MILAN — Internationalization continues to be key for the Italian fashion and textile sector, which is facing a significant slowdown in its domestic market.
As highlighted by Pitti Immagine president Claudio Marenzi during the seasonal press conference to introduce the schedule of the upcoming edition of Pitti Uomo, running Jan. 7 to 10, in the third quarter of 2019 the domestic business of Italian textile and fashion companies fell 8.4 percent compared to the same period last year, while the industry’s exports increased 2.2 percent. The growth in international markets was driven by increased sales of finished products, which rose 6.3 percent, while the textile sector registered a 4.7 percent decline, according to data provided by Sistema Moda Italia.
In the first seven months of 2019, the fashion and textile sector’s exports grew 9.4 percent compared to the same period last year. Double-digit growth was registered in the U.S. and the U.K., up 26.4 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively, as well as in Japan and South Korea, where exports of Italian products increased 12.1 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively. While exports to China continue to grow — they were up 6.8 percent in the seven-month period — those directed to Germany, Russia and Hong Kong decreased in the period.
To bridge the gap between the increase in sales of finished products and the slowdown in the textile industry Marenzi said “it’s crucial to focus on sustainability. Italy already has the most virtuous supply chain in the world and sustainability is mainly boosted by textile companies. We are currently working on a blockchain procedure to improve traceability that is the only guarantee of Italian products’ authentic quality.”
Sustainability and digitalization are the main focus of Pitti Immagine, according to chief executive officer Raffaello Napoleone, who said the company is about to reveal a new, strategic appointment to boost its digitalization process. Among its activities, Pitti Immagine will debut in March a new trade show dedicated to books in Florence.
While sustainability, with a focus on interior design and retail spaces, will be at the center of “Think Green,” a space inside the Lyceum that will showcase a variety of eco products and forums, Pitti Uomo, in collaboration with Dust Magazine, will spotlight what formalwear is today with a special show, called “Otherwise Formal” and involving about 25 brands, staged inside the Fortezza da Basso.
Among the activities scheduled for the trade show, BasicNet’s outerwear label K-Way will organize a special event on Jan. 8; Closed will present a collection developed in collaboration with Nigel Cabourn; Sergio Rossi will make its debut at Pitti Uomo to launch its Sergio Rossi Uomo project; Lagerfeld will bring to Florence the “A Tribute to Karl: The White Shirt Project,” which was unveiled in Paris during the latest women’s fashion week, and Chiara Boni will make her debut in the men’s wear arena with a special capsule collection.
As reported, Brioni will mark its 75th year at the fair with a special event curated by Olivier Saillard that will present the brand’s fall 2020 collection through a special nod to its history. In addition, Chevignon is being relaunched on its 40th anniversary and will host a fashion show to introduce its new direction while celebrating its past. Woolrich, which will be 190 years old in 2020, will create a “multifaceted universe” to celebrate the winter season and its long heritage. The show will also mark the debut of the brand’s Arctic Capsule, a special collection based on the Arctic parka. Sergio Tacchini will host a retrospective of the brand and showcase the collection created by Dao-Yi Chow of Public School as its new global creative director.
Pitti Uomo’s guest designer this season will be Jil Sander, which will show its fall 2020 men’s collection on Jan. 8 at Santa Maria Novella’s Refectory. The following night, Telfar Clemens will host a special event for his gender-neutral collection and Stefano Pilati will show his Random Identities collection.