Italian fashion makes appeal to government

In full recovery, the Italian fashion industry hopes to continue to benefit from the support of pubic authorities. With the arrival of the new government led by the League and the M5S (Five Star Movement), many in the fashion industry are wondering whether “Made in Italy” will continue to garner the same amount of support as before.

“The whole of the sector has returned to the state it was in before the financial crisis with an estimated turnover for 2018 at €90 billion ($103 billion), which is similar to the 2008 total. This was possible thanks to the support of the government. If the new government does not give the industry the same level of attention, it would be devastating,” warned the President of the Chamber of Italian Fashion (CNMI), Carlo Capasa.

Carlo Capasa - FashionNetwork.com ph Dominique Muret

“I hope that the government will remain consistent and will pay just attention to fashion, a driving force behind the country’s economy which has proven its vitality in recent years. Faced with crisis, businesses responded with full-scale restructuring and a focus on innovation. It would be foolish to ignore the second largest industry in Italy,” said Capasa, President of the Camera della Moda, when announcing the schedule for Milan fashion week.

The fashion week will be held from September 18 to 24 and will feature 60 runway shows, 80 presentations, and 44 events.

“Government support is essential, especially because our sector is comprised mainly of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). Statistics are sometimes misleading and paint a picture that the fashion industry does not need help because everything is going well,” said Capasa’s predecessor, now Honorary President of the CNMI, Mario Boselli.

“Although large luxury groups are on the rise, this is not always the case with smaller businesses. When our SMEs go abroad, they encounter difficulties and it is not easy for them to bring buyers to Milan. Government aid is therefore very important. But we remain positive,” said Boselli.

As Capasa pointed out, “The top 50 Italian fashion businesses make up 40 percent of the Italian fashion industry’s revenue total.”

The sector is made up of over 67,000 companies and employs over 620,000 people. If eyewear, cosmetics, and jewellery are also counted as part of the Italian fashion industry, then the 2018 revenue total is over €89.7 billion with is a year on year increase of 2.8 percent.

For the textile and clothing sector alone, the 2018 revenue total reached €66.7 billion with a growth rate of three percent and sales rising particularly in the second quarter. According to the CNMI’s estimates, exports should grow by 4.3 percent to total €52.24 billion with a trade surplus of €18.7 billion.

“The new government took office in June. We should give it some time. For my part, I am optimistic. I am sure that the government will understand the value of our industry and will adequately support it,” said Massimiliano Bizzi, the founder of the White Milano research trade fair. White Milano will hold its next edition during fashion week with a number of events.

Over the past three years between 2016 and 2018, public authorities have granted an extraordinary total of €520 million to the Made in Italy movement and €135 million of this was for the fashion sector alone. The funding was put towards major fashion events and trade shows such as Pitti Uomo and Milan Fashion Week in order to promote the whole industry.

With the change of government, a new strategy is likely to be put in place. The first meeting between the Italian fashion industry and the undersecretary of the Ministry of Economic Development, Michele Geraci, is scheduled for September.

At the end of the month, Geraci is expected to unveil the growth and budget objectives. The budget itself is expected to be unveiled at the end of the year.

Translated by Isabelle Crossley

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