When the going gets tough the tough get going. Despite the numbers, which reveal that the Italian fashion industry will end 2012 in the red, Italian companies proved creative. This was noticeable both in Fortezza da Basso and in the city during the men's fashion trade fair Pitti Uomo. Buyers were not put off by the sweltering heat. Of the approximately 18,000 buyers, 7500 came from abroad (+2 percent, compared with -12 percent Italian buyers): Germany was in the lead, followed by Japan, Spain, the UK, France, the US, China and Korea, the Netherlands, Russia and Turkey.
"This is a difficult time for Italy, particularly for consumer spending. Independent retail sales will always provide a pillar of support for the system, but with fewer stores; in any case, they will be more structured, with more retail space and a more specific offering," says Raffaelo Napoleone, CEO of Immagine.
It is a very different picture than the one painted by the flowery, colourful collections and lively fashion shows presented by the fashion labels. Pitti succeeded in projecting a positive sentiment. During the fashion show, Valentino CEO Stefano Sassi said that the possibility of selling the brand is 'current and open'. Carven presented a light-hearted spring/summer 2013 fashion show. Guillaume Henry chose a festive scenario that was inspired by a waiter race - well-known in France - as a backdrop.
Japan sets the trend
On the trade floor, the labels focussed on new lines and innovative materials. Many designers have begun designing cycling wear. Barbisio, the brand belonging milliner Cappellificio Cervo, has chosen to focus on the East, particularly on Asia. The label's hats are sold through Barneys Japan, Tomorrow Land, United Arrows and Marubeni Japan. "Did you see those Japanese, dressed in a pair of bermudas and a jacket. In a few seasons we'll be dressing like that in Italy," says Giorgio Borrione, Barbisio's CEO. Japan was already setting trends at fashion trade fair Pitti with brands like To&Co, a shoe label that combines made in Italy from Marche with designs from the Land of the Rising Sun. Also present at the Milanese trade fair was White: Cat's by Tsumori Chisato, a designer from Saitama who used to work with Issey Miyake and struck out on her own in 1990.
Made in Sicily on the Dolce & Gabbana catwalk. For its spring/summer 2012 fashion show the brand had boys from Sicily walk the runway. The Milanese fashion shows were more sober than in Florence, with the long awaited return of Jil Sander, who stayed true to her famously sober and linear designs. Prada's designs were inspired by sport, with baggy crew-neckT-shirts in contrasting colors and silk K-way's by Bottega Veneta.
The numbers: in the textile, apparel, leather, leather goods and footwear macro sector, the fiscal year 2010 closed with a turnover of 63.8 billion euros, an increase of 6 percent, driven by export which grew 14.1 percent to 42.6 billion euros. Following the adversity of 2010, the increase in revenues in 2011 was the result of rising prices of natural resources, and not of a rise in production, which actually dipped by 6.6 percent. A further drop of 10 percent is expected in 2012 (which started off the year with a decrease in revenues of 3.2 percent). The Italian industry association Camera della mode italiana has noted a growth in export of 5 percent, but export for the whole of 2012 is expected to decrease (-3.1 percent).
From our correspondent
Foto 1: Prada spring/summer 2013
Foto 2: Carven at Pitti Uomo