Pitti Uomo more international with a stronger role for women’s fashion
Preparations for the 84th edition of Pitti Uomo in Florence, to be held June 18 to 21, are in full swing. Boasting a program packed with innovations and special events, this not-to-be-missed event for men’s fashion is developing an increasingly international profile. “We expect between 1,010 and 1,020 companies to exhibit their menswear collections for spring/summer 2014.” Some 370 of them, or 37%, come from 30 foreign countries,” said Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine, the company that operates the show.
More than ever, the show organizers are pursuing their strategy strongly focused on foreign buyers. The previous summer edition of Pitti Uomo in June 2012 attracted 17,800 buyers, including 7,400 from abroad or 41% of total attendees. “There are almost one billion consumers in the world, including 180 million very rich who love Made in Italy. The challenge is to bring them to our products. To that end, we need to be present in the major luxury shopping centers worldwide. This is what the large brands are doing — 80% of their revenue now comes from their own direct retail. The role of Pitti is to help SMEs that manufacture quality products at a fair price, and be their bridge to international buyers,” said Gaetano Marzotto, president of Pitti Immagine.
Exports — the Italian clothing’s growth indicator — were at 26.6 billion euros, posting a decline of 0.8%. Sales to Italy’s two main European markets suffered a deep dip, France dropping -4.4% and Germany down -7%. Such a context explains Pitti Uomo’s emphasis on an international profile. One of its newest standouts under this topic is the innovative partnership set up with Isetan Shinjuku Tokyo that will repeat every season. Starting this summer from June 26 to July 16, the prestigious Japanese department store will debut a special men’s fashion event. The store’s clientele will have the exclusive opportunity to place pre-orders on one hundred brands from the Pitti trade fair selected by Isetan buyers.
And apropos internationalization, the U.S. department store Saks Fifth Avenue has chosen Pitti Uomo for the launch of its first in-house men’s brand, Saksfifthavenue, made entirely in Italy. Then there is the project by Kokka (Korea Creative Content Agency), which will present a selection of Korean brands in Florence. In the same spirit, designers invited as guests of honor to the event are again, more foreign talent — Japanese Junichi Abe with his label Kolor, whose runway show is June 20 at Pitti Uomo; and Croatian Damir Doma, whose catwalk is scheduled for June 19 and is the guest of honor at Pitti W, the event showcasing the women’s pre-collections.
The big news for the next Pitti is in fact Pitti W, which will make its debut for the first time in June on the fair grounds of Pitti Uomo at the Fortezza da Basso. Previously, the event was located in the “Dogana” building, an adjacent location but separate and autonomous from the menswear trade show. The distance to the satellite event discouraged many buyers from making the extra trip to Pitti W, so the show organizer is now trying for greater synergy. With the launch of Super last September in Milan, Pitti Immagine’s new women’s fashion trade show, the organizer is also trying to strengthen its position in this segment, especially since its menswear fair already offers a number of mixed or unisex collections in the show’s sports sections.
By reorganizing their pavilions on a total floor area of 50,000 square meters, the organizers have managed to position Pitti W and its 70 collections next to the “Arena Strozzi” in a strategic thoroughfare, near the central pavilion and the show’s strongest designer sections such as Futuro Maschile, Touch! and Altro Uomo. “The idea is to strengthen this space devoted to women with more innovative collections. We are also creating a link between Milan and Florence to keep better tabs on the movements of our buyers and women's or mixed fashion retailers,” said Agostino Poletto, deputy general manager of Pitti Immagine.
Turkey is the national guest of honor at Pitti Uomo and Pitti W, in collaboration with ITKIB (Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporter Associations). A special area has been set up in the “Sala della Scherma” to present the collections of Niyazi Erdogan, Hatice Gökçe Emre Erdemoğlu, Zeynep Tosun, Aslı Filinta, Elif Cığızoğlu and Deniz Kaprol. Other Turkish brands exhibiting at the show include LTB, Awa, Hatem Sayki, Kigili and Ramsey.
And to energize the event this year, the organizers have chosen two wheels as their leitmotif, a symbol of speed and freedom. And the slogan — Pitti Vroom Vroom.
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