We discuss the mechanism of cluster formation in hierarchically collapsing molecular clouds. Recent evidence, both observational and numerical, suggests that molecular clouds (MCs) may be undergoing global, hierarchical gravitational collapse. The “hierarchical” regime consists of small-scale collapses within larger-scale ones. The latter implies that the star formation rate increases systematically during the early stages of evolution, and occurs via filamentary flows onto “hubs” of higher density, mass, and velocity dispersion, and culminates a few Myr after than the small-scale collapses have started to form stars. In turn, the small-scale collapses occur in clumps embedded in the filaments, and are themselves falling into the larger potential well of the still-ongoing large-scale collapse. The stars formed in the early, small-scale collapses share the infall motion of their parent clumps towards the larger potential trough, so that the filaments feed both gaseous and stellar material to the hubs. This leads to the presence of older stars in a region where new protostars are still forming, to a scale-free or fractal structure of the clusters, in which each unit is composed of smaller-scale ones, and to the eventual merging of the subunits, explaining the observed structural features of open clusters.