By  on September 2, 2011

MILAN — The next edition of Milano Unica touches down at Fieramilanocity here for three days starting Sept. 13 to show off Italian and European fabric collections for fall 2012, as the sector struggles with inconsistent supply and costs of raw materials and supplies.

But Pier Luigi Loro Piana, president of the biannual fair, finds encouraging signs of recovery.

“The turbulence in the prices of raw materials and the difficulty of procurement are creating a bit of concern in our companies, but at the moment it’s been demonstrated that we can overcome the difficulties,” he said.

The number of exhibitors is up by 10 to 482 from February’s edition and there’s an uptick of 20 additional attendees from firms based in Prato, the Tuscan textile hub.

Export and sales rates grew during the first quarter of 2011, according to Centro Studi SMI, the Italian fashion and textile consortium. Overall exports increased 8.5 percent, with an 11.9 percent growth in the textile sector. Sales at the initial phase of the production chain, where raw materials and threads are made into fabrics and yarn, increased 7.6 percent, and the final phase — fabrics and yarns — posted a 4.4 percent gain. Growth in orders was also noted by fair organizers, particularly in the second quarter.

Loro Piana has given his fair a shot of innovation to make it more appealing to exhibitors and attendees.

“The new displays, the rationalization of the fair’s layout and the new proposals from Made in Italy research, together with the new edition of On Stage that premieres in September, gives the fair even more character,” he said.

The most ambitious event kicks off on the first evening when Milan’s canal-rich Navigli neighborhood hosts the third edition of On Stage, culminating in an open-air, open-to-the-public catwalk show along the Alzaia Naviglio Grande of three men’s wear and seven women’s wear collections from emerging, international designers. The event, produced in collaboration with the Woolmark brand, gives young designers the opportunity to premiere their work in Italy and have access to high-quality textile firms, and includes dinners for badge holders at 28 restaurants along Milan’s Naviglio Grande.

Christopher Raeburn, a London-based graduate of the Royal College of Art who creates ethically aware fashion from re-adapted military materials, will be showing signature works from his collections and introducing elements of his “Remade” concept and parachute fabrics.

Shanghai-based designer Uma Wang said the event is a great opportunity “to meet all the greatest textiles suppliers around the world and to see the new materials.”

The fair is split into four general exhibitions: Shirt Avenue for traditional and novelty shirting fabrics; Moda In for fashion-forward, trend-driven materials; Ibeabiella for prestigious men’s and women’s fabrics, and Ideacomo for exclusive women’s collection. Seasonal trends will be presented at Woolmark’s The Wool Lab.

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