MILAN — TheOneMilano trade show is finding its footing.
The four-day apparel and accessories event, which closed here on Sept. 24, saw a 6 percent decrease in visitors to 3,744. The fair showcased 140 labels, 95 of which were Italian. This is the trade’s second September edition, and combines two former shows called Mipap and Mifur, the latter specialized in furs. Organizers reported a 10.34 percent decrease in French visitors and a 30.56 percent decrease in German buyers. The number of visitors from Russia and the former Soviet Union countries rose 19 percent and buyers from Korea increased by 25 percent.
Organizers are trying to give TheOneMilano a new format: This edition launched “Always On,” a digital platform where designers could showcase their most important creations and let them be available throughout the year: 700 items were photographed and are now on the fair’s digital channels.
TheOneMilano president Norberto Albertalli after the closing figures were published, said “Always On,” is the first step in the goal to attract international business. “For the first time, we tried to meet the final consumer by featuring a small selection of designers at Palazzo Matteotti,” near the luxury shopping street Via Montenapoleone.
“This year, we sought to find innovative brands who stand out for their attention to details and materials used,” said general manager Elena Salvaneschi. “Regarding to foreign exhibitors for instance, a relevant part of them produce in Italy and that was something we did appreciate.”
Exhibitors worked on creativity and innovation to lift business. The long-established Italian brand Mastro, founded nearly 40 years ago in Positano, still banks on the handmade work of artisans who all live in the Southern Italian seaside town. The materials used to create the brand’s core business, which are wide long dresses and shirts in earth tones, are only natural, such as linen. The apparel collection, as well as its sandals and flats, are all made in Italy. This is what helped the brand to survive the years of crisis and to keep exports high. “We are very well-distributed in the U.S. and in Australia and we are trying to expand our percentage of exports, which is now around 50 percent,” said Salvatore Mastro, one of the family company’s owners. “This is why we’d like this trade show to boost international buyers,” Mastro explained. “There have always been a lot of foreign buyers here but we see a decrease now and we need to turn things around — maybe by merging the trade shows.”
JNC designer Dino Cravetta concurred: “If we could have one common fairgrounds, it would be easier for buyers to meet — and buy — more labels.” Tuscany’s JNC (which stands for Jacopo Nardi Collezioni, the company’s founder) was founded in Empoli 30 years ago and carved out a standing by focusing on the area’s best practice: outerwear and raincoats. JNC has kept the craftsmanship as the basis of its processes and its outerwear is now mainly sold in Russia, which accounts for 70 percent of sales.
Small Marche-based Complit stood out for its sisal ceremony hats made with sisal, a fiber from the agave plant. Luigi Amedeo Antinori and Marisa Antinori run a family business and their hats are well-distributed abroad, counting the United Kingdom, France and Belgium as the main markets. Fascinators and fedoras, narrow and wide-brimmed hats, are part of the Complit collection.
Valentina Poltronieri is a 27-year-old designer, who has already showcased her creations at the White Milano trade show. Founding the brand during a stagnant period for the Italian economy, Poltronieri said the key was giving the market something joyful: “The inspiration for next summer’s collection came from Mexico and its warm joyful colors, which I combined with European shapes,” the designer said. In an effort to maintain a sustainable production, Poltronieri found a way to put extra fabric to use by creating cellular phone covers, bracelets and turbans.
Erika Lamperti presented a precious collection of women’s footwear with unusual heels made of steel handcrafted in an Italian shipyard. “We are trying to provide both luxury and comfort,” Lamperti said. There were also some street style-inspired biker sabots that stood out.
The Como-based Clamar company showcased one-size dresses made by using polyester to give a long-lasting pleated effect. “The Italian market has always done well but we are also expanding the Middle East and the Far East, Korea in particular,” said owner Claudia Vecchietti, who has seen a boost in international sales since her Korean daughter-in-law joined the company 10 years ago.
Satin bags embellished with stones or Swarovski crystals stood out at Anna Cecere’s stand of ceremony bags and clutches. Satin was used to create ecological fur handbags.
A futuristic eclectic woman inspired Gerardoorlando, the brand founded two years ago on the Amalfi Coast by Gerardo Orlando. Linen and a paper-derived fabric stood out in the collection, which is entirely produced in Italy and also custom-made.