Angela Missoni on taking care of business.

a perspective

Ottavio (Tai) Missoni was a world class sportsman who competed at the 1948 Olympics and also designed the tracksuits for the Italian team. It was there he met Rosita Jelmini.

With Rosita developing the shape and Ottavio as the colourist and technician they founded their knitwear studio in 1953 each playing to their strengths.

Initially their clothes appeared without the signature label, and then in 1958 Missoni was launched with a capsule range and a series of striped dresses sold to the Italian department store La Rinascente.

The famous zigzag stripe emerged in1962 when they implemented the flammata (flames) technique on the Raschel knitting machine, traditionally used for creating shawls. The business prospered and was championed by fashion editor Anna Piaggi, culminating with their first catwalk show in Milan in 1966.

Bloomingdales opened an in-store boutique in the early 1970s, Vogue followed, as did high profile customers which gave the brand celebrity credibility.

In 1978 the Spring Collection was accompanied by a retrospective at New York’s Whitney Museum and later the same year Missoni showed its first menswear collection.

During the 1980’s the brand widened its appeal by launching the first Missoni fragrance followed by Missoni Home; the signature pattern was applied to almost everything and in 2009 they opened the first hotel in Edinburgh.

In the 1990s Ottavio and Rosita handed the reins of the company to their family members who continue to move the company forward.

My parents were never followers. They just led by their own passion experimenting and being very curious.  My father started doing knitwear because he was making tracksuits for his sports. My mother’s family owned a fabric and embroidery company, so she grew up with fashion magazines and in that environment. This was a job simply for them both to live. They decided they were going to have a family and make a living out of this.

My mum is 100 per cent curious and has always been passionate about fashion. My parents were able to transmit this to the second generation and at the same time they gave my brothers and me a lot of freedom. I think maybe I’m the fourth generation of working women in my family which is huge in Italia. At the moment I’m also the president of the company so I’m taking care of many, many aspects which are not related to the collection itself, but they’re are related to business, related to numbers, related to so much else which requires a lot of creativity. I now I am a person who is great at finding solutions. That’s  one of my specialities.

You need attention to detail, which can be tiring. You need to be very, very passionate. You have to own your own vision. As my mother said to me when I started ‘You have to do fashion when you’re passionate and you must have the strength to battle with the commercial part of the business’.

Today the fashion industry is more complicated than ever. You have to battle for your idea.  You have to believe in what you’re doing, and you also have to have a lot of luck. The digital world can help a lot of up and comers to be seen. If you have something special to day you have the chance of being seen and being scouted today.

Image attribution: Photo by Danilo Scarpati sourced from Words gleaned from Collective Hub Magazine Jan 2018; Missoni’s Zig Zag Path to Success written by  Mariel V Demetriou. Used under Fair Dealing terms (AU).

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