LIM Alumna Daniella Vitale Headlines "People In The Know" Event

On December 9 the LIM Fashion Education Foundation (FEF) hosted a People in the Know series event featuring LIM alumna Daniella Vitale, CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo. Daniella has also held C-level roles at Gucci, Barneys New York, and Tiffany & Co.

LIM FEF Daniella Vitale

Daniella first spoke about her time in college, saying of LIM, “The fact that they were so connected in the industry... there were a lot of experiences for students to have outside of the classroom.”

She continued, “LIM embodied what the industry is about and what New York is about, and it embodies that legacy today.” 

Of her time at Gucci, Daniella talked about how she ran wholesale for five years, describing Gucci as a paradigm of what international industry meant, explaining, “When you sat around the table at Gucci there were people from everywhere.”

Daniella also noted the value of being both a global and digital brand, explaining how and why she helped launch e-commerce at Gucci.

Later in her career, Daniella became the CEO of Barney's New York and tried to take Barney's online as she saw the success a brand could have online during her time at Gucci. She received some pushback from people in the company who did not see the value in selling Barney’s brands online.

“I watched the executives say, ‘Oh we can’t sell any of this online,’” adding that she feels Barney’s would have survived if there had been more of an investment in e-commerce. In fact, she thinks Barney's would have stacked up well up against competitors like Net-A-Porter. 

Nevertheless, Daniella claims that Barney’s offered value in terms of the in-store shopping experience, which many people still crave, even post-pandemic.

Daniella went on to talk about how customer engagement is important, especially after the pandemic. She predicts that people are going to turn back to physical stores because they want that engagement, and it is the brand’s job to create enjoyment and “bring people past the threshold.”

Daniella has a deep understanding of the fashion industry and how to take opportunities to the next level. She concluded the event by providing some great advice to LIM students in an interactive Q&A (samples below): 

Why do you feel there is a resistance to a change in the fashion industry regarding sustainability? 
There is a cost to making these changes, but in the end it will be more profitable and the consumers are demanding it. I think people are resisting because of the investment, but it is a need, and it is inevitable.

Which fashion house (that you worked for) had the most challenges and how did you face them? 
Daniella mentioned that each house has unique challenges, but those largely came down to how to attract young consumers, saying, “How do we make the brand appeal to a younger consumer? How do we protect the base and the legacy of the brand, but attract younger customers?” 

How did you handle pushback on your ideas within the various companies you worked with?
Here, Daniella mentioned the importance of collaborating with like-minded people. “Show people how successful we can be in this channel and build a team around those ideas. Bring to the table people who believe in the channel.”