Brunello Cucinelli is a luxury cashmere and sportswear brand based on the socially conscious principles of its founder and namesake.
Mr. Cucinelli believes that a designer must respect humanity and the environment. His clothing has been described as sporty chic, looking equally at home at a wine tasting or on the back of a motorcycle.
Brunello Cucinelli grew up in an agricultural community near Perugia, Italy. When he was a boy, his father worked in a cement factory where he was underpaid and treated cruelly. Observing this inhumane treatment and studying philosophers like Socrates and Plato led Cucinelli to develop his own philosophy. He referred to it as humanistic capitalism. Humanistic capitalism values workers and the environment as much as making money. The designer would build his brand around these values.
Cucinelli started dyeing cashmere for colorful sweaters in a small Italian workshop in 1978. Based on his ideals, it is easy to see why cashmere was a natural fit for the brand. The designer stated, “A cashmere garment lasts forever, you never throw it away, you must pass it on to your children, its ability to last is the symbol of its value.”
He took his first collection to a retailer in northern Italy, who ordered fifty-three pieces. He built on this initial success, expanding first to Germany and then eventually the United States. After marrying his wife Federica in 1982, Cucinelli was charmed by her Italian hilltop village, Solomeo. He moved the company there.
With his reverence for the environment and his adopted community, Cucinelli purchased a 14th century castle to transform into his corporate headquarters. The formerly crumbling space was soon filled with the humming sound of knitting machines.
His dedication to the village of Solomeo continued. He transformed a Renaissance villa into a dining hall for employees. The designer also helped restore a village church, repaved streets, restored city squares, as well as built a park and crafted a 16th century styled theater.
With a desire to spread his ideals further, Cucinelli listed his company on the Milan Stock Exchange in 2012. His venture proved successful. After the initial public offering, his personal net worth exceeded $1 billion.
Even with his personal success, Cucinelli remains committed to his philosophy. Twenty percent of the company’s profits are donated to The Bruno and Federica Cucinelli Foundation which supports “enhancing knowledge, protecting the land and its monuments, highlighting the value of tradition, promoting spiritual and daily values of mankind.”