Gucci is using robots to create its latest trainers. The patented machine, known as "Reingenious", is based in Gucci’s ArtLab prototype factory on the outskirts of Florence.
The brand hopes that between 30 to 35 per cent of its production will be automated in the near future as a means of increasing its output to meet customer demand, particularly from China. The Fashion Law notes that multiple brands are bringing their production in-house to reduce lead times.
Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri says that his decision to use robots will also have creative benefits.
"If you internalise production,” he told the Financial Times, “you are able to experiment much more in terms of innovation.”
The Italian fashion house also plans to adopt the same strategy in making its covetable leather goods; there are plans to cut use of independent suppliers to 40 per cent of its production in the category over the long term, down from its current figure of 75 per cent. However, not everyone agrees that using robots is the way forward.
Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli argues that the handmade craftmanship required of some luxury items cannot be replicated by a machine. “There are some things you can use a robot to make, like sneakers, or to run a warehouse, but to use one to make a luxury product like a handbag? That is impossible," he said.