Italian Fashion Association President Marino Vago keen to boost industry cohesion

In early March, Marino Vago, newly elected President of Sistema Moda Italia (SMI) – the Italian fashion and textile industry's employers association – remarked at the association’s AGM that “everyone’s willingness to get involved” was palpable. On Thursday, at his first meeting with the media in Milan, Vago said he hopes to “be able to sustain and foster” this momentum “during [his] mandate.”


Marino Vago - SMI

Marino Vago, owner of yarn dyeing company Vago S.p.a. with his brother Augusto, praised the work of his predecessor Claudio Marenzi, who succeeded in greatly increasing the visibility of the Italian fashion system, and said he wants to “weld together all the sections of the textile and apparel industry, which aren’t yet entirely cohesive, into a united front.”

“My aspiration is to succeed in creating a single, unified system, especially on the international arena, and not just in terms of selling products, but also in terms of services and reputation. The idea is like a sort of holding company made up of independent yet coordinated units, which share the same tools, such as trade fairs or technology and research centres,” said Vago.

Other goals are sustainable development, “a great asset,” and “building a track record of digital know-how,” as well as providing more information to consumers on product traceability. “It’s important that everyone adopt the same rules, providing information on who manufactures the clothes we wear, and how. And when we talk about sustainability, we mustn’t forget that human rights are a prime concern,” said Vago.

According to him, small Italian manufacturers, especially in textiles, aren’t ready to use digital tools because, until now, they didn’t need them. Instead, they must learn to communicate adequately with consumers and the market at large.

Another crucial issue for the Italian fashion and textile industry is the continuity of its craft heritage. “The generational hand-over of the skills of artisans and specialised workers is likely to become a major issue for our industry in the future. Unfortunately, the current educational system is too generalist. Schools capable of training specialist technicians no longer exist. Technical training in general isn’t appreciated enough in our country,” said Marino Vago.

“In our globalised world, we can no longer afford to be a single-product business. We must have a complete product range. If we don’t function as a team, we won’t manage to optimise resources,” he concluded.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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