Italian Fashion Logs Best-performing Year to Date as Milan Fashion Week Draws Near

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MILAN — As Milan Fashion Week draws nearer, the Italian fashion industry has left the quagmire caused by the COVID-19 pandemic behind, logging revenues of 83.3 billion euros in 2021 and on track to jump 10.5 percent this year to 92 billion euros, according to preliminary projections, according to a study from Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. It is the industry’s best performance in 20 years.

Unveiling the full schedule of Milan Fashion Week, which runs Sept. 20 to 26 and features more than 60 shows, the majority of which are physical, Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, touted the industry’s resilience.

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“The first half of the year was particularly brilliant and although we expect energy costs to weigh in on the top and bottom lines, growth for the full year would still be remarkable,” he said.

In the first half of 2022, sales of the country’s fashion industry increased 25 percent, in line with growth already registered in the first half of 2021 following the post-COVID-19 rebound. Sales advancement in the first half of the year was partially due to increased retail prices, a result of new energy and raw materials costs. On a comparable basis, revenues in the first half jumped 18 percent, reaching pre-2008 levels.

Asked to comment on the risks presented by energy supply snafus, Capasa reiterated the group’s full support for any measures the government may take to offer controlled energy prices for companies at the top of the fashion supply chain. “Price increases,” he said, “are weighing on the survival and productivity of the very core of the Made in Italy pipeline.”

Acknowledging consumer confidence was dented by geopolitical instability and the macroeconomic headwinds, Capasa said the worst case, which is unlikely, would be that sales are flat in the second half of 2022, and then the industry would still post a growth of 11.8 percent for the full year.

Exports increased 21.9 percent in the first five months of 2022 to 25.6 billion euros, with the U.S. and South Korea logging exceptional increases of 59.7 percent and 34 percent, respectively. Post-Brexit U.K. posted a 22.3 percent growth versus the first half of 2021.

These figures are above the 17.3 percent growth exports of Italian products across categories registered in the same period.

As reported, Milan Fashion Week will see the debut of new creative heads at storied fashion houses, including Marco De Vincenzo at Etro, Maximilian Davis at Salvatore Ferragamo and Rhuigi Villaseñor at Bally. Andrea Incontri has also planned his first show as the newly installed creative director of Benetton.

Capasa said the calendar reflects all the values promoted by the fashion governing body, such as sustainability, inclusivity and support to young talents.

To this end, a number of initiatives have been planned to support new names, including the “A Global Movement to Uplift Underrepresented Designers” project spotlighting four new talents; the “Hope Fashion Ukraine” cultural initiative highlighting the resilience of 13 Ukrainian designers, and the Maksymyuk event spotlighting female-led Ukrainian fashion brands.

The Camera della Moda also reprised its link with the Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion Collective, also known as We Are Made in Italy, or WAMI collective, which alongside a return to the catwalk for collective cofounder Stella Jean, will showcase the fashion projects of Villain, Fatra, Phan Dang Hoang, Made for a Woman and Runway Reinvented.

In order to further boost visibility for the young names and the established houses, Camera della Moda has renewed its links with Chinese streaming partner Tencent Video and with Asahi Shimbun for the Japanese market. Capasa said a small representation of the Chinese press was invited to attend Milan Fashion Week, as part of a joint effort with the Italian Trade Agency to promote the country’s fashion week abroad.

The fashion institution has also forged ties with TikTok, its entertainment partner, to promote Milan Fashion Week on the Gen Z-friendly social media platform.

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