MILAN — Mipel is taking a new direction.

Thanks to the collaboration between Mipel president Roberto Briccola and Riccardo Braccialini, the newly elected president of Italian leather goods association Aimpes, plus the support of the Italian trade agency and the ministry of economic development, the leather goods and bags trade fair aims to improve its quality and international visibility.

“Today Mipel, without criticizing what has been done in the past, is a bit old school as most of our fairs, but it remains the most important fair in the leather business,” Braccialini said.

“In the past, big companies and brands showed at Mipel, which can become a springboard, an incubator, for new labels,” he continued.

In keeping with this strategy, the next edition will feature an area dedicated to 10 upcoming Italian brands, including Badura, Barbara Bonner, Benedetta Bruzziches, Alessandro Enriquez, Filippo Fanini, Gedebe, Azzurra Gronchi, Giancarlo Petriglia, Salar and V°73. These will also reinterpret the trade show’s shopping bag and each of them is to become the protagonist of short movies directed by five bloggers — Candela Novembre, Linda Tol, Veronica Ferraro, Elisa Taviti and Paola Turani. The videos will be unveiled at the fair’s inaugural event held on Sept. 1 at chef Carlo Cracco’s hot spot Carlo and Camilla in Segheria.

In addition, the pavilion housing the trade show is to move from the second floor to the first floor, next to footwear fair Micam.

Unisex bags, backpacks, suspenders and tablet cases will be the hot items at the fair, according to Gianluca Lovereto, fashion journalist and professor at Bologna’s University.

“I want to ask Mipel to pay homage to Fiorucci, who was the first designer to turn the shopping bag from an anonymous item into a cult object,” he added.

According to data provided by Aimpes, in the first quarter of 2015 Italian leather goods exports grew 10.2 percent to 1.6 billion euros, or $1.74 billion at average exchange, compared to the previous year. In the same period, the average price of exports rose 10.7 percent. In particular, the average price of women’s handbags sold abroad grew 30 percent.

Exports to the United States and to China climbed 24 percent and 40 percent, respectively. Double-digit growth of Italian exports was also registered in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, exports toward Russia and Ukraine were down 29 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

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