MCS, the renowned men’s sportswear brand, is returning. Started in the mid-’80s as Marlboro Classics, it then became part of the London-based Emerisque Group until it faced bankruptcy in 2017. Since 2018 Nemesis Srl holds the license for EMEA markets, except France where Central Way manages its exclusive license for that market only.
Entrepreneur Gianfranco Sovernigo, CEO and majority owner of Nemesis, started MCS's relaunch and here explains his future plans.
Nemesis is a company founded by some partners and me in 2013. In 2018, I acquired control of it. In that same year I obtained the license for distributing the MCS brand in EMEA, except France, with an option to buy the brand.
Our commitment is to distribute the MCS brand–characterized by the iconic Malboro Man logo–Europewide and give back to it all the attention it deserves. We started working at this relaunch and hit stores starting from s/s 2019, though from January 2020 we will launch a special capsule collection for f/w 2020-21 inspired by the brand’s heritage and iconic past.
Nemesis produces and distributes MCS directly through a team of skilled professionals–mostly internal ones.
Production mostly happens in the Mediterranean basin through companies that have been working with MCS for a long time though, obviously, also involving a few new manufacturers. We are also working to bring part of its production in Italy. Distribution is taken care by a master agency that coordinates a pool of agencies and some distributors.
Yes, we are. We believe in this brand and in this relaunch project. Therefore it’s natural we hope to acquire it from Mcs Brand Management Company Limited, a company based in Ireland.
How do you plan to relaunch it?
Our three-year business plan is made up of different phases.
We have already repositioned the brand in Italy through a wholesale distribution network made up of independent multibrand stores–both historic clients and new ones.
At present MCS is sold through 200 wholesale clients and nine monobrand stores. In three years we aim to reach 600 wholesale clients and 18 monobrands–including our own stores. We have recently signed an agreement for the opening of six shop-in-shops in Sicily in the most important shopping malls.
We have also started developing a foreign distribution network through agencies in Spain and Portugal and a distributor in Greece.
And we have also already created a capsule that is rooted in the brand’s true DNA for fall/winter 2020 that we will present in January and will be sold to a few selected agencies. This will give us the opportunity to develop a wholesale network of medium-high stores; it will bring visibility to the brand while reaching new clients and market segments.
We also want to activate e-commerce, a fundamental channel that can help reach more MCS consumers in a phase when product is not distributed so widely.
In terms of international expansion we are also going to activate an agency contract with the Scandinavia market, historically the third most important market for the brand. We also want to enter Eastern Europe by stepping in Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Russia.
Will there be significant changes in the brand’s identity?
MCS brand identity was always very clear and recognizable by our reference target. Therefore, our core product will remain tied to US heritage inspiration, Italian design and textile industry tradition for research of materials, design and pieces’ fit.
We will continue revisiting our archive pieces while keeping an eye on actual trends. Many have tried to imitate MCS though the years, though ours remains the authentic, one-and-only brand characterized by the Rider’s logo since 1987. At present the collection is designed by an internal design office. For the capsule collection we will launch in January 2020, instead, we are working with J.J.One studio by Gionata Malagodi.
Our targets are 30- to 45-year-olds even if during the last months we realized that the Rider has collected fans of all ages!
How will the collection evolve?
So far we offer a man’s collection made of about 400 SKUs according to 14 product categories. We deliver two main collections a year–spring/summer in December and fall/winter in July. Capsule collections aimed at the highest part of or distribution will be included within these two deliveries.
The collection also offers denim that now counts for about 20% of the whole collection and includes five-pockets, shirts and jackets, though we aim to enlarge this part as we see greater market opportunities for this segment.