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Chanel Invests in Key Italian Denim Maker

Fashionart, a luxury jeans design and production consultancy in Italy, has sold a majority ownership stake to one of its best and oldest clients, Chanel.

The legendary French fashion house acquired a 60 percent in the company for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition marks Chanel’s 42nd investment in a fashion crafter—and tenth in an Italian one—but its first in one that is denim-centric.

Its previous specialist Italian acquisitions include three shoemakers, two leather goods manufacturers, two tanneries, a fabric and yarn mill and a hosiery supplier.

Fashionart was born 15 years ago when Karl Lagerfeld challenged its founder, Andrea Rambaldi, to create and wash a pair of jeans for his 2007-2008 collection. Rambaldi ended up brushing the denim by hand to achieve the foglike effect that Lagerfeld desired.  

The supplier’s stated mission is “to translate the designer’s idea into a product that can be reproduced in series without losing the quality of the single garment.”

Located in the heart of the Paudian industrial district, Fashionart works with other luxury houses such as Burberry and Balmain as well as with small designers. It will use the investment to grow its staff and capability.

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“The intention is to expand the business enriching ourselves with talents,” Rambaldi said. “Luxury requires manual skills and unparalleled skills, moreover, precisely to satisfy our needs but not only, we will start an internal academy, the Fashion Tailoring Academy, a training course open to anyone with a passion for sewing and the world of fashion.”

Chanel has taken a 60 percent stake in Fashionart, an Italian denim specialist.
Fashionart headquarters Courtesy

Keen on sustainability, Fashionart and its complete production chain are GOTS (Global Textile Standard) certified.

The deal is the latest example of a label investing in one of its key suppliers. Last week Levi Strauss & Co. announced that it was co-leading a $4.8 million cash funding of natural indigo dye maker Stony Creek Colors, which it has worked with for the past five years.

In addition, Italian luxury manufacturing conglomerate Gruppo Florence added its first denim specialist, Ideal Blue Manifatture, to its stable of companies in November.