Federico Marchetti: meet a visionary entrepreneur during Monte-Carlo Fashion Week


To mark Monte-Carlo Fashion Week, the Monaco Economic Board organised a meeting with Federico Marchetti, founder of the Yoox Net-A-Porter group, one of the world leaders in online fashion. A brilliant pioneer of e-commerce and a committed man, he shared his vision of fashion and entrepreneurship. Fascinating and enlightening.

Even before the arrival of Facebook or the iPhone, Federico Marchetti founded the luxury fashion e-commerce site Yoox in 2000, which nine years later would become one of Italy's first unicorns. In 2015, when the company merged with its competitor Net-A-Porter, it took on an even greater dimension, continuing under his leadership until 2021, when he left the group after selling it, to devote himself to his commitment to sustainable development.

This commitment has been demonstrated by his appointment as Chairman of the Sustainable Markets Initiative's Fashion Task Force, launched in 2020 by King Charles III, then Prince of Wales. "The first objective of this Task Force was to implement, with the brands that have joined this initiative, the gradual adoption of a digital passport linked to each product sold. This passport provides customers with a wide range of information, such as the origin of all the materials used to make the item, as well as how to resell it, repair it or recycle it in order to extend its lifespan. The power of information combined with that of the customer can really make a difference. Throughout my career, I've always tried to see things from the customer's point of view."

Interviewed by Justin Highman, Deputy CEO of the MEB, Federico Marchetti also went back over his career as an entrepreneur and his expertise in e-commerce, sometimes illustrating this with tasty anecdotes, much to the delight of the audience, most of whom were young people. To this new generation, he didn't fail to offer a few words of advice: "To those who would like to launch into e-commerce in fashion, I would say, it's too late. On the other hand, I would resolutely go for the almost magical junction of innovation and sustainable development, because it's just as valid for customers as it is for investors".

When asked about the latest technological trends, he believes that artificial intelligence is still in its infancy and that it will be everywhere and in a positive way. "We shouldn't be talking about artificial intelligence but augmented intelligence. If it is used with good governance and a fair vision, then I think it can greatly help humanity." 

At the end of the event, which was held under the banner of "Monaco Economic Conferences" (MEB conferences in English), Federico Marchetti lent himself with great sincerity and simplicity to questions from the apprentice entrepreneurs in attendance, before meeting with his audience at a book signing for his book Le Avventure di un Innovatore*, with a preface by Giorgio Armani.

In recognition of his exemplary commitment to more sustainable fashion, Federico Marchetti received the Positive Change Award on the evening of the conference from the President and Founder of Monte-Carlo Fashion Week, Federica Nardoni Spinetta, at the Fashion Awards evening. A fitting reward for one of the world's most inspiring pioneers.


* The Adventures of an Innovator, published in Italian and soon in English.

Federico Marchetti, Founder of the Yoox Net-A-Porter group, flanked by Federica Nardoni Spinetta, President and Founder of Monte-Carlo Fashion Week, and Justin Highman, Deputy Managing Director of the Monaco Economic Board ©Matthieu Chatonnier/From The Bay