Save the Duck opens U.S. flagship in New York
According to Save the Duck, New Yorkers are down for some down-alternatives. The three-generations strong Milan-based sustainable parka-centric brand has opened its first flagship store in the bustling downtown retail mecca.
To celebrate, director and general manager, USA for Save the Duck, Loris Spadaccini, was on hand at the new 1500-square-foot location on lower Broadway to welcome press and other VIP guests to the store, which features a giant orange duck brand mascot and is lined with puffers and parkas in every imaginable shape and color.
"We were the first Italian fashion brand to achieve B Corp certification status in 2018. We have just committed to being carbon neutral by 2030," Spadaccini said, pointing out the brand's sustainable aspects. I
The store's design emulates the brand's environmentally friendly materials, notably recycled plastic used on track lighting and natural rubber varnish versus chemical-laden commercial lacquer options.
Its primary mission, according to the U.S. executive, is keeping the friendly fowl alive while other eco-conscious initiatives such as the building materials include using nylon made from PTE recycled plastics.
"One jacket saves 25-30 ducks; the sad thing is the ducks are killed for just their chest hair, and not all are used as food," he added.
Speaking of food, after touring the new space and trying out the coats, guests headed over to 11 Madison Park for a tasting menu dinner. Executive chef Daniel Humm pivoted the three-star Michelin-rated restaurant to upscale vegan offerings post-pandemic. Diners enjoyed a seven-course animal-free feast with wine pairings spanning three hours.
The brand, already sold in the U.S. at retail partners Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, and more, says wholesale accounts for 80 percent of the brand's current sales. The other 20 percent is made through their online business. That data indicates New York as the brand's largest market, but it's also the headquarters for its U.S. operations. Save the Duck views the U.S. as the biggest export market and has the potential for the most growth in the future.
Since 2020, the brand has evolved to include children's wear, which will soon be offered at the store. The brand plans to expand the line to include more 'smart' leisure and fashion-forward styles. Thus far, women's product accounts for about 53 percent of the business, men's is 37 percent, and the kid's line is 10 percent and growing.
A U.S. presence and the rudimentary nature of a down-filled jacket make the rand ripe for a collaboration stateside. Spadaccini cautions, though.
"We successfully collaborated with Missoni two years ago and then with British outerwear brand Mackintosh. To consider an American brand or designer, we must ensure they align with our environmental goals and practices. We make business decisions based on how they fulfill initiatives, not necessarily how successful they might become," he added.
Save the Duck not only offers a sustainable down alternative known proprietarily as Plumtech, but has a competitive edge on pricing for the utility fashion product.
"Our most expensive jackets are between $500-$700 for the more technical and heavier down," continues the executive, pointing out the vegan sherpa pictured on the wall who Save the Duck outfitted that he says broke a world record for climbing K2 conditions. Entry prices are $200 for vests. Spadaccini attributes this to "tight relationships" with manufacturers that meet their B-Corp standards but also help maintain good margins, thanks to production volumes.
The brand has been an Italian manufacturing presence since 1914, when Foresto Bargi founded the Forest Clothing Company, an ironic foretelling of its current incarnation. Today, it's helmed by Foresto's grandson, CEO Nicolas Bargi. Concerned about animal welfare and the environment, especially as an avid surfer, Nicolas rebranded the company as Save the Duck in 2012. Now in its 10th year, Bargi said it's on a solid path forward.
"This has been a critical year for us since we're expanding in strategic new regions, as well as strengthening our presence in the markets where we're already present," said the CEO and owner. "I'm excited about the New York opening since it will be our first flagship store in the U.S., which is a key market for us. In the medium-long term, we aim to accelerate our growth and reinforce the brand identity and its awareness globally.'
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