Matteo Marzotto, president of Mittelmoda International Lab and Confindustria Moda president Claudio Marenzi sign partnership.

MILAN Confindustria Moda, the Italian federation made up of around 67,000 companies in fashion, textiles and accessories, and the country’s fashion contest International Lab of Mittelmoda have announced they’re partnering to further promote young talents.

Signed on Wednesday at Confindustria Moda’s headquarters in Milan by the organization’s president Claudio Marenzi and Matteo Marzotto, president of Mittelmoda International Lab, the partnership will allow the latter to extend the 26th edition of its “Fashion Awards” talent search to handbag, footwear, eyewear, textile and accessories designers, in addition to apparel.

“This partnership injects a breath of fresh air and hope. We’ve had a brilliant past and we’ve been supported over the past 25 years by institutional local and regional partners,” said Marzotto, who joined the talent search 11 years ago. “We try to find talents at the source, by scouting them in fashion schools, seeking for those who have the right skills and DNA to create fashion.”

As part of the deal, the award event will be held on Sept. 16 and hosted by Milan’s footwear trade show Micam, whose organizer, Assocalzaturifici, is one of Confindustria Moda’s associates. This is a return to the city for the award ceremony, which was held in Milan first in 2013 and then in 2016 during textile trade fair Milano Unica.

“Some of the associations gathered under the Confindustria Moda umbrella are already partners of Mittelmoda, which has been ahead of times as it marks its 26th anniversary this year,” noted Marenzi.

“Together we’re setting a new benchmark to promote talent in all its forms at the service of fashion’s different pipelines. Our aim is not to stand out, but rather be a particle of the system,” Marzotto underscored. “Talking about the youth is politically correct today, but the support we give must be tangible.”

“I’m glad it’s no longer only linked to creativity in its purest form but also to product’s development,” Marenzi stressed noting “in today’s scenario companies are attentive to product’s development and merchandising, as much as to creativity.”

Marenzi pointed to the importance of the talent search underscoring that in the next two years, Italy’s fashion industry as a whole will need to employ around 50,000 workers, as opposed to around 10,000 people expected to graduate from the country’s fashion and product design schools. Describing Italy’s fashion companies as “industry dwarfs,” Marenzi highlighted the country’s know-how and expertise as among the key assets to success. “Italy has been fittingly seen as ‘fashion’s El Dorado’ and we want to further promote that idea through this partnership,” he said. The system produces 40 percent of Europe’s fashion products generating net exports of 97 billion euros in 2018, according to Marenzi.

Founded in Gorizia in northeastern Italy in 1993, International Lab of Mittelmoda already counts on the support of the Italian Chamber of Fashion and other industry associations, including Italy’s Textile Association and SMI Sistema Moda Italia. The latter merged into Confindustria Moda in 2017.

In 2014 the talent search collaborated with VicenzaOro’s then-organizer Fiera di Vicenza to boost the creation of synergies between the country’s young talents and Italy’s manufacturing companies. Fiera di Vicenza then merged with Rimini Fiera into trade show operator IEG Italian Exhibition Group, where Marzotto served as president until he stepped down last November.

Over the years the nonprofit organizer of the fashion contest has also partnered with a range of Italian and international fashion companies such as Benetton, Furla, La Perla, Levi’s, the Calzedonia Group, Dondup, The Woolmark Co. and Missoni, among others.