Jan 14, 2015
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Fashion and textiles: Italy launches offensive starting with Pitti Uomo

Jan 14, 2015

The Florentine trade show Pitti Uomo, a major global menswear event, enjoyed an auspicious opening on Tuesday, January 13. While a dense crowd bustled about in the aisles of the Fortezza da Basso amidst a fresh spring air, the show’s organizers appeared satisfied with the participation "of more than 1,200 exhibitors, including 700 Italians, offering collections with a very competitive quality-price ratio."

The opening ceremony saw the unveiling of "an extraordinary project for the Made in Italy" promoted by the Italian government with an investment of 261 million euros thrown into the bargain to support the internationalization of Italian SMEs in 2015, while 36 million per year will be allocated to the textile and apparel industry in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Deputy minister of economic development Carlo Calenda at Pitti Uomo’s opening ceremony (Photo: E. P. FashionMag.com)

"An Italian government has never invested so much. Previously, 40 million on average was annually allocated to the promotion of exports and only 4.5 million in fashion. We have finally understood the need to invest in what works and not to invest in what doesn’t," said Italian minister of economic development Carlo Calenda as he presented the plan, which is centered on two priorities.

First priority: support for the Italian fashion industry through the backing of its major trade shows - Milano Unica (textile), Pitti (menswear/childrenswear) FILO (yarns and fibers), Mipel and Linea Pelle (leather goods). "We will provide funding for specific projects for each of these events, as we did last year for Pitti Uomo. This year, 2 million will be allocated to the menswear show, but we also intend to lend our support to the childrenswear sector with Pitti Bimbo and other shows," said the deputy minister. 

To carry out this project and to make the cities hosting these events more attractive, a clear and precise positioning has been defined for each one. Milan hosts womenswear and fashion shows, Florence has menswear and childrenswear, and Rome is set to become the new design hub for up-and-coming talent. At the same time, work will be undertaken to strengthen ties and ensure cooperation between the textile districts of Biella, Prato and Côme. 

The second priority concerns the shows' relationships to foreign markets. Particularly for Milano Unica, which will be launching an edition in the United States. "We are the number one country for fabrics! The fact that Milano Unica is not the greatest of all textile shows is unacceptable," decried Carlo Calenda. "In addition to Milan and Shanghai, we intend to launch a special US edition," he promised. 

At the same time, the focus will be on Shanghai, where, this year, the Italians will present textiles and footwear under the same roof during TheMicam Shanghai, which will include apparel for the first time as part of the initiative "Italian [email protected]". "For the first time, the entire Made in Italy supply chain will be gathered at one trade show. It's a project that we would like to duplicate in the United States," said the deputy minister. 

Finally, a major retail offensive will be launched abroad, especially in China, the US and Japan, where, according to Calenda, Italian products aren't sufficiently represented.

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