Italian designer and businessman Giorgio Armani was named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2002. He has been raising funds for refugees under UNHCR’s care through projects including holiday campaigns at Emporio Armani stores.
Giorgio Armani biography
Giorgio Armani is the President and Chief Executive of the Armani Group and the sole shareholder of Giorgio Armani S.p.A., one of the world’s leading fashion and design houses, with more than 4 billion euros in worldwide retail sales, 4,700 direct employees, 13 factories, and over 250 exclusive retail stores in 36 countries.
Under his direction, the Armani Group today stands as one of the few remaining independent privately-owned companies in its sector, with a proven business strategy that has capitalised on the worldwide power and potential of the Armani brand name.
Born on July 11, 1934, Giorgio Armani, together with his sister and brother, grew up in the northern Italian town of Piacenza. He attended school in his home town and spent two years at the medical university. He did not become interested in the world of fashion until 1957, when he dropped out of Piacenza University to accept a job as a merchandiser at the Rinascente department store. Thereafter, Armani worked as a fashion designer for Nino Cerruti, and then as a freelance designer for various companies, all resulting in an exceptionally rich and varied evolution of his style.
After several years as a freelance designer, Armani was ready to devote his energy to his own label and followed his partner Sergio Galeotti’s suggestion to set up a company together. On July 24, 1975, they founded Giorgio Armani S.p.A. and launched a men’s and women’s ready-to-wear line.
Armani’s philosophy of fashion and style, together with his entrepreneurial ability, has been central to the success of Giorgio Armani S.p.A. He is actively involved in the strategic direction of the Group and oversees all aspects of design and creativity. Perhaps best known for revolutionising fashion with his unstructured jacket, he has, over nearly 30 years of designing, developed a stable of collections, including his signature Giorgio Armani line, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, Armani Jeans, A/X Armani Exchange and Armani Casa home interiors, offering a choice of lifestyles to the marketplace. Today, the Group’s product range includes women’s and men’s clothing, shoes and bags, watches, eyewear, jewellery, fragrances and cosmetics, and home furnishings.
Over the last five years, through a programme of strategic investments totalling more than 650 million euros of internally generated funds, representing a re-investment of 70% of cash flow, the Armani Group has achieved its objective of becoming vertically integrated, where the principal aspects of design, manufacturing, distribution and retail are all under direct control, while simultaneously registering a compound annual growth rate of 14% over this same period.
During his career, Armani has received several local and international awards, including the Gran Cavaliere della Repubblica, Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica (Italy’s highest government award), Award for Best International Designer and Lifetime Achievement Award for men’s wear, both from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He has, in addition, been recognised with an Honorary Doctorate from London’s Royal College of Art, a GQ Designer of the Year Award and the inaugural Rodeo Drive ‘Walk of Style’ Award for his pioneering role in bringing the worlds of fashion and cinema together, presented to him in September 2003.
In 2008, Armani designed the bullfighting costume, called the “Goyesco”, worn by Spanish bullfighter Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez at the “Corrida Goyesca” in Ronda, Spain. They have also collaborated on several fashion shows and other events.
As of 2009, Armani has a retail network of 60 Giorgio Armani boutiques, 11 Collezioni, 122 Emporio Armani, 94 A/X Armani exchange, 1 Giorgio Armani Accessori, and 13 Armani Junior stores spread over 37 different countries.
Armani is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.