Pitti Uomo 93 opens on upbeat note for Italian menswear
The Pitti Uomo show kicked off on Tuesday in Florence, confirming its leadership among menswear events. Evidence of the benchmark men's fashion show's growing influence was the presence of the Italian Minister for Economic Development Carlo Calenda, whose pithy speech was warmly received at the ancient Florence mercantile exchange building, now entirely renovated and home to the local Chamber of Commerce.
Pitti Uomo 93 is a must among early-season events. Until Friday 12th January, it will host 1,244 exhibitors, of which 570 from outside Italy (45.8% of the total), and is expecting 36,000 visitors, including 24,000 buyers. Its programme is very busy and increasingly international, with the eagerly anticipated headline show by Brooks Brothers on Wednesday. For the occasion, the US label, celebrating this year its 200th anniversary, will receive the Pitti Immagine 2018 prize.
Mr Calenda underlined how much Italy owes to the textile and fashion industries, much more than to other industrial sectors, and how, in the last three years, the government has invested heavily to promote Italian style worldwide. In particular, by supporting leading industry events, such as Pitti Uomo itself, which benefits from grants worth nearly €2.5 million each year, but also by coordinating the efforts of all the Italian fashion industry's bodies and associations.
"This willingness to work in synergy, all together, has borne fruit, resulting in much greater cohesion. In Florence, for example, one of the notable outcomes was the creation of the Museum of Fashion," said the President of Florence's Chamber of Commerce, Leonardo Bassilichi.
Florence mayor Dario Nardella noted that the city has invested €3 billion in urban infrastructure, of which €80 million were allocated to the renovation of the Fortezza da Basso, the venue which every season hosts all of the Pitti Immagine shows. Nardella also promised that work for the tram lines, which have paralysed Florence for the last 4 years, will soon be over, saying that come the next Pitti Uomo "it will be possible to travel from the airport to the show in 15 minutes by tram."
Pitti Uomo 93 has therefore opened its doors with an upbeat mood, the more so as market forecasts at the start of 2018 are promising. According to a study by Sistema Moda Italia (the Italian fashion industry's employers association) published in parallel with the opening of Pitti Uomo, the Italian menswear sector is estimated to have grown by 2.1% in 2017, reaching a revenue of €9.18 billion.
As always, the sector was driven by exports (+3%, up to €5.9 billion), with a 3.8% growth of sales towards Europe and a 3.6% one outside the EU. Germany (+8%), China and South Korea (+17.1%) recorded the sharpest increases, while exports to the USA fell by 4.3%. "In 2018, the market is expected to grow even more, especially in major outlets such as China and Russia, which have slowed down in the last few years," said Claudio Marenzi, the President of show organiser Pitti Immagine.
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