Captain America to the rescue.

This story first appeared in the November 11, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Italian trade show organizers are satisfied with the economic performance of 2015, thanks in part to a recovering U.S. market, and expect the positive results to carry into 2016, with an increase of foreign visitors.

Ercole Botto Poala, Milano Unica’s new president, said 2015 was a good year “thanks to a North American market that finally returned to buy in Italy consistently,” noting that recovery in the U.S. also had positive effects on the domestic front.

He added that China, despite its current difficulties, remained the second most important target market together with Hong Kong, but that Japan and South Korea have also given positive signs, leading the industry to a trade surplus of 26 percent, a trend he expects to continue next year.

For the next edition, slated for Feb. 9 to 11, Botto Poala expects an increase in foreign visitors and clients, but adds that the number of involved companies and their quality is more important to the fair and its exhibitors.

“The European market is strategic, especially Germany, but also countries like Romania and Tunisia shed a light on important trends, thanks to the relocation of production made in their territories,” he said.

Milano Unica also held its first U.S. edition in New York in July, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, showcasing 87 exhibitors and registered 1,300 visitors that represented 700 companies. The fair will return for a second edition, slated for Jan. 24 to 26.

Massimiliano Bizzi, president of niche show White, which took place in September, noted that the fair registered a higher number of visitors, exceeding 20,000 with a 12 percent growth in buyers, especially from northern Europe.

“For the next year I expect further growth, especially among foreign visitors coming from Japan, China, South Korea, Switzerland and northern Europe — Germany in particular,” Bizzi said, adding that the women’s edition, slated for Feb. 27, would return for four instead of three days. The men’s edition is scheduled for Jan. 16 to 18.

Cirillo Marcolin, president of annual eyewear fair Mido, noted that the challenge for 2016 would be to meet and even beat the record attendance from this year’s edition and bank on the positive movement of Italian eyewear exports in the first half of 2015.

“America, Asia and Europe — these are the areas in which first-half exports were more efficient,” he said. “Globally, Italian products were confirmed protagonists in 2015 in the international market, with a trend that we assume is also confirmed for the first months of 2016.”

Marcolin noted that for the fair’s 46th edition, slated for Feb. 27 to 29 at Fiera Milano SpA, the free train connections for attendees from Rome and Venice would return and a new connection from Turin is planned.

Jewelry fair Vicenzaoro registered a 14 percent increase of buyers at its September edition compared to 2014, confirming a positive economic direction for 2015 in jewelry consumption that continued in the second quarter with 6 percent growth, according to Matteo Marzotto, president of Fiera di Vicenza.

“The data from Italian jewelry exports in the first half of the year is also positive, up 11.8 percent compared to the same period in 2014,” he said, adding that he was moderately optimistic for the coming months, regardless of international tensions in Russia, the Middle East and a slowdown in some emerging countries.

At the fair’s next edition, Marzotto wants to maintain the Vicenzaoro — The Boutique Show format that was introduced in January and also confirmed a return of the fair’s Dubai edition, slated for Apr. 14 to 17.

Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive officer of Pitti Immagine, said the trade show’s outlook is upbeat, having already received 200 requests to participate in the upcoming Pitti Uomo to be held from Jan. 12 to 15 at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence.

Marco de Vincenzo will be at Pitti Uomo as guest women’s wear designer; Juun. J will be the first guest men’s wear designer from South Korea, and Adidas Originals by White Mountaineering is the guest designer project.

Napoleone added that the International Woolmark Prize men’s wear final would also be held at the show in January.

According to Emanuela Forlin, exhibition manager of Fiera Milano’s biannual prêt-à-porter show MIPAP and bridal show SI Sposaitalia Collezioni, there’s a renewed spotlight on Milan, which she credits to new cultural offers, including Expo, the recently opened Fondazione Prada and the Armani/Silos museum.

For the upcoming edition of Sposaitalia, slated for May 20 to 23, Forlin said the fair wants to strengthen the city’s international edge with increased investments in more receptive foreign markets and already started scouting new designers to bring to the show for the first time.

Regarding MIPAP, scheduled for Feb. 27 to 29, Forlin said the goal was to “increase the number of brands that will be present and therefore the number of buyers who will visit.”

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