Pitti Uomo 92 opens with optimism
Despite the tropical heat with 34 degrees in the shade, Pitti Uomo opened Tuesday in Florence on a high note. The show is a must-attend event for gauging trends in men's fashion early in the season, during which 1,231 exhibitors, (546 from outside Italy or 44.3% of the total) will present their collections and wares from June 12-16.
For this 92nd edition, some 245 brands are making their debut or returning to the event, which is expected to attract more than 30,000 visitors, including nearly 20,500 buyers, 8,400 of whom are from abroad. This year the show is being chaired by Claudio Marenzi for the first time, who took over from Gaetano Marzotto in March.
The show’s opening at the Palazzo Vecchio was attended by all of Florence’s local officials and members of the fashion industry. The trade show together with other events organized by Pitti Immagine throughout the year earns the city an estimated €392.2 million. All speakers emphasized once again the need for Italian fashion to maintain cohesion between its different sectors and realities, and that Pitti Uomo is more important than ever in creating synergies with Milan Fashion Week.
“The combination of all our differences can give us an enormous competitive advantage,” said Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economic Development Ivan Scalfarotto, “We possess all the requisite expertise across the entire production chain. But we have to be careful not to rest on our laurels,” he said, and that the Italian industry needs to leverage its “creativity, innovation and research.”
“Here in Italy, fashion is not a frivolous activity,” added the new president of the show, Claudio Marenzi “It is above all an industry that represents 50% of the Italian trade surplus and more than 40% of all fashion production in Europe.”
Through such messaging, the atmosphere at the fair is one of optimism, especially since 2017 forecasts for the Italian fashion industry look promising, following a positive 2016 that topped expectations. Last year, the Italian fashion industry achieved total sales of 9 billion euros, up 1.2% from 2015 (only a 0.9% increase had been forecast last January). The figures are part of a study by SMI (Sistema Moda Italia), published to coincide with the opening of Pitti Uomo.
As always, Italian menswear was powered by exports (+ 2.4%, to 5.8 billion euros). 2016 did show some weaknesses though, with sales of Italian menswear in France, Italy’s biggest market, down 17.6%. Its fourth largest export market, the United States, declined 8.7%. (France, Germany and the United Kingdom are Italy’s top three customers by country.) Asia, on the other hand, showed a stronger dynamic, with exports jumping 14.9% in Hong Kong, 12.5% in Japan, 5.3% in China and 8.2% in South Korea.
Menswear sales in Italy fell again (-2.2%), but this decline is decelerating compared to previous years. The study also revealed that Italy’s menswear production is finally stabilizing, earning 4.56 billion euros in 2016 (a -0.3% drop), after two consecutive years of sharp declines.
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