Chervò is a forty-year-old prestigious Italian brand of sportswear, designed and dedicated to leisure pursuits. But this brand is more than it appears. Certainly, their apparel is designed for an active, high-end lifestyle, but it is also a company that uses the highest components of new technology to make their apparel eco-sensitive, water-repellent, and in all ways, stronger.
And, along with its high-tech luxury sports and lifestyle wear, Chervò owns an award-winning 110 acre hotel and golf resort, Chervò Golf Hotel Spa & Resort in San Vigilio, near Lake Garda in Northern Italy. This year, again, it was named “Italy’s Best Golf Course 2021” at the World Golf Awards for the fourth year in a row. Equipped with a full 36-hole golf course, the resort also has multiple spas and restaurants.
The brand is also part of a new partnership with IYC Yachts and Magellan Jets, as they all work on exclusive 2022 packages to Chervò Golf Hotel Spa & Resort San Vigilio. There will be more on this partnership in the coming months.
To be sure, Chervò is a multi-faceted brand, and has expanded its features to reach an ageless audience, interested in sports, eco-sensitivity fashion. And the founders of Chervo are two brothers, Manfred and Peter Erlacher. Manfred deals with operation and sales, Peter is the chief design officer.
According to Peter Erlacher, golf wasn’t always his game. But he did begin his career as a professional athlete, both as part of the Italian national ski team and as a coach. He initially considered golf to be a pastime for the elderly until he tried it himself. Then, he changed his mind.
Peter Erlacher was already a co-owner of Chervò, which, at the time, was a successful outdoor skiwear business. But when he noticed that many of his fellow golfers would play in clothing that did not allow for freedom of movement, he saw an opportunity.
Golf was a sport played outdoors and often under extreme weather conditions. So, the first golf clothing experience he introduced was rainwear, with the Chervò AcquaBlock technology. Mr.Erlacher developed a fabric that was light, silent, and yet fully waterproof and breathable. The product changed the industry and propelled Chervò and the Erlacher brothers into creative success.
JustLuxe was grateful to communicate with Peter Erlacher, and ask questions about the Chervò luxury brand evolution, and how its fashion sports future will be defined and implemented.
JustLuxe: Just as the concept of luxury has evolved from affluent fashion acquisition to purchasing clothing with a sense of adventure, legacy, and worth, so it seems that Chervò has evolved from skiwear to golf to active sportswear. But with a difference—the unique dimensions of the textiles used. Could you discuss these unique textiles, what tech brands you use, and how you chose them for your brand?
Mr. Erlacher: When we started our skiwear line in the early ’80 of last century, the sports world had a Manichean partition between 1: traditional technical lines developed for competition and 2: weather protection with a quite boring appearance. Yet, at the same time there were newer, extravagant, relaxed looks coming from jeans/casual fashion. With the last –the bold prints and colors marked a different approach to skiing as a leisurely activity.
Yet these newer lines were not always suitable for the rigors of mountain weather. I knew that a new trend might become dominant but, as a former member of the Italian National Ski Team, I was conscious that mountain and sport had their rules. Therefore, I designed a line that was consistent with the new fashion trend, but respectful of the technical aspects of ski and of the mountain, unifying two words that were until then perceived as incompatible, creating a new “Chic-Tech” concept.
My Chic-Tech vision was also crucial in my approach to golf wear, where at the time players used garments either taken from a casual wardrobe, with images of Scottish golf-playing country gentlemen, Chervò enjoyed immediate success with a line designed for golf, using the latest textile technologies for weather protection and performance, yet with an unmistakably Italian style and refinement.
Also, since our technical developments were created in house, that is, instead of using suppliers’ brands, we preferred to protect our own technologies registering various trademarks designating different applications: AquaBlock for water/windproof and breathable outerwear, DryMatic, for moisture management, Sunblock for UV ray protection.
JustLuxe: As you know, new tech fabrics and solutions are being introduced daily. There is eco-leather, a type of fabric being created from mushrooms, and a kind of silk that has been genetically engineered to be gossamer yet quite strong. Is Chervò looking into such tech phenomena also?
Mr. Erlacher: Chervò is a pioneer in the use of innovative fabrics. It is in our DNA, and our customers are waiting for the next new thing from us. However, we are not just adopting innovative materials just for the sake of innovation, but we are always in search of performance starting from the game, but looking also beyond the golf course and ski run.
JustLuxe: How did the use of weather tolerant — rain and wind especially — come to be?
Chervo Golf Hotel and Resort, Lake Garda, Italy
Mr. Erlacher: When thinking of golf in the beginning of my involvement, I immediately realized that rain and wind represented the two most important challenges where the answer by existing brands was largely inadequate. Impregnated fabrics or Goretex thick fabrics indeed protected golfers from the rain, but were so heavy and creaky, they hindered a smooth swing. With the help of fabric suppliers that I knew for ski materials, I developed the first Chervò golf product, the AquaBlock rainwear. It is a silky material with a waterproof and breathable membrane that was a real breakthrough in the golf wear business.
JustLuxe: In the 2021-2022 Chervò product line, it seems that the clothing and accouterments have a distinct quality of serviceability, craftsmanship and wearability with an undercurrent of eco-sensibility, or green intelligence. Will these components—combining the ideas of fashion tech- and eco-sensitivity – be a future part of Chervò?
Mr. Erlacher: We know that the textile/clothing business is blamed for not being eco-friendly and quick fixes are not in sight. We strive to make our part in this battle and are keen to adopt cleaner solutions. We believe that an important part of the problem is linked to durability and waste avoidance. We consider that our most important contribution to the environment is producing quality, long-lasting products that people enjoy for a prolonged time. Our products can be considered costly, but certainly not expensive since the price should be compared with their long-life span and the satisfaction of their use.
JustLuxe: Will Chervò be expanding into other areas in the future, if so, what other ideas are being worked on now?
Mr. Erlacher: Our most important area of expansion is in footwear where we are pioneering a new kind of shoe construction that is lightweight, comfortable, yet performance-based, and as usual, stylish!