Pitti Uomo opens 90th edition with a show of optimism
The Pitti Uomo menswear show kicked off on Tuesday in Florence, enjoying quite a turnout despite the rainy, unsettled weather, which felt rather like the current economic climate.
The benchmark menswear show is hosting 1,222 brands from about thirty countries, with 539 brands, i.e. 44.1% or nearly half of them, coming from outside of Italy. It is heralded as a record edition, featuring major fashion names such as Karl Lagerfeld and Raf Simons, to mention just some of the best-known among them.
"We have reached the 90th edition, over the course of 45 years, undoubtedly one of the longest traditions among trade shows. When we launched Pitti Uomo in 1972, it featured 43 exhibitors and 526 buyers, 98 of them from abroad. This year we are expecting 30,000 visitors, including 20,000 buyers, 41% of the latter coming from overseas," stated Gaetano Marzotto, President of the Florentine show's organiser Pitti Immagine, at the opening ceremony.
"Competition among the world's fashion capitals is stronger and stronger, something that must drive us to keep improving," warned Claudio Marenzi, the President of SMI, the employer organisation of Italy's fashion and textile manufacturers.
The revenue of the Italian men's fashion industry in 2015 turned out to be less remarkable than estimated, enjoying a 1.4% growth compared to a 3% expectation, and reaching €8.9 billion.
"Not to mention that our balance of trade is down €1.6 billion," also noted Claudio Marenzi. He specifically pointed the finger to the plummeting Russian market, which caused Italian exports to fall by 34% last year.
"The year 2016 will be troubled, and not for Italy alone. There is a huge uncertainty about the future, hence the proliferation of populist movements, the equivalent of a denial of modernity," added the Italian Minister for Industry and Economic Development, Carlo Calenda.
"We must reject this outlook through innovation, by implementing coherent strategies and continuing to invest in a targeted manner. Notably on the American market, on America's heartland and also Canada," continued Calenda.
"We must put an end to ragtag events! We cannot afford to force buyers to come to Italy 25 times in a year, but once or twice at the most. This is why in 2017 we will finally introduce an integrated system of fashion shows and events, linking together all the players in the textile and apparel industry," he promised.
"We cannot rest on our laurels. We must innovate constantly, in order to be ready to face an increasingly difficult and variable international competition. Pitti Uomo represents the excellence of Italian manufacturing and style, and every season it must offer new content and projects," he concluded.
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