TW Special Report
Italy-based Macron is a manufacturer of sportswear dedicated to four main business areas — teamwear, merchandising, run and train, and athleisure. Established in 1971, the company began its journey as a popular sports shop supplying quality sportswear for basketball, golf and baseball. In 2001, Macron signed its first sponsorship with agreement with the Bologna Football Club to outfit the whole team. And in 2010, the company launched the Macron Store project, which provided direct access to its end-customers and gave rise to its full sportswear kits.
Today, Macron has more than 150 mono-brand retail locations backed by its unique customization concept.
The company strongly believes in the values of hard work and constant improvement and its company motto is “Word Hard. Play Harder.”
Beginning with a customer base located entirely in Italy, today the company distributes approximately 30 percent of its products in Italy, with the remaining 70 percent distributed worldwide. According to the company, turnover has grown significantly year after year, and Macron now is one of the most rapidly growing sportswear brands in Europe.
The company’s catalog counts more than 650 articles in numerous color combinations including track suits, sweatshirts, polo shirts, socks, caps, winter jackets, underwear, bags, balls, and accessories of all kinds.
Macron also is a leader in the production and sale of technical sportswear for professional, semi-professional and amateur teams in a variety of sports. Today, the company designs and produces official kits and technical gear for more than 80 professional clubs as well as develops official apparel and accessory collections for club fans.
To fully accomplish its global expansion and deliver on-demand, on-time and within budget, the team at Macron recognized it was time to replace its legacy computer-aided design (CAD) software and transform its entire operation. This meant transitioning to a strong and reliable digital CAD solution.
The Benefits Of Digital Design
After a short implementation and training process led by the CAD experts at EFI™ Optitex® — a division of Fremont, Calif.-based Electronics For Imaging Inc. (EFI) — the Macron team was ready to get on board. In just a few months, Macron’s CAD operators were raving about the system’s incredible speed and ease-of-use.
“With our new CAD workstations, our ability to view multiple screens at the same time has significantly increased the speed and the interaction between various graphics software,” said Amedeo Iossa, Macron’s product development manager. “For Macron, creativity is key. Our CAD operators have discovered many more design features and functionalities in the system, and are using them to enhance their creative process. The design phase is notably more efficient.”
“It’s important for us to preserve our in-house design knowledge,” said Paolo Guizzardi, CEO, Macron. “Today, with EFI Optitex CAD, we can include our global staff in our design work-flow, making them part of the process and benefiting from their design expertise.”
When System Openness, Collaboration Are Key
For the Macron team, every sports club is like an entirely new collection, where time-to-market can be anywhere from six to eight months to complete a customized product line.
“Today, we use CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator for design,” Iossa said. “Our designs must adhere to the technical guidelines of each club, such as leaving specific areas on the garment for sponsors.”
To continue to meet growing customer demands, Macron replaced its legacy CAD system with a system from EFI Optitex in 2018. This enabled the company to expand its pattern design capabilities and to add a new design facility in Tianjin, China. “Now we’re able to exchange data with our production partners around the globe and across all market standards, and even with other Italian service providers who use different CAD systems,” Iossa noted. “EFI Optitex’s system openness was fundamental in our decision to change vendors.”
What The Future Holds
Sportswear design and manufacturing is a growing industry worldwide. “We want to gain every possible technical advantage in our sector,” Iossa said. “EFI Optitex’s 3D digital design solution is a good option to help us make this vision into a reality. To see a true-to-life model of a garment on an avatar customized according to the physical characteristics of the athletes we dress would undoubtedly boost our development process.”
Macron’s first objective is to increase its product line for the current 80-plus professional clubs and then look towards launching new global markets with an emphasis on North America. Recently, Macron signed a partnership agreement with the new soccer Canadian Premier League (CPL), and is a sponsor for the Phoenix-based Phoenix Rising FC soccer team as well as the newly launched Major League Soccer team Inter Miami CF.