ALBERTO – IT'S ALL ABOUT PANTS
Pants We Love – the slogan sounds like a promise. Yet it is so much more. In fact, it is a commitment. After all, for more than 100 years, ALBERTO’s creative studios have been experimenting with designs and materials to come up with stunning cuts, styles and functions. So what is the benefit of this wealth of experience? A perfect symbiosis of creativity and perfectionism. A young, fashionable twist comprised of bold experiments and supreme fashion know-how.
An idea transferred to fabrics
It takes about 40 steps to make every pair of ALBERTO pants. Each pair of trousers consists of no fewer than 36 individual components, which are assembled with great precision. Moreover, every pair gives the person who wears it that unique feeling of being custom tailored “just for me.” It’s always been like that and we will keep this tradition alive. At ALBERTO, we embrace perfectionism as a given because it is in our genes. The legend is alive – now being maintained by the forth generation of the founding family, with the fifth already gearing up for the role it will play. In 1922, Dr. Albert Dormanns laid the foundation stone for this success story as he was standing in the vacant building that had previously housed his since deceased grandfather’s fabric plant. Albert established his own company called the “Dormanns’ Trouser Factory” on the premises. He used an inventory of returns, sample coupons and overstock materials he had acquired to make jackets, pants and work garments. After the upheaval of the war, which had led to a brief relocation of the production lines to a restaurant, the owner decided to specialize in the production of men’s pants in 1950. He built a new factory for this endeavour. The new collection consisted of everything from breeches to sportswear pants to cropped pants – in short, everything men’s fashion demanded back in the day. After Dr. Albert Dormanns’ passing in 1968, his daughter Marie-Lore Walendy, nee Dormanns, inherited the business and entrusted her husband Rolf with its management. In conjunction with the management change, the former fabric plant was given a new name: Albert Dormanns Nachf. GmbH & Co. Rolf Walendy relocated operations to the former Clemens August Becker suit factory at the Rheydter Straße 19-31 address, where the company is still domiciled today.
From local hero to global player
In 1977, Rolf and Marie-Lore's son Georg Walendy joins the company as a commercial employee at the age of 24. It was he who made a name for himself in the 80s by developing pants into a trendy garment with innovative materials, young cuts and new interpretations of patterns, while at the same time ensuring a perfect fit. Incidentally, the reputation of being a specialist in all matters relating to pants still precedes the company. At a time when everything was supposed to be "Italy like", the models were now placed on the market under the brand name ALBERTO. The name is understood as a tribute to the company founder, which is why it was also incorporated into the company name in 2003. Georg Walendy realised from the beginning that the success story of ALBERTO can only be continued with a highly motivated team and expanded the management level with two additional managing directors. Since 2005, the managing directors have consisted of Georg Walendy, Marco Lanowy for retail, sales and marketing, and Jürgen Schmiedel for human resources and finance. The next generation has also joined the successful company in the meantime: The next generation has also joined the successful company in the meantime: Anna Mühlen, who is responsible for Supply Chain Manager, and Philipp Walendy, who successfully oversees the ALBERTO Bike and ALBERTO Golf collections as Product Manager.
Because they are experts at what they are doing
Anyone who's been on the market for over a century must have a recipe for success. And at ALBERTO, this is as rich in tradition as it is simple: dedication! To pants. Fashion. To customers. And to the 1,300 employees worldwide who work with real passion every season. Whether it's trend scouting in all the major cities, countless hours at the sketch pad, selecting fabrics, yarns, rivets and buttons, at the tailor's bust as on the real model, visiting suppliers and customers around the globe, the strict quality control that every pair of pants must undergo, or the smooth logistics and on-time shipping. It's costly, but it's worth it. Because the numbers speak for themselves – or rather for ALBERTO: What began more than 100 years ago with a small sewing shop in Mönchengladbach has grown into an internationally active pants label that's won numerous awards. There are now 2,500 stores in 50 countries. And the potential for expansion into new countries is far from exhausted. The export quota is 50% and rising.
The company boasts an annual turnover of 53.4 million euros. Despite high wages – production takes place exclusively in hand-picked partner companies in the EU and Tunisia, supervised from Germany – everything ALBERTO earns is put back into its own house. "To ensure our competitiveness, we've invested in technology and innovation from the very beginning", explains Marco Lanowy. ALBERTO is primarily concerned with combining novelty with inherited craft values. This fresh look at things is practically cultivated at ALBERTO. You can see it in every single pair of pants that leaves the 280,000-model, state-of-the-art logistics centre. And there are plenty of them: 90,000 pairs of pants are available every day, even at peak times, and can be delivered to the retailer within 24 to 48 hours. This requires short response times and a great deal of flexibility.
ALBERTO enmeshes the world
So it's not surprising that the yarns that run off the bobbins at ALBERTO every year would take you around the world a total of seven times. That corresponds to 280 million meters of yarn. With two million meters of fabric, mainly from Italy. Plus two and a half million buttons. These numbers demonstrate one thing above all: there are a whole lot of ALBERTO pants. And every one of them is perfectly crafted. It's certainly another reason why the label has many enthusiastic followers, not just in Germany. But it's still far from mass-produced goods. This would be impossible with the high-quality standards. It's rather due to the complexity and combinability of the collection: Bold. Creative. Or casual and sporty. Sometimes formal and elegant.
Even sometimes a mix of different styles. There are countless attributes that apply to pants from ALBERTO. This is how pants are created for the fashion-conscious man, who values quality, comfort and freedom, from ambitious golfers to the urban cyclist. Masterpieces in which every detail tells a story, and which inspire with their craftsmanship, degree of innovation and lack of compromise. Because they put value ahead of fast-moving trends and set themselves apart from the rest through style, fit, function and technical features.
Focus on the important
“We are of course a passionate, virtually style and detail obsessed team. But we’re also business administrators who think in economic, well organized structures,” Marco Lanowy sums up his vision. At ALBERTO this means that while the company is constantly reinventing itself, it always keeps a keen eye on the important. “From our perspective, the focus has to be on the modern pair of pants that most importantly fits perfectly,” observes Marco Lanowy. His statement simultaneously clarifies why he has not given in to the market’s urging to become a universal supplier to date: “In my opinion, for an enterprise that has a basis of so much tradition and decades old artisan skills and knowledge dedicated to the creation of the perfect pair of favourite pants, it would be fatalistic to get scatter-brained and be in all of these other segments while moving away from our core competences.” It would be the kind of mistakes that has brought so many other companies to the brink of disaster.
Hence, the motto remains to have confidence in one’s own strengths, even if it takes persistence now and then. The fact that the brand grew organically, i.e. step by step and has never been bent out of shape is likely another ingredient in the company’s recipe for success. “Of course this is possible only because we are a highly democratic family operated enterprise in which the blatant profit interests of the shareholders were never our first priority.” Instead, everyone at ALBERTO has the opportunity to focus all of their attention, passion and energy on the product. This, in turn, hinges on remaining autonomous. It takes a strong, assertive – and yes, sometimes eccentric – entrepreneur, who follows his own calling and is intent on moving this forward. It takes the kind of steadfast will, which has been present at ALBERTO from the beginning and has never been broken. There are, after all, always plenty of challenges. The current one is the mobile shopping boom and the required response to changing consumer patterns. There is also the question of what drives the purchasing decisions for pants. “We still have a lot of work to do,” says Marco Lanowy. “As we go through all of that I am determined to keep alive the spirit that enables us to make what the name ALBERTO stands for today: Pants We Love.”