Brunello Cucinelli’s 10 guiding principles of humanistic capitalism

Much more than cashmere, but cultural sustainability – This is what lies behind the icon's values

Brunello Cucinelli

What is associated with Brunello Cucinelli? Fine cashmere, Italian craftsmanship and elegance. Clear. But the fact that the philosophy of Brunello Cucinello and its eponymous brand is based on family values, sustainability and philanthropy is not so clear to most. And thus reason to introduce the aesthete in more detail.

Family First

Appreciation, respect and mutual acceptance are the foundations of the Cucinelli family and of their company. If you can separate these two areas at all. After all, Brunello Cucinelli is a family business that is run from the entrepreneur's adopted hometown. Solomeo. A small village in Italy that became the scene of the entanglement of Brunello Cucinelli's dreams.

brunello cucinelli family

After his marriage, Cucinelli moved to Solomeo and created the center of his success: in 1985, he purchased a dilapidated 14th-century castle. Century and made it the company headquarters. In 2000, an old building in need of renovation at the foot of the hamlet was followed and became the production plant of the cashmere empire. However, the Maison's expansions have not only been in terms of location. Meanwhile, not only Cucinelli's daughters Camilla and Carolina, but also their husbands work in the company. That the cashmere house revolves around family and values is therefore clear. And anyone familiar with Cucinelli's career knows why.

Back to basics: the origins of Re del Cashmere

The iconic entrepreneur grew up the son of a farming family in a small community in Italy, Castel Rigone. Despite fond memories of carefree times with his brothers, however, it wasn't always easy. Cucinelli's city schoolmates took a dim view of him because of his peasant background, and when money ran out, his father had to take a job in a factory. The treatment in this was undignified, away from any philanthropy and fair working conditions. And yet, there was something positive about this dark experience: Brunello Cucinelli was determined to create a company that treated people fairly.

brunello cucinelli 1

Before actually realizing this vision, he studied engineering – half-heartedly. Indeed, his true interests were philosophy, art, religion, history and architecture. Musical areas that still characterize his work today. However, Solomeo became his greatest inspiration. It was here that Cucinelli got the idea to enter the fashion industry.

The rise of Brunello Cucinelli: little money, a lot of willpower

At the time of this decision, 13 were working in nearby Perugia alone, an important center for the industry.000 people in the knitwear business. What made the step into the business particularly courageous. However, it soon became clear that Cucinelli had a decisive advantage over its competitors: the ability to act intuitively and to think innovatively. Until then, there was no competitor offering colored cashmere garments. Accordingly, not only a great interest, but also appreciation for the unique offer unfolded quickly.

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That Cucinelli put his focus on cashmere is no wonder considering his value system. In addition to the velvety feel and elegant aesthetics of cashmere wool, it is characterized by its quality and durability. And it is precisely this idea of passing on timeless pieces from generation to generation that represents Cucinelli's ideals.

Humanistic capitalism

Cucinelli himself has manifested his guiding principles in a definition for his company as well as corporate behaviors: In Humanistic Capitalism. This philosophy is the result of the interaction of his personality, his origins and his experiences. The idea that respect for people as well as creation is central to its thinking and actions.

brunello cucinelli with breeders

Practically, humanistic capitalism embodies the principles of fairness in the areas of sustainability and ethics. In terms of sustainability, this idea refers to a profit that is consistent with a return. So on a balance of preserving the world as it is and leaving a healthy and friendly planet for future generations. The ethical aspect, on the other hand, describes the approach of making profit only while guaranteeing dignity and morality. Means fair labor conditions are more important than profit maximization. It is about give and take.

10 guiding principles for entrepreneurial & everyday actions

That greenwashing is a major problem in the fashion industry is clear. However, it also means that there are more and more conscious consumers who can detect marketing traps and spread such findings faster and further than ever before thanks to the Internet. And this is exactly what Brunello Cucinelli is aware of. Companies must demonstrate their credibility and ensure transparency. For this purpose, the company itself has established 1o guiding principles and made them public for their verifiability:

  1. Land is cultivated in harmony with nature; love and respect for the earth is practiced
  2. Only as many resources as necessary and natural are consumed
  3. Adherence to a self-image as loyal as well as loving guardians of creation
  4. Ensuring the moral and economic dignity of the human being
  5. Promoting fair profitability and a balance between profit and social commitment
  6. Striving for harmony between fair labor and human privacy
  7. Respect and commemoration of the forefathers; honoring history in their words
  8. Belief in universalism as well as acting with great respect for all civilizations
  9. Practice of fair trade
  10. Valuing young people; creating hope for a bright future

Back in 2010, Brunello and Federica Cucinelli launched their foundation with the aim of implementing as well as spreading precisely these humanistic ideals. For example, the Foundation supports initiatives around values of tradition, knowledge and humanity. However, Cucinelli went one step further: he took his company public on the Milan stock exchange. And not only for financial reasons, but precisely to achieve a broader participation in humanistic capitalism. Ideals, family heritage, sustainability and ethics instead of numbers and formulas.

At the intersection of tradition and innovation

For the garments, the Maison uses only the fine wool of the Hircus goat: the undercoat of the chin. Standard in the extraction, however, is not only the ethical attitude of the cashmere goats, but also close contact with the breeders* in Mongolia. Philanthropy towards people and animals.

The production in Solomeo bridges the gap between craftsmanship and innovation. While about 50% of the wool is processed by hand, innovative tools are used for the other half. To teach aspiring tailors and designers how to use these technologies, the Cucinellis founded the School of Arts and Crafts in Solomeo. As a symbol of the Kashmir House heritage, traditional craftsmanship is to be taught here in harmony with innovative production processes.

Brunello Cucinelli – Transferable values

Brunello Cucinelli has made a monument to himself both with his fashion and with his commitment to cultural sustainability. Other companies can find inspiration in the commitment of Cucinelli. In the best case, even be motivated to align their philosophies similarly humanistic as well as sustainable. For Cucinelli proves one thing: the implementation of sustainability and ethics is not difficult, as long as the will as well as the conviction to do so are present.