MILAN — “Sign of the Times” is the tagline that ready-to-wear and accessories trade show White Milano has used to unveil its new course: streamlined, experiential and aimed at supporting the Italian fashion sector and the city of Milan by way of collaborations and joint efforts with other key players.
“The pandemic has forced us to change. Now the question is, how do we change? We could have slowed down for fear [of the economic instabilities] or press on and keep investing, confident that the emergency can create new opportunities,” said Massimiliano Bizzi, president of White Milano, during a press conference Tuesday.
In 2022, marking its 20th anniversary, the trade show operator will streamline its event by hosting only two fairs a year, instead of the previous four, happening concurrently with women’s fashion weeks in February and September. The upcoming edition will run Feb. 24 to 27.
As anticipated by the company management in an interview with WWD last June, in February the trade show will take over two additional locations in the Tortona Design District, the MUDEC museum and the Padiglione Visconti, adding around 193,750 square feet of exhibition space.
More space, in White Milano’s view, means more opportunities to diversify the offering and provide buyers and attendees with experiential and engaging formats.
Case in point: Each of the four locations will have themed settings nodding to their selection and brand mix. The White Circle Room space will be aimed at spotlighting circularity and ethical fashion; the White Cube room will be dedicated to new-gen footwear brands; the Ex Ansaldo venue will be transformed into a Suk to highlight smaller fashion, beauty and lifestyle companies, and the MUDEC space will host a handful of innovative and community-driven brands flanked by music happenings and performances targeting the younger crowd.
The WSM format, traditionally held during Milan Men’s Fashion Week and dedicated to sustainability, will be moved to the women’s season, in an attempt to capitalize on the number of buyers and fashion people in town. It is estimated that each women’s fashion week draws around 25,000 fashion operators to Milan.
Housed inside the 12,900-square-foot Padiglione Visconti, the fair will expand its focus to include material suppliers, chemical companies and technology enablers, in addition to brands, in order to “highlight the sustainable and digital transition that companies across the fashion supply chain are undergoing,” Brenda Bellei, White Milano’s chief executive officer, said.
An amphitheater space will host talks, workshops and educational initiatives open to the public on the circular and green economy. “We’re committed to keep offering buyer-oriented deep-dives into innovation, in fashion and elsewhere, which can attract a global audience,” Bellei explained.
White Milano has always prided itself on being a bridge between the numerous Italian small and medium-sized fashion enterprises and international markets and buyers. For 2022 the fair has renewed its link with the Camera della Moda, the recently established organization Camera Showroom Milano and Confartigianato Imprese, which according to Bizzi will guarantee that the city’s fashion showcases attract 1,200 international buyers throughout the year.
In keeping with White Milano’s commitment to involve Milan citizens in local fashion events, along the same lines of the Salone del Mobile show and related design week, the Milano Loves Italy project will return in February via tie-ups with local showrooms and stores offering their spaces to showcase brands displayed at the trade show.