MILAN — As Pitti Uomo readies its 103rd edition from Jan. 10 to 13 with more exhibitors, square feet and likely more attendees, the Italian menswear sector is on a slow but steady growth trajectory.
According to preliminary data provided by Confindustria Moda, in the first seven months of 2022 the sector generated 4.1 billion euros in export, a 6 percent uptick compared to the same period in 2021.
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The U.S. largely contributed to the positive performance, with exports to the country skyrocketing 46.7 percent to 390 million euros, while China decreased its import of Italian men’s fashion goods by 12.6 percent in the seven months to July 31.
Claudio Marenzi, president of Pitti Immagine, optimistically noted that “there are clouds ahead, but our sector is pressing on.” He mentioned the ongoing supply chain hiccups, increased energy costs and geopolitical instability denting consumer confidence.
The latter, echoed Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive officer of Pitti Imagine, is pushing fashion companies to revisit their plans last minute, weighing on the supply chain.
The same hurried attitude is reflected in attendance confirmations, although Napoleone said that the men’s trade fair already counts 759 confirmed brands, 40 percent of which are hailing from abroad, versus 680 participating companies last June.
This will allow the trade show operator to expand its surface at the Fortezza da Basso, reopening areas that were left untapped in the most recent editions. On a separate note, the Florence location is expected to undergo renovations poised to start somewhen between 2023 and 2024.
“It’s going to be a vigorous edition,” Napoleone offered. “There is no other European trade show boasting our curation and known to wholesalers globally as a point of reference for their buying appointments,” he added.
They include the Super Styling research-driven area welcoming 180 brands and an enhanced S|Style section dedicated to sustainable brands; a stronger international footprint in the Futuro Maschile area, and the return of the I Go Out section dedicated to outerwear companies, with a focus on performance- and sportswear.
In addition to continuing its spotlight of North European brands via the Scandinavian Manifesto display, Pitti Uomo will put an emphasis on Japan this season, installing the J Quality Factory Brand Project, a showcase of J Quality-approved manufacturers from the country under the design direction of Postelegant’s Yaya Nakata and the Japan Leather Project, and a display of six accessories labels selected by Jila, or Japan Leather and Leather Goods Association.
Other brands mounting displays in Florence include Pierre-Louis Mascia, celebrating its 15-year partnership with manufacturer Achille Pinto with an installation and event on Jan. 11 at Palazzo Antinori.
A newcomer at the trade show, British artist and designer Luke Edward Hall will mount a dedicated installation inside the Sala delle Nazioni for his Chateau Orlando fashion brand, introduced in 2021 in partnership with Milan-based strategic consulting firm Wemanage.
Mindful of evolving trends and business opportunities, Pitti Uomo is introducing for the first time two new sections. Dubbed The Sign and Pittipets, they are dedicated to design objects and petwear, respectively.