Jane Reeve (Camera della Moda CEO): "In Milan, there’s both style and production, that’s unique!"
Having been appointed CEO of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI) early this year, the English executive takes stock and tells FashionMag.com about plans designed to increase the standing of Milan Fashion Week, which begins on Wednesday, September 17.
FashionMag.com: You were appointed head of the Camera della Moda in January. Originally from England, you used to work for an advertising agency. What kind of idea have you developed about Italian fashion?
Jane Reeve: What has struck me most if all is the amount of effort and energy behind the scenes for each collection. It’s an incredible amount work carried out every six months. It’s takes a significant commitment on the part of companies, which often goes unnoticed from an outside perspective. That’s why I introduced several initiatives during fashion week designed to make the industry more transparent.
FM: How do you plan to make the exclusive world of fashion more accessibly to the general public?
JR: For starters, we’ve created a website dedicated to fashion week, and in the future, every fashion week will have its own site. What’s more, last weekend, we launched the first "Fashion Film Festival Milano", which is free and open to everyone. And for the first time, we’ll open up to the public our "Fashion Hub", the center that houses Fashion week’s entire organization, located in the Palazzo Giureconsulti, right in the city center, where you can attend different events while remaining in direct contact with artisans, young designers, etc. Finally, we’ve organized a debate, also open to the public, with Diesel CEO Renzo Rosso, to be held on September 21.
FM: You’ve nevertheless struggled with scheduling. Since Giorgio Armani moved his show forward, Monday, the last day, doesn’t seem to have any big names this season...
JR: That's true. The schedule remains a sensitive issue that can and should be improved. First of all, there’s Dolce & Gabbana, which still isn’t part of the association. The other critical point is timing. We want to please everybody, but it’s just not possible! We’re lucky to have a lot of big brands as members, but sometimes it’s difficult to reason with them as a group. In Paris, the Fédération Française de la Couture has mainly to deal with two macro-groups. As for London, how many big names are there?
FM: This year, the Camera della Moda’s budget increased a great deal. How have you used these extra funds?
JR: We went from nearly 1.5 million euros in 2013 to about 4.5 million in 2014, but the budget is still lower compared to those of our competitors, such as in London. It has allowed us to do more public relations and to develop support projects for young designers; for example, by helping them organize their shows. We also hired a lawyer, who can help them legally. Finally, we’ve invited buyers and journalists from Japan and London to fashion week.
FM: Have you been working with London?
JR: In late August, we met with the leadership of the British Fashion Council. We’re competitors, of course, but we can work together on some issues, such as in terms of exchanges to support emerging brands, work on projects together find global sponsors together.
FM: For Milan’s next Fashion weeks, there’s talk that you may move over to the new Porta Nuova neighborhood…
JR: We’re in negotiations with the real estate firm Hines, which is managing the plan for urban redevelopment in the neighborhood. Beginning in 2015, we plan to use the 53,000 square foot space located in the park as our Fashion Hub during women’s fashion week and to consolidate shows there into two halls. The new pavilion-auditorium, which the UniCredit bank built in the area, might also be used during Fashion week. With its modern towers and buildings, Porta Nuova will be the city’s new heart, and we would like to bring it to life with events. That said, our little skyscrapers might make the Chinese laugh! That’s why we have to strike a balance and continue to organize events in Milan, where the city’s historical heritage stands out.
FM: What distinguishes Milan other fashion capitals?
JR: In Milan, there is both style and production. That’s unique! The city has both an unparalleled concentration of very big names in fashion as well as a significant level of manufacturing, known for high quality production. Everyone comes to Italy to make their products. That’s a fact!
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