Italian sportswear brand to open shop in Davao

Subscribe Now August 22, 2011 at 11:14am

“Asia is a big part of our long-term strategy, it’s a maturing market,” said Ellesse managing director Mike Stopforth. The brand has been well-received in Japan... ...and Korea, however he noted that “it’s a slightly more mature market than China and parts of South East Asia but I think there’s lots of opportunities down here. If we get in at the right time, we definitely can forge a credible brand.”

Ellesse is a 50-year-old brand founded by Italian tailor Leonardo Servadio (the name is created from his initials -- L.S.). The brand started out with ski wear collections and later moved on to tennis clothes in the 1970s. Since then it has evolved but it still focuses on casual sportswear with a more “lifestyle” take on sports.

Mr. Stopforth explained that Italian style is more about the styling of the product. “It means it’s more fashionable, it’s not necessarily about the harsh performance sweaty sportswear. It’s much more stylized,” he noted.

He added that they also cater to consumers who are not involved in sports but prefers being casually dressed.

Shoe and sports clothing is a competitive industry, especially with giants like Adidas and Nike dominating the market -- Adidas reported earlier this month that its net profit rose 11% in the second quarter.

Despite tight competition, Mr. Stopforth pointed out that the Italian brand has its own niche market.

“We are a premium sports brand. We are accessible, however, we are premium…at the higher end of the market. We are not positioning ourselves at entry level.”

He also emphasized the brand’s age. “We are 50 years old, older than a lot of the [other] brands -- with age comes credibility.”

Aside from its sportswear being “stylish,” Mr. Stopforth also added that brand adapts locally. “With so much competition, we want to deliver innovative products, the reason why we tie up with local partners in the region.

“Unlike other’s business model where they have a central collection, we work with partners to react to the local market need a lot quicker and efficiently.”

The majority of its range released in the country will be designed locally following the brand’s “DNA” from a central perspective but designed for the local market.

“Climate and other factors are taken into consideration. Some are designed here or in Europe by a person working closely in the Philippines.”

The brand plans to open its second store in Alabang after opening its first shop at the Abreeza Mall in Davao. It plans to open nine stores in two years. Ellesse products are currently available in all ResToeRun shops and selected Bratpack stores.


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