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Nordstrom is gearing up for part two of its Made in Italy initiative with the Italian Trade Agency.

As part of its ongoing partnership, Nordstrom will be putting the finishing touches on what’s next for the “We Love IT” initiative. From Monday through Wednesday in Milan, Nordstrom’s director of creative projects will be culling talent in order to further showcase Italian-made goods. In the coming months, her final choices will be spotlighted with visual displays, events and inclusion in some of the Pop-IN@Nordstrom pop-up shops.

This story first appeared in the September 24, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

For the next installment, Kim is deciding on new Italian brands to merchandise along with more established Italian ones that are already part of the Italian-made program in Nordstrom stores. During next week’s three-day go-see at the Palazzo Delle Stelline, Kim will decide on 90 brands that will subsequently be featured in a special series of Pop-In@Nordstrom shops in four Texas locations launching in spring 2016.

Kim started culling which new brands to plug in Nordstrom’s U.S. stores during a previous trip to Milan in April. Through an online open-casting of sorts that was set up through the Italian Trade Commission, 700 brands registered to have a chance at the opportunity. At that time, she first met with an assortment of designers and executives before whittling down the base of candidates to 150. To further fine-tune the assortment, Kim plans to meet with 90 small- and medium-sized Italian businesses to include in the program.

The first phase of the fashion-focused Made in Italy collaboration with Nordstrom got underway on Sept. 12 in eight Texas stores and runs through the end of October. The company has spotlighted 41 brands and nearly 2,000 products. As will be the case with the second phase, the Made in Italy merchandise is labeled with the “We Love IT” slogan. As a nod to Italy’s national flag, red, white and green signage and point-of-purchase material will indicate the Italian-made goods. In the coming months, there will be special events in stores and for VIP clients, as well as new advertising campaigns.

The effort is part of a two-year $22 million plan organized through the Italian Trade Agency, Confindustria and its related associations. Italy’s Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda launched the program by visiting New York in July 2014 to promote Italian clothing, footwear, hides, leather goods, textiles, eyewear, cosmetics and jewelry.

The Italian-American partnership appears to be paying off. The National Institute for Statistics in Italy has reported that Italian clothing exports to the U.S. reached $807.3 million in the first seven months of 2015, which represents a 13.4 percent gain compared to the same period in 2014; footwear and leather goods totaled $1.46 billion, an 18 percent increase; textiles were nearly $287 million, an 18.7 percent jump; hides were $146 million, a 32 percent increase; cosmetics and perfumes amounted to $399 million for a 39 percent gain; jewelry and goldsmith wares grew to $862 million for a 27 percent uptick, and eyewear amassed $451 million for a 31 percent upswing.

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