Italian Brands Urged to Look at Emerging Markets

Upcoming Pitti Uomo show expected to draw international buyers to January edition.

Appeared In
Special Issue
Men'sWeek issue 11/17/2011

MILAN — In light of the recent financial turmoil in Europe, emerging countries can offer great opportunities to the Italian fashion and textile industry, according to Pitti president Gaetano Marzotto.

This story first appeared in the November 17, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Italian fashion companies must create a collaborative network to reach new markets,” he said here Wednesday, ahead of the 81st edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo, scheduled for Jan. 10 to 13. “From this point of view, Pitti has to be considered an important platform to get in touch with international buyers, also from emerging countries.”

According to studies by Italian fashion and textile consortium SMI, the sector, which saw an increase in the first nine months of the year, suffered a significant slowdown in the third quarter, with growth dropping from 13.8 percent in the first half to 5.8 percent. Exports of textiles and apparel increased 12.3 percent in the first seven months of the year, reaching a combined 15.9 billion euros, or $23 billion at average exchange rate. Italy saw a 24.2 percent increase in exports to China and a 15.1 percent rise in shipments to Russia.

“Despite our worries, we are recording a very good performance in the U.S., with a 10 percent increase in exports,” said Marzotto, who also highlighted the positive results coming from Brazil, India, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. More than 23,000 international buyers are expected to attend the next edition of Pitti Uomo, where about 1,000 brands will showcase their collections. Pitti is also set to expand its online services, launching a virtual temporary showroom where exhibitors receive orders from buyers.

The theme chosen for the fair is “It’s graphics now!” because “graphic design is faster than fashion when it comes to interpreting the present and transforming it into images and atmospheres,” said Pitti Immagine vice president Agostino Poletto. Fourteen international graphic designers, who have been asked to choose an iconic word and transform it into a logo, will show the results of their efforts in the Fortezza da Basso’s courtyard.

Pitti Uomo will also explore the new frontiers of craftsmanship at “Make,” a new area designed by Patricia Urquiola, which will host the handcrafted creations of 35 international designers, including Chapal, Zonkey Boot, Takizawa Shigeru, Samuel Gassmann, Le Yuccas and Marc Bernstein.

In addition, a project called “Italian Handscapes” aimed at celebrating Italian artisanal fashion, will be presented in January. For the debut, Pitti teamed up with Italian textile company Bonotto, which will showcase a selection of precious fabrics realized in collaboration with important fashion firms.

Pitti Uomo has also joined forces with Japan Fashion Week to bring 20 of the most interesting Japanese fashion brands to present their collections in Florence.

The list of new exhibitors at Pitti includes Alexander McQueen’s contemporary line McQ; Jimmy Choo, which is attending a trade show for the first time; Chevignon Heritage, the new collection designed by Milan Vukmirovic; Herno’s Herno Laminar, a capsule collection designed by Errolson Hugh in collaboration with Gore Tex; Italian tailoring label Tonello; Slowear’s high-end knitwear brand Zanone; Richard James’ Mayfair collection; the line designed by Nigel Cabourn for Eddie Bauer, and Andrea Incontri’s collection for Schneiders. Two special events will be held by Andrea Pompilio and Emiliano Rinaldi, winners of the last edition of the “Who’s On Next Uomo” competition.

Valentino will be the special guest this season. The first men’s runway show by creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for the brand will be held on Jan. 11. There will also be a special project with Hardy Amies. The Savile Row tailoring company will present its fall collection during a special event, followed by a gala dinner.

Olympia Le-Tan will be the special guest at Pitti W. On Jan. 12. The French accessories designer will unveil a bag collection inspired by a number of Italian literature masterpieces. In addition, during the women’s ready-to-wear and accessories trade fair, on Jan. 10, accessories brand Gherardini will unveil its “La Pretiosa di Leonardo,” a bag taking inspiration from an original drawing made by the celebrated artist in the 15th century.