Renzo Rosso founded the Diesel brand in 1978 and made it an alternative lifestyle icon all over the world. Today he is the president of OTB, the group controlling brands Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Jil Sander, Viktor & Rolf, Amiri and companies Staff International and Brave Kid, with over 6,000 employees worldwide and a 2019 turnover of over 1.5 billion euro. Through his personal company, Red Circle, he invests in companies and sectors that share a strong drive for innovation (Depop, ICONIQ Capital, Cortilia, Masi Agricola, Planet Farms, med-tech companies and more). Red Circle also owns the Pelican Hotel in Miami, the Chiltern Firehouse Hotel in London, and the Hotel Ancora in Cortina D’Ampezzo. Through the OTB Foundation, which he founded in 2008, he has invested in over 250 social projects around the world, from the restoration of the Rialto Bridge in Venice, to the support of communities affected by natural disasters, to programs helping women, young people, and integration. In the Covid emergency, OTB Foundation was among the most concretely active realities in Italy. In this interview, I speak to Renzo Rosso, President of OTB Group, about his life in entrepreneurship, creative vision, what it takes to build iconic, global fashion brands and why philanthropy & sustainability matter.

Thought Economics

Federico Marchetti is a remarkable entrepreneur defined by the New York Times as “the man who put fashion on the net”, has revolutionised the fashion industry. Marchetti founded YOOX, the world’s first lifestyle e-commerce destination, in 2000, way before the launch of Facebook and the iPhone. YOOX was listed on the Milan Stock Exchange in 2009; today, it remains Italy’s sole “unicorn”. In 2015, Marchetti drove the game-changing merger of YOOX and NET-A-PORTER to create the world leader in online luxury and fashion. Today, the Group is a unique eco-system connecting more than 1 billion people every year with the joy of luxury and fashion that lasts a lifetime and beyond. Back in 2009 he launched YOOXYGEN, the sustainability platform with collaborations including Katherine Hamnett, Amber Valletta, Vivienne Westwood, Edun and Stella Jean. Around that time, Marchetti’s team developed YOOX’s “ECOBOX”, which is fully recyclable and plastic-free, and is now the standard across NET- A-PORTER, MR PORTER and THE OUTNET. In 2021 His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales invited Marchetti to take on the role of Champion of HRH’s Sustainable Markets Initiative Task Force on Fashion. This follows the success of The Modern Artisan project between The Prince’s Foundation and YOOX NET-A-PORTER, a first of its kind training programme invented by Marchetti, promoting sustainable luxury design and craftsmanship through the use of data and technology. Alongside sustainability, inclusion and diversity have been central to the ethical approach that Marchetti has adopted over the last twenty years. He runs a mentorship programme for aspiring entrepreneurs from backgrounds that are typically underrepresented in the industry and is a founding member of the Champions of Change Coalition Global Technology Group, which works to advance gender equality in the tech sector. In 2020 Marchetti became the first non-family member to join the Giorgio Armani S.p.A Board of Directors as Independent Non-Executive Director. In 2017 Marchetti has been recognized by the President of the Italian Republic who knighted him as a Cavaliere. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Federico Marchetti remarkable entrepreneur defined by the New York Times as “the man who put fashion on the net,” on entrepreneurship, fashion, sustainability and luxury.

Thought Economics

In his book Shoemaker, Joe Foster tells the powerful tale of triumph against all the odds, revealing the challenges and sacrifices that go into creating a world-beating brand; it is also the story of how a small local business can transform itself, with the right products and the right vision, into something much, much bigger. In this interview, I spoke to Joe Foster about the remarkable story of how he turned a small factory in Bolton into one of the world’s most famous sports brands, Reebok.

Thought Economics

Ben Francis is the Founder and ambitious entrepreneur behind leading global fitness brand, Gymshark. Ben founded Gymshark when he was 19 years old, while still a student at Aston University. In addition to his full-time commitment to his studies, Ben juggled working as a pizza delivery man to fund his Gymshark venture. Ben made the decision to step down as CEO in 2017, to allow him to continue to focus on the things that have always set Gymshark apart – innovative design, creative content and consumer first thinking. In 2020, Gymshark became the first DTC brand in the UK to achieve Unicorn status with no external capital funding. The recent investment partnership with General Atlantic will see Gymshark become a true global brand. In this interview, I speak to Ben Francis about his journey in entrepreneurship and how he created Gymshark, one of the world’s most popular fitness brands.

Thought Economics

Jacqueline Gold CBE is Chief Executive of Ann Summers and Knickerbox and is renowned for managing a business run by women, for women. Jacqueline is an activist for women in business, championing female entrepreneurs and, through sharing her own experiences, aims to better the working environment for women. Her attitude towards female empowerment and gender equality inspires countless generations of women to pursue their dreams and celebrate their successes, not least her 11-year-old daughter Scarlett. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Jacqueline Gold CBE about her incredible entrepreneurship journey with Ann Summers and her work empowering women in the workplace.

Thought Economics

Jade Jagger is a visionary artist, creative director and jeweller. Her childhood coincided with the halcyon days of the New York pop art scene and Andy Warhol once famously said, “I love Mick and Bianca, but Jade’s more my speed. I taught her how to colour and she showed me how to play Monopoly. She was four and I was forty-four.” In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Jade Jagger about her passion for jewellery, her creative process and what it takes to create some of the world’s finest jewels.

Thought Economics

Sophia Amoruso is the Founder of Girlboss, a professional network for ambitious women. Her 2014 New York Times Bestseller #GIRLBOSS, which chronicled her early life as well as her experience as the founder of fashion empire Nasty Gal, was adapted into a scripted TV series that premiered on Netflix in 2017. Sophia is also the author of Nasty Galaxy and the Girlboss Workbook. She has been featured on the Fortune 40 under 40, Forbes 30 under 30, Inc. 30 under 30, Fast Company Most Creative People in Business lists, and named one of Forbes’ Richest Self-Made Women, covering its June 2016 issue. In this exclusive interview I speak to Sophia about her journey in scale-up entrepreneurship, building resilience, and redefining success.

Thought Economics

Chip Wilson is the entrepreneur & philanthropist who is widely credited with the creation of ‘athleisure’ as a retail category (now worth over $400-billion globally).  He is perhaps best known for being the founder of luluemon, the yoga-inspired technical athletic apparel company he started in 1998 which- today- has over 15,000 employees and a market capitalisation of close to $30billion. In this exclusive interview, I spoke with Chip about the lululemon journey, building powerful brands, investing, and what it takes to be an innovative fashion entrepreneur. 

Thought Economics

José Neves started his first business aged just 19, creating software for business in the North of Portugal.  His family had a history in shoemaking, and it was perhaps inevitable that fashion would play a role in his career – but few could have predicted the decade long-journey, beginning in the depths of the global financial recession, that would see José take the idea for a luxury fashion eCommerce marketplace and build it into Farfetch; a business with close to 3,000 employees, 3m customers, almost U$1bn in listed merchandise, and a market capitalisation approaching U$6bn – making José a billionaire in well-under 10 years from a standing start. I caught up with José to learn more about his entrepreneurship journey, and building a global luxury brands business.

Thought Economics

My interview with Jameela Jamil, actress, writer, host and activist, about the immense damage done by media and brand portrayals of women- and how she’s fighting back through the launch of @i_weigh which encourages women to feel valuable and look beyond the flesh on their bones.

Thought Economics

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