MILAN — Denim companies in Italy’s Marche and Veneto regions pride themselves on being international textile hubs. As the euro zone crisis lingers and consumption in Italy continues to decline, however, they’ve been forced to adapt to foreign competition and meet changing customer demands.
According to a European Textile and Apparel Association report, exports of Italian textiles totaled 27 billion euros, or about $36 billion at average exchange, in 2011, up 9.4 percent over 2010. While the majority — 56.4 percent — of exports were intra-European Union, demand from non-EU areas was growing at a faster rate, up 14.2 percent in a year. However, the number of Italian textile companies dropped by an average of 2.3 percent in the same period, or by roughly 1,200 business units. The total number of employees decreased by 2.6 percent, a loss of about 11,700 workers. RELATED STORY: Japan's Evolving Denim Market >>
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A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"