Aeronautica Militare takes off

Aeronautica Militare’s history is quite peculiar. The brand is the fruit of a license given by the Italian Air Force to Cristiano Di Thiene, one of its main leather jacket suppliers, in order to create a clothing line. The brand is also known as Collezione Privata, so that people can distinguish it from the real army clothes. Today, six years after its creation, the brand accounts for 90% of the supplier’s turnover of around 30 million euros, of which 70% is made from sales for men and the rest for women and children. Above all, its yearly 20-25% increase has allowed the brand to expand overseas, and now more than half of its turnover (55%) is made abroad. Aeronautica Militare currently has 800 clients in Italy and 1,000 in the rest of the world, with most of them coming from Austria, Switzerland, Spain, France and Germany. The brand has also made a good start in the Asian market, where it is working in association with Hong-Kong-based Chinese group, Wiseknit Factory Limited, of Victor Chu (owner of Gate 88). Aeronautica Militare already has 2 points of sale in Shanghai and Macao, plus more than a dozen in multi-brand stores. The brand is also in the process of expanding in North America with the help of Antoine di Capua, an Italian established in New York and Los Angeles. Although products are already sold in France and in America, the first real collection is going to launch during Autumn/Winter 2011-12.
Aeronautica Militare

Aeronautica Militaire currently has around 10 self-named boutiques in Italian territory (including airports). Four of those were developed with the help of partnerships with multi-brand stores in Rome, Naples, Cortina and Bergame. The remaining units are franchised. This year, the brand is planning on opening 10 corners and boutiques, where 2 will be located in franchised stores in Turin and Alessandria. In Europe, the brand is going to launch its first point of sale outside of Italy in Vienna (Austria) around August next year. It also has plans to open boutiques in Spain (with the help of partnerships) and France. The brand’s export director, Claudio Scuccato, explained that the only thing about France is that « it is hard to choose a location: “Royale Street, Saint-Gerlain, Champs Elysées?". Aeronautica Militaire is already sold in France at approximately 60 retailers.
Aeronautica Militare

Often sold in multi-brand stores next to designer labels such as Ralph Lauren and Hackett, Aeronautica Militaire incorporates a unique style, guided by Italian stylist Massimo Giarcon. The clothes have a casual and military look, with logos that are more or less authentic. However, the army is extremely proud of their uniform and can thus be quite strict in terms of what the brand is allowed to do: “For example, we had placed the Italian flag on the sole of a pair of shoes. For us, it was fashion, explains Claudio Scuccato. But the army stopped us because they thought it was disrespectful to walk on the Italian flag".

Aeronautica Militare’s high-end products include polo shirts (140-160 euros), trousers (170-210) and leather jackets costing up to 800 pounds. Cristiano di Thiene pays royalties to the Italian Air force and has a licensing agreement with them that expires by the end of 2013.

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