCommerce to create a shopping environment that offers both the latest virtual amenities and all of Zegna’s signature style and innovation.”

Last year, to coincide with the launch of their Paris store, the Italian fashion house launched their first online virtual shopping experience along with a mobile application, to emulate the feeling of being inside one of their stores. Entering the virtual store, users are greeted by a video of a very smartly dressed Milla Jovovich who explains how to use the site or app. Clicking or tapping on “map” portrays a bird’s-eye view of each floor, and scrolling & clicking a specific area will lead you to the relevant department such as suiting, casual style, shirts etc. The user is able to walk around the store, sift through the ties rack and look at what the mannequin-like models placed around the floor are wearing & make their purchase. Unlike others who have tried this before, the inSTORE app is very well designed & despite the slight graphic “boxiness” in places is still a very good digital interpretation of the flagship (Thanks largely to hollywood special-effects director James Lima), & a fantastic way of introducing the Zegna experience worldwide.

InSTORE challenges previous notions of commerce. In fact I would go on to describe it as the evolution of eCommerce in regards to the fashion retail industry. The difference with what Zegna are doing compared to a online retailer say such as Net-A-Porter is marketing their own brand, their own heritage and who Ermenegildo Zegna are to everyone who makes a purchase from them, without the need of the customer needing to walk into one of their stores. What gives Zegna the mighty edge to implement this idea successfully is their solid reputation – a leading italian fashion house that is known for providing luxurious, high quality items of clothing. The high end garments you see will be exactly what you receive, so unlike certain high street brands/online retailers, they have already established ‘quality based trust’ with their customer. You don’t need to bite the Zegna sprinkled doughnut to know it’s sweet if you catch my drift.

Zegna are currently working on developing this welcomed application further. With that ever growing shadow sweeping across the world of retail, I believe it’s a wise move to start buying land in cyberspace, but only if you’ve got the solid branding and style like these guys to back it up. Online experiences have been successful due to convenience and the idea of a cyberstore such as this inspires & educates us consumers further, without having to leave the comfort of our own home.


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