Feb 10, 2024
On Thursday February 9, the organisers of the six fashion trade shows that will be held at the Rho Fieramilano exhibition centre on February 18-22 staged a press conference to present the events. United by a common slogan, ‘Greatify’, the Micam, Mipel, TheOneMilano, Milano Fashion&Jewels, Lineapelle and Simac Tanning Tech trade shows will feature 2,951 exhibitors showcasing their latest innovations.
During the press conference, the trade shows’ representatives commented on some of the main issues currently characterising the fashion industry and its related sectors: generational handover, quiet luxury, sustainability, and the impact of social media.
Giovanna Ceolini, president of Italian footwear industry association Assocalzaturifici, underlined how both the association and Micam, the industry’s leading trade show, have always supported the younger generations: “In footwear, as in all fashion sectors, the shortage of manpower related to the ongoing generational handover can be a problem. Companies are taking the initiative, opening up to young people and introducing them to our industry.The young generations have little knowledge of our sector, although it is increasingly adopting technologies they are familiar with, as well as offering attractive remuneration prospects,” said Ceolini. “During the [Micam] show – featuring about 900 exhibitors, equally split between Italian and foreign companies – the Micam X stage will give young people already active in our sector the chance to relate their experiences, while international experts will discuss new trends and the challenges arising from new EU regulations. The show will again feature Future Retail, one of its most visited sections at the last edition, and a section dedicated to emerging designers, who will have the opportunity to present their products. [Micam] will also host an exhibition which, like a journey across time, will enable visitors to discover shoes from the past, the present and the future,” added Ceolini.
Ceolini was very clear about what Italian authorities ought to do to support footwear producers, a key sector within Italy’s fashion industry: “The watchword is ‘incentives’. Energy costs, inflation, international conflicts, as well as shipping and logistics issues, are causing severe difficulties to producers. They need financial incentives to be able to hire young people, while retaining those who can hand over their skills to them. Moreover, we need incentives to promote our products more widely abroad, and to encourage re-shoring, creating a platform that will allows SMEs, the strength but also, in some ways, the limitation of our country’s industrial sector, to grow.”
Norberto Albertalli, president of TheOneMilano outerwear show, talked about the increasing influence of the quiet luxury trend: “Given the widespread, generalised uncertainty, people are increasingly looking for high-quality, durable products. As the only international trade fair focused on the world of outerwear, quiet luxury has always been part of our DNA. Among this year’s novelties, we’ll introduce a section dedicated to vintage and recycled products, which are becoming increasingly popular, especially for leather and fur garments and among young people. We’ll demonstrate, for example, how an ‘old-fashioned’ fur coat can be transformed into a highly modern one. There are countless ways of doing so, with many different methods.”
Albertalli then emphasised how cooperation between the various Milanese fashion shows has been extremely beneficial to everyone involved, fostering significant synergies: “Producers too should follow this type of model, not just trade fairs,” he concluded.
Sustainability, a much debated and often misconstrued theme, was addressed by Fulvia Bacchi, CEO of Lineapelle, the leather event that will showcase some 1,200 exhibitors. “All the companies in our sector, especially tanneries, have been working on sustainability for the last 50 to 60 years, and are making it their main strength, backed by certifications,” said Bacchi.
“The government must support us in our ecological transition, because new regulations might come back to bite some companies in the future, especially small-sized ones. Lineapelle is the focus for a sector in which 60,000 companies worldwide are operating, with 2 million employees and an aggregate revenue of over €150 billion. Over the years, we’ve become increasingly international, thanks to the sessions we’ve held in London, Tokyo, China – where we’ll return shortly – and New York,” Bacchi added. “US market operators have asked us to add a new sector to the ones we cover, interior design. It will feature at the show’s Milanese edition in a specific section, in which five tanneries and design companies will present their prototypes. We’ve also started to collaborate with the Italian architects’ association,” she concluded.
The important role social media could play in connecting young people with Italian manufacturers was discussed by Filomena Sannino, exhibition manager at Milano Fashion&Jewels. The trade show is expecting some 600 exhibitors for its first session held in parallel with other fashion-related events. “Right from the start, we’ve communicated extensively via [social media], also because fashion enthusiasts are keen social media users. We’re tapping all the main media – Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn – and for this edition we’re also active on TikTok, of course adapting our message to each channel,” said Sannino. “About 45% of our exhibitors come from outside Italy, mainly from Europe. We aim to offer buyers something new, something they aren’t yet familiar with. Two sections within the show will focus on trends, one on contemporary jewellery, curated by Poli.design and featuring some 90 brands, and a second, more conceptual one offering tips for the next two years,” she added.
Claudia Sequi, president of Assopellettieri, the association of Italian leather producers, described the new features of the Mipel trade show, which will host approximately 200 leather industry exhibitors: “The show and its setting will be inspired by travel. We’ve recreated a small airport in the trend section, and for the first time we’ll include a specific Travel & Business section, in which 12 exhibitors, among them [Mipel] regulars like Bric’s and new entries like Tucano and Momo Design, will present their range of trolleys, suitcases and backpacks. The Showcase section, curated by Mirta, will be back with new, highly innovative exhibitors. We also want to make the show experience special for visitors, through entertainment initiatives that will put products centre-stage,” said Sequi.
She agreed with her colleagues that the cooperation between Milan’s fashion industry shows has promoted major synergies: “By working together, we’ve become even more attractive for buyers, who will be able to find all top Italian industry producers and suppliers in the same venue, on the same days. Mipel is expecting a significant influx of foreign buyers, even from distant markets such as Korea, Japan and Taiwan.”
Finally, Agostino Apolito, director of Simac Tanning Tech, the leading technology trade fair for the footwear, leather goods and tanning sectors, hosted in a special section within Lineapelle, underlined the importance of new technology, including AI, for Italian producers: “This is why we wanted to be part of this ‘big family’ of trade shows, as we await our September edition, in which we’ll celebrate Simac’s 50th anniversary with over 300 exhibitors. It’s essential for us to establish a dialogue with [leather] producers, to better understand their needs and develop the right machinery to meet them. Since this kind of machinery is difficult to move, we’ve used AI tools to create a virtual catalogue that simulates a real factory, which people can visit. In our opinion, new technologies and AI will help manufacturers produce more and, above all, better products,” said Apolito.
On February 18, visitors and buyers will be able to experience first-hand the many innovations and synergies offered by Milan’s six jointly held fashion industry shows.
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