MILAN, Italy — The Business of Fashion is pleased to share the first ever in-depth video interview with Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, discussing the digital strategies that in 5 short years have transformed D&G from a "closed" brand to an "open" brand, where digital is now intertwined into the DNA, providing realtime, behind-the-scenes access via three separate Twitter accounts, a Facebook fan page with more than 3 million fans, a slew of digital content initiatives including Swide.com, and a new online store for the Dolce & Gabbana mainline that launches today.
Speaking exclusively to BoF founder Imran Amed at an interview recorded in June at London's Mandarin Oriental Hotel, monsieurs Dolce and Gabbana speak candidly, not only about the way they use digital technology in their business, but also how it has impacted their own lives, and how this has changed the way they work with each other, and with their teams.
While other brands may get more kudos for their digital tactics, Dolce & Gabbana are careful to point out that they were the first luxury fashion brand to have a mobile website (2004), the first to livestream a fashion show (2005), and the first to live stream a fashion show on an iPhone (2009). In a savvy PR move, D&G put bloggers in their front row in September 2009, mixing in Bryanboy and Tommy Ton with Anna Wintour and Suzy Menkes, creating an image that will no doubt stand as visual marker of a watershed season in fashion history.
At the core of this digital innovation is a culture that fosters risk-taking, something that has always been a part of D&G, right back to the time when the business was set up as an entrepreneurial venture in Milan just over 25 years ago. "We are never satisfied," explained Stefano Gabbana, "maybe this is the trick of always moving forward."
For his part, Domenico Dolce said that risk-taking is also enabled by the fact that D&G is a private company, which can make decisions as it pleases. "If we have an idea, we use it...we decide what [we] want, when [we] want, in which way we want" to do things, he said.
"It's a new language," continued Mr. Dolce, likening it to a time in the late 1970's when the first generation of Italian mega fashion brands of today, such as Armani and Versace, were just emerging. "I think today is a very special moment in the fashion business."
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