Interview with Sara Citterio, Corporate Affairs, Legal and Compliance at Trussardi
Ahead of the Luxury Law Summit we caught up with one of our speakers, Sara Citterio, Corporate Affairs, Legal and Compliance at Trussardi to ask her what she felt were the three key challenges facing the industry, the changes she sees in the way that luxury business law teams are using outside counsel and the three key legal issues that many companies neglect to sufficiently consider when doing the deal on collaborations.
Sara: The biggest challenge luxury is facing right now that will affect the years to come is a change in the distribution system. This single factor brings about several related changes with it. At wholesale level, the rapid increase of online distribution puts brands under pressure as the control on this new distribution channel is somehow difficult and requires new investments to prevent abuses and balance the commitment to foster the value of the brand with the commercial interests of business partners and the current legislation.
Online distribution is also affecting retail sales, which are experiencing a downturn in terms of figures. The retail channel is suffering and needs to find new ways of attracting customers and to offer new experiences to engage the clients.
Another challenge is the increased awareness especially in younger customers in respect to fashion sustainability.
Another important issue in the luxury businesses is the passing from one generation to the next. This affects especially those businesses created by a single visionary entrepreneur that at some point must face the “what next?” question.
LLS: Why do you think it’s important to bring in house legal counsel and law firms together to discuss business challenges facing the luxury sector at the Luxury Law Summit?
Sara: In-House professionals have a broader view of problems affecting the luxury business because working in-house exposes lawyers to business issues not just legal ones. This multifaceted outlook is essential because it achieves a blend of business and legal awareness that outside counsels should value and exploit to offer a better advice to companies.
LLS: Do you see changes in the way that luxury business law teams are using outside counsel?
Sara: When I started my in house career several years ago, outside counsels where often involved in general law matters, and more than often they provided support for understaffed legal departments but they did not create real value for work. In my recent experience, I see outside counsels are now involved on very specialized matters where a distinctive professional specialty is needed.
LLS: We are seeing an increasing number of collaborations between businesses in the luxury sector – what are three key legal issues that many companies neglect to sufficiently consider when doing the deal on collaborations?
Sara: IP issues are not often considered and evaluated as they should. Too many aspects are sometimes taken for granted or not confronted at all. Various factors are involved here – the creative side of projects sometimes tend to take over other concerns, and generally speaking on the eve of any exciting project many entrepreneurs tend not to consider that things may go wrong at a certain point.
Intellectual property is an area that is commonly underrated, along with other aspects that are connected with the specific project.
Sara will be part of a panel discussing a day in the life of a GC: how legal teams are responding to the dynamic challenges of the luxury sector. View the full agenda