Carlo Capasa

MILAN — Asia and Russia are back. Ahead of Milan Fashion Week, kicking off on Sept. 20, Italy’s Camera della Moda released its Fashion Economic Trends report, showing an 8 percent growth in exports to Asia in the January-May period, and a 16 percent gain in sales to Russia. In particular, China was up 13 percent and South Korea 22 percent.

After an acceleration between May and June, and while a slight slowdown is expected in the second half of the year, impacted by a stronger euro, the fashion association expects sales in 2017 to increase 2.3 percent to 64.7 billion euros and exports to grow 4 percent to 50 billion euros. Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera della Moda, said Wednesday that he expected industry sales to grow 3 percent to 86 billion euros in 2018.

Asked about the news that Kering and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton had set up a charter to ensure the well-being of models in the wake of a string of high-profile incidents during Paris Fashion Week in February, Capasa said the Camera “was among the first to adopt an ethical code” back in December 2006. “The same issues were present, but this is a good opportunity to update it. There are specific measures to be taken and we will discuss them with our associates. We hope everyone globally will become more sensitive to this.”

Camera della Moda also revealed it had partnered with Italy’s UniCredit bank, which is an official sponsor of Milan Fashion Week, to launch the Funding Sustainability project. Capasa explained that this will help open credit lines to help companies that are part of the manufacturing pipeline and associated with the Camera’s brands, to become more sustainable, eliminating dangerous substance from the textile production cycle, for example, or to employ cleaner energy, among other issues. “This will help change the technologies at all levels of production and integrate the pipeline,” Capasa said. “It takes time to be sustainable, and sustainability is now an element of differentiation of a brand.” This is also a way to help protect the pipeline, the web of small companies and artisans in Italy. UniCredit’s first allocation will total 30 million euros and will target companies with up to 205 employees.

“We are a reference point for manufacture,” said Capasa, observing that Italy accounts for 41 percent of European production of textiles, apparel and accessories, followed by Germany (11 percent); Spain (10 percent); France (8 percent), and the U.K. (7 percent).