by Karen Alberg Grossman

BerettaHow does a company known for making firearms get the word out about its fashion? Very carefully.

Straight from 10 years at Ralph Lauren (most recently from the mansion on Madison Avenue) Travis Haglin, director of premium business at Beretta USA, may have the answers. He sees an amazing opportunity to apply what he learned about storytelling from Ralph to a company with a genuine story to tell. “Ralph Lauren is a great school: they know better than anyone how to create and tell a story,” he says. “Beretta is relatively new to the clothing business: only 50 out of its 500-year heritage has included apparel. We have amazing product and authentic history but we still need to get the word out.”

BerettaHaglin’s personal experience, as well as his professional experience, informs his approach. “I grew up in Northern Minnesota where hunting is a lifestyle so I understand the culture,” says Haglin. “We don’t downplay the fact that we’re historically a firearms company, but we can promote the social aspects, friendships and generational bonds that hunting encourages. In addition to being a vehicle to the outdoors, hunting fills a conservational need to preserve natural habitats and restore balance to the environment. Even gun-control people understand this. So we’re focused on style-right fashion that helps overcome obstacles and hardships, whether in the wilderness or in midtown Manhattan.”

For example, Beretta’s performance outerwear truly performs, as it’s tested in the harshest coldest environments. Kevlar coatings make jackets literally bullet-proof, although the jackets are stylish enough to wear on Wall Street. “We’ve learned from both military and hunting applications so our outerwear is highly functional in addition to being genuinely fashionable,” Haglin adds.

With a new luxury line targeted to better (and best) specialty stores, separate from their more moderate collection for department and sporting goods stores, Beretta is certainly a brand to watch in this age of authenticity.