Samsung looks to luxury with Colombo Via della Spiga

The Korean multinational Samsung is taking a closer look at fashion, striving to develop a real luxury business pole in its operations. Last year the giant corporation concentrated all its efforts and investments on Via della Spiga Colombo, an Italian brand of luxury leather goods that it purchased in November 2011 and operates through the Samsung Fashion division. 

Yong Ik Kim, President of Samsung Fashion
Active in the textile sector and especially in textile distribution for sixty years through its Cheil Industries Woolen Fabrics, Samsung sells many labels in Korea, including Comme des Garçons, Pierre Balmain and Issey Miyake. It has also opened two "Corso Como 10" concept stores in Seoul. 

The group owns several Korean brands such as Juun.J and Hexa By Kuho. In 1983, it launched its own menswear line Galaxy and last year, it created the GX 1983 menswear collection. The line was directly pitched to European markets where it now has a dozen multibrand clients. But currently, the company has chosen to focus on its latest acquisition, Colombo Via della Spiga.

Closed since March, the historic boutique reopened its doors on Tuesday in the prestigious "Via della Spiga" street in Milan, Italy. The redesign of this 160-square-meter space is the grand-scale comeback of the luxury leather goods brands, whose trademark is crocodile bags in bright colors. 

Founded in 1955 by Luisa Colombo, daughter of Milan tanners, the brand started out with a store on the via Turati. In 1973, the founder's son Aldo Roberto Moretti opened a shop in the chic Via della Spiga, from which the brand took its name. Third generation Massimo and Fabio Moretti then took over the business and developed it in South Korea, where the brand opened 13 stores before being entirely sold to Samsung Cheil Industries Inc.

Colombo Via della Spiga bags
The brand, whose sales totalled 7 million euros in 2011, is still managed by the founding family, Massimo Moretti heading up retail and sales and Fabio Moretti overseeing product. This year the company's distribution strategy was reviewed and an ambitious development plan was fine-tuned. To gain visibility, Colombo Via della Spiga will soon open a store in Rome as well as some shops in jet-set resort areas by 2015. 

"We want to grow this brand while maintaining a strong identity focused on a product of very high quality and tradition. In October, we are inaugurating a large, three-story flagship Colombo Via della Spiga in the center of Seoul just across from the Hermès boutique, which will also house a museum dedicated to the brand," said Yong Ik Kim, president of Samsung Fashion. 

Besides the expansion of stores, the brand will launch a collection of ready-to-wear for men and women in February 2014. "The idea is to offer a total Colombo Via della Spiga look over time with complete lines in clothing and footwear. We started this season with furs and knitwear sweaters and scarves. We are in the process of creating an actual design office that will be assigned to a designer by December. We will start with women, who are currently our main customers," said Massimo Moretti. 

The renovated Colombo Via della Spiga boutique
But Samsung does not want to stop there, as Yong Ik Kim indicates, admitting that the company is on the lookout for "other brands like Colombo Via della Spiga with very upscale products and an important tradition of craftsmanship."

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