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MILAN — The key word in Italian trade show circles these days is togetherness, particularly for the textile sector as fair organizers had looked to coordinate dates and create a textile week in Italy. It is part of an ongoing strategy developed to increase fair attendance by offering buyers the opportunity to shop a variety of shows in a relatively short period of time.
The Italian textile week will kick off with Shirt Avenue (Feb. 26 to 28, at Villa Erba in Cernobbio, Italy), followed by Ideabiella (March 3 to 5, at Villa Erba), Prato Expo (March 5 to 7, at Fortezza da Basso, Florence, Italy) and will end with Ideacomo (March 7 to 9, at Villa Erba), traditionally the last textile show of the season.
“We coordinated with other fairs and have come up with what we think is the best solution for all of us,” said Vincenzo Pagano, director of Prato Trade. Pagano and Franco Bini, president of Prato Trade, have been working for several seasons to move the spring edition of Prato Expo closer to the end of February, which they feel is more in keeping with the needs of their clients.
After much speculation, Shirt Avenue and Ideabiella have finally agreed to coordinate fair dates and next season, they’re scheduled just days apart. While fair organizers are still flirting with the idea of creating a luxury menswear week, Paolo Zegna, president of Ideabiella, an organization of weavers based in the Northern Italian town of Biella, confirmed they are moving closer to an agreement.
“We are negotiating with Shirt Avenue,” Zegna said, “our objective is to move our fair closer to theirs, perhaps with overlapping days, with the idea of offering our clients the possibility to see the best in menswear fabrics in a short period of time and in the same location.”
Moda In (Feb. 9 to 11), Milan’s textile show, is slotted just before Premiere Vision (Feb. 12 to 15) in Paris, giving buyers shopping both shows one day to travel. Moda In will return to its traditional space in the Portello section of the Milan fairgrounds next season. Fair organizers are also looking to work more closely with other Italian and European fairs in an attempt to meet the needs of buyers and suppliers.
All of the fair organizers working in the textile sector were convinced the newly organized fair dates would not only benefit buyers who have to travel long distances to attend the fairs, but textile producers as well, allowing them more time to prepare their lines for presentation.
The Italian fashion industry is looking to the east and the emerging markets in China to help smooth the way through the economic transition taking place around the globe. It also hopes to improve fair attendance, which has been down in the past few years, though organizers declined to say by how much.
“Our commercial efforts are now focused on the enormous Chinese market,” Zegna said. “It is a market that is very interesting for us, as the Chinese are becoming ever more interested in buying high-quality fabric. We are hoping to reap the efforts we made last year when we helped sponsor several delegations of Chinese clothing manufactures, bringing them to Ideabiella.”
“A delegation of Chinese buyers also visited Prato Expo last season,” Vincenzo Pagano said, “and we hope to have them visit us once again.”
There were 32 Chinese buyers representing 12 companies at the last edition of Prato Expo. The project was brought to fruition through the efforts of Prato Trade, working with the Italian Trade Commission and the Garment Association of Peking.
As luxury brands continue to gain ground, a new fair featuring luxury products has been added to the calendar. Luxury and Yachts (Feb. 8 to 16) will offer a selection of top Italian brands and products. Among the 100 exhibitors will be Hermès, Kiton, and Audemars Piquet. Luxury and Yachts will be held in Verona, Italy, as part of the Veronafiere Nauticshow, a 36,000-square-foot fair dedicated to international yacht manufacturers.
Also new to next season’s calendar is Exit Export (May 30 to 31), dedicated to clothing, knitwear, handbags and accessories, and Filo (April 2 to 4), a fair of yarn and textile machinery. Exit Expo will take place in Bologna, Italy at the Bologna fairgrounds, while Filo will be held at the Villa Erba.