MILAN — The Italian trade show White is taking its first step into the Chinese market.
Focusing on men’s and women’s contemporary ready-to-wear and accessories, the Milan-based exhibition revealed the launch of a special project, called “Style Routes to Shanghai.” This is an exhibiting platform showcasing a selection of Italian labels in the Chinese city during Shanghai Fashion Week.
Set in the West Bund Art Center venue from Oct. 13 to 15, the platform aims to support small- and medium-sized fashion companies in their international expansion.
“We’re all aware of the strategic role this market has,” said White’s founder and president Massimiliano Bizzi, talking about China. “It will be the most important country economically for the fashion industry and for our companies,” he added, mentioning that the Asian nation accounts for 33 percent of global luxury sales.
“This initiative is the first, essential step to enter in a market interested in Italian fashion and expanding in multibrand distribution,” continued Bizzi, who underscored the importance of acting rapidly to start creating brand awareness. The labels showcased will be about 50, including Daniele Carlotta, Filippo Laterza and Ssheena, among others.
In addition to helping brands meet buyers, partners for distribution and press, the project aims to promote the Italian lifestyle and know-how at large through dedicated talks and workshops, such as one illustrating to local retailers the marketing and communication strategies of the best Italian multibrand stores.
“Our main goal was get this project done and get in the Chinese mechanism, and this has been accomplished,” Bizzi said. “Now we have to create a network and promote our companies so that our platform becomes a reference point to all the labels seeking business opportunities in China.”
Conceived over a year ago, the initiative has been developed and supported financially by ICE — the Italian trade agency — and Confartigianato Imprese — the Italian small- and medium-sized fashion companies association — which have been collaborating with White for several seasons.
“We have a consolidated experience in bringing buyers to Milan,” said ICE’s president Michele Scannavini when asked about the challenges of coordinating the initiative. “This is comparable to a start-up, so for the first time we’re trying to go to them, in a very important moment as their fashion week.” Shanghai Fashion Week has been growing in the last few years and now totals 160 fashion shows and presentations attracting around 150,000 visitors.
Scannavini sounded optimistic regarding the outcome of the project, addressing the success of the White trade show in Italy due to its scouting activity, “innovative, avant-garde approach” and “well-defined market positioning.”
“We firmly believe we can offer what Chinese customers are looking for,” echoed Giuseppe Mazzarella, Confartigianato Imprese’s delegate of national internationalization. In particular, Mazzarella addressed the business opportunities provided by consumers’ shifting purchase habits. According to the executive, the act of purchasing luxury goods just became of the label has been replaced by a more quality-focused approach.
“Chinese customers are attracted by our entrepreneurial system, as it’s the opposite of theirs,” Mazzarella said. “They have big numbers, but we have districts of small- or medium-sized companies excelling in craftsmanship and storytelling.”