Carlo Capasa

MILAN — Carlo Capasa, chairman of the Italian Camera della Moda, is speaking up for the country’s embattled fashion industry.

This week, Capasa was in Rome to speak about the industry’s prospects within the the national Recovery and Resilience Plan during talks held by the lower Chamber’s industry Commission and the Senate’s European budget and affairs Commission. On this occasion, he quantified the sum needed to restart the fashion industry, badly affected by the coronavirus impact.

According to Capasa and the Camera, up to 3 billion euros would be necessary as part of an “immediate intervention” to support all the small and medium-sized enterprises in Italy, many counting fewer than 15 employees. The investment, he said, is “needed to restart a key sector in the Italian economy.”

As reported, Capasa said last week that the fashion association was planning to present a plan to the Italian government requesting specific measures and strategies to help the industry as part of the COVID-19 Recovery Fund. Capasa’s speech was the first step in this direction.

“Italian fashion is one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, with sales down 26 percent to around 75 billion euros,” said Capasa, who is in his third term as head of the association. He characterized any intervention as an investment that would allow the industry “to once again be the powerhouse of Italy’s economy and global image.”

He underscored that fashion is Italy’s second industry, with sales in 2019 of almost 100 billion euros. Exports amounted to 71.5 billion euros that year. “The fashion industry ensures jobs for 550,000 people in Italian manufacturing and as many again in trade and services,” for a total of 1.1 million individuals. Italian fashion, he observed, represents 41 percent of this sector in Europe — what the automotive industry is for Germany.

With respect to the Recovery Fund, Capasa promised that “Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana will be activating detailed projects on environmental and social sustainability, digitalization, internationalization and training to ensure a specialized and competitive future on the global market for the new generations.”

He also believes in stepping up investments in research, innovation and development, introducing specific measures, such as social security and tax relief, funding Made in Italy marketing campaigns and increasing funds already allocated.

These efforts are part of initiatives set in motion by the Italian fashion industry, which, as reported, is banding together to help one another.

Last week, an impressive group of leaders met to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry, and how the larger companies could help smaller and medium-sized ones impacted even more heavily by the pandemic.

The industry is setting out a path to recovery as the new government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi determines ways to help the country’s economy rebound via the COVID-19 Recovery Fund totaling more than 200 billion euros from the European Union.

The meeting included representatives of the Camera della Moda’s strategic committee, Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive officer of the Prada Group; Gildo Zegna, CEO of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, and Renzo Rosso, chairman of OTB, who met with Carlo Bonomi, president of Confindustria, the association that comprises 64,300 companies in the fashion sector. Other members of the association present included the vice president for internationalization Barbara Beltrame Giacomello; the vice president of organization, development and marketing Alberto Marenghi; general director Francesca Mariotti, and president of Confindustria Moda Cirillo Marcolin. Also attending were Marino Vago, president of Sistema Moda Italia, and Claudio Marenzi, president of Herno and former president of Confindustria Moda.

The strategic committee and the brands it represents confirmed it will develop a document shared with Confindustria to help grow the sector after the pandemic, underscoring the importance to collaborate on proposals and actions to undertake.