The Micam.

MILAN — Giorgio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Jimmy Choo and Sergio Rossi will exhibit at the upcoming The Micam footwear fair here to support the industry. The companies will join Fendi, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Prada and Tod’s, which confirmed their attendance for a second time after taking part at the show’s February edition.

Held at the Rho Fiera Milano fairgrounds — a 30-minute subway ride from the city’s center — The Micam’s 84th edition will run Sept. 17 to 20. For the first time, the last day of the show will coincide with the opening of Milan Fashion Week, as part of the alignment of all fashion events promoted by the new Confindustria Moda association.

“[Our] will is to continue to create synergies with the players of the fashion industry,” said Annarita Pilotti, president of Assocalzaturifici — the Italian footwear manufacturers’ association, which is now part of Confindustria Moda. “Assocalzaturifici will maintain its historical identity but thanks to the new federation, it will be able to increase its position toward national and European institutions and offer different services to its companies,” she added.

Presented last March, Confindustria Moda merges fashion and textile consortium SMI Sistema Moda Italia and FIAMP, which used to represent the companies working in the accessories industry, including leather goods, eyewear, fur and jewelry. The new federation will regroup 67,873 companies operating in the fashion, textile and accessories sectors.

The industry’s figures registered in the first quarter of the year showed feeble signs of recovery for the footwear sector.

Exports remain the industry’s main driver, increasing 4.9 percent in value and totaling 2.5 billion euros in the first three months of 2017. In the single month of March, they climbed 13 percent compared to the same time in 2016.

In particular, shipments to France, which is the top export destination for Italian footwear companies, totaled 366 million euros, up 1.9 percent, after a 1.2 percent decrease in 2016.

Switzerland remains the second-largest market, with sales growing 33.6 percent to over 297 million euros. Exports to Russia increased 14.6 percent totaling 105 million euros.

In the first quarter, sales to the U.S. totaled 228 million, decreasing 2.5 percent but growing 1.5 percent in quantity.

“[In general, 2017] started with stability and cautious optimism,” said Pilotti, adding that the path to the sector’s complete recovery is still long.

Last year, Italian footwear production decreased 2 percent in volume compared to the previous year. As a consequence, the number of manufacturing companies also dropped 2 percent, with 97 firms shutting down in 2016. Exports last year totaled 8.9 billion euros, up 2.5 percent compared to 2015.

By the end of 2016, the Italian footwear industry counted 76,744 employees in 4,839 companies, almost 80 percent of which are small- or medium-sized.

Pilotti underscored the great effort in revamping the sector and fair’s image not only through the involvement of the industry’s big names — which will be showcased in the fair’s Fashion Square area dedicated to luxury labels — but also implementing new visual layouts and advertising campaigns.

As reported, The Micam’s communication for the next three years will be inspired by Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy.” Shot by photographer Javier Vallhonrat, the ad images will recall the concepts of the Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. After representing the theme of “Lust” in February, the upcoming edition will have  “Seduction” as its main motif.

Flanking the activity, The Micam will also host a photography exhibition from Sept. 15 to 30, showcasing images commissioned from Italian photographer Giovanni Gastel. He shot details of a selection of Made in Italy shoes and paired them with unusual objects, capturing the similarities.

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