Diesel founder considering jewelery and Japan to beat slowdown

Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:46pm EST
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By Antonella Ciancio

ROME (Reuters) - Diesel brand founder Renzo Rosso is considering expanding into jewelery and launching a new project in Japan to fuel growth at his fashion group despite the global economic turmoil.

Known as the "king of high-end casualwear", the rockstar-looking businessman is one of the most dynamic figures in a fashion industry threatened by a slowdown in its core markets.

A painful recession in southern Europe and a slowdown in China are forcing European brands to come up with new ideas to lure consumers back into their stores.

Accessories, which, like leather belts and perfumes, are more affordable than evening dresses, are the fastest-growing category in a luxury industry expected to grow 5 percent this year from 13 percent in 2011 at constant exchange rates, according to consultancy Bain & Co.

Italian designer Giorgio Armani said in September he would boost sales of accessories.

Rosso, who also owns young-focused brands such Maison Martin Margiela and Viktor & Rolf, said he expected the recession to continue to hurt Italy well beyond 2013.

"There is a deep crisis and I believe it will remain serious for two other years," Rosso said on the sidelines of the IHT summit on Friday afternoon.

"We need to take care of our licences for sunglasses, watches and perfumes. A world that fascinates me is jewelery. With my brands I want to enter this category too," he said.   Continued...

Founder of Diesel clothing company Renzo Rosso gestures before his fashion show at Berlin Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 July 6, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Peter