After a successful launch at the January show, the American contingent will return to Pitti Uomo this summer.
This story first appeared in the April 23, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In a deal cut between Liberty Fairs founder Sam Ben-Avraham and Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive officer of Pitti Immagine Srl, which stages the biannual men’s wear trade fair in Florence, a consortium of 20 U.S. brands showed at a special Born in the USA by Liberty Fairs section earlier this year. This time, 21 brands will be showcased at the Archivi 1 area within the Fortezza da Basso during the biannual men’s show, slated for June 16 to 19.
The first edition attracted 3,529 unique visitors and 7,986 total visits over four days, according to Liberty. Retailers represented 65 percent of the visitors; distributors, showrooms and agents represented 17 percent and press 5 percent. Among those who stopped by were American Rag Cie China, Armoury, Barneys New York and Barneys Japan, Carson Street Clothiers, Galeries Lafayette, Gentry, Holt Renfrew, Isetan, Nordstrom and Selfridges.
“We believe this partnership was successful for our brands because of the strength of the collective. Every time you venture into a new territory it’s highly beneficial to be part of a communal operation on the brand side and have some strength in numbers. The brands all had great contact with the buyers, of course, but even more so with meeting and acquiring distributors they never would have met otherwise,” said Ben-Avraham.
Among the brands that will be returning are Filson, Freenote, Knickerbocker Mfg. Co., MSL by Billy Reid, Red Wing and The Brooklyn Circus/BKc. New brands for this edition include 3 Sixteen, Ernest Alexander, Shwood, Slightly Alabama and The Hill-Side.
John Argento, the European head of marketing and communications for Shinola, said, “The concept was strong and Liberty did an excellent job in curating the brands on show and managing the environment. It was the perfect fit for us.”
Agostino Poletto, marketing director and deputy general manager for Pitti Immagine, called Born in the USA “an immediate success, both among the top buyers and the international press. It is above all a platform for some of the leading brands that were born and are still produced in the U.S. — collections ranging from the world of classic to sportswear — and representing one of the strongest trends of fashion research today, which focuses the spotlight on the origins of the product. At the next Pitti Uomo in June, we will continue to develop this collaboration and to strengthen the project by pushing the research even further. We believe that Born in the USA will have more and more appeal to buyers and international press.”