Optimistic mood marks the start of revamped Milano Unica show

"There are several firsts in this 25th edition of Milano Unica. It is the first time the show is being held in July instead of September, the first time it was inaugurated by Milan's mayor and the first time textile designers are present." These were the words with which the President of the Italian textile industry's benchmark show opened the proceedings on Tuesday. Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala, among other personalities, attended the opening of the event, which runs until 13th July at the Rho Milano Fiera exhibition centre.


The majority of visitors appreciated the show's new dates - Milano Unica ph Erdna

A palpable buzz was perceivable in the aisles, right from the very first day of this event dedicated to the winter 2018-19 collections. Having brought its dates forward by two months, taking a slot in the season's calendar well ahead of its French competitor Première Vision, Milano Unica has not failed to arouse interest.

The financial support granted by the Italian government to the national textile and apparel industry allowed Milano Unica to invite more than one hundred professionals from the media and fashion world this season. The Russian delegation alone consisted of 37 visitors.

"For those like me who create collections, bringing the date forward to July is crucial. It wasn't an easy decision, but certainly a winning one," said the President of SMI, the Italian fashion industry's confederation, who also runs outerwear label Herno.

"We were among those who pushed for a change in dates, because it was something the market required. Today, suppliers are asked to be more and more flexible. It is no longer possible to keep the same pace as before," added Paolo Zegna, from Ermenegildo Zegna, the renowned textile group specialised in menswear.

"I found the show quite busy. The fact that it is being held two months before Première Vision is a big plus, because there are more exhibitors. Many textile manufacturers who didn't come to Milano Unica in the past, because its dates were very close to those of the French show, have returned to Milan this season," said Elena Marradi from Schmid, a manufacturer of fabrics for footwear and handbags.


The Italian show was busy with visitors on its first day - Milano Unica ph Erdna

Yet, some of the exhibitors could not manage to put together and present a full collection in such a short time, as some disappointed visitors found out. Among them, Anna Francesca Ceccon, a designer for upmarket label Atelier Moi Multiple, who also works for La Perla.

"For me, the date change is great. The problem is that fabric manufacturers weren't ready for it. They have come here with only half of their collections. They will be ready for Première Vision! While I have to deliver my own collection by the end of the month," she said.

Cao Yunfeng, in charge of fabric sourcing for Chinese label JNBY, was of the same opinion. "It is a good thing that Milano Unica has set itself apart from Première Vision. But not all of the fabric manufacturers present were ready," he underlined.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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