MILAN — Italian men’s fashion is on the rise, giving a boost of confidence to both exhibitors and buyers at the upcoming edition of Pitti Uomo, which will run from Jan. 11 to 13.
As highlighted by Pitti Immagine president Claudio Marenzi during the seasonal press conference to introduce the schedule of the event, in the first seven months of 2021 exports of Italian men’s fashion jumped 16.4 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, when the pandemic scuppered the entire fashion sector.
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According to data provided by Sistema Moda Italia, the growth was tangible across regions, with exports to European countries increasing 25.4 percent and those to the extra-EU area rising 9.9 percent, the latter driven especially by Asian countries, including China, up 81.3 percent, and South Korea with a 37.1 percent increase. The U.S. registered a 5.6 percent uptick. In the European area, Germany and France showed outstanding performances, while post-Brexit U.K. fell 27.7 percent.
According to Marenzi, fashion players “should expect and get accustomed to a schizophrenic market in 2022, too, with upticks and fallouts due to COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns,” he said. “I’m looking forward to a normalization in 2023.”
A sign of hope for the country’s fashion system, the January edition of Pitti Uomo, held in conjunction with the Pitti Bimbo and Pitti Filati fairs, dedicated to children’s wear and yarn makers, respectively, will attract attendees from across the globe, except from Asia, mostly due to travel restrictions. Commenting on the outstanding performances of men’s fashion in China, Marenzi noted that “consumers are buying locally and it’s yet to be seen whether and how this will impact European retail.”
The fair will draw some 600 exhibitors, as reported, building on the success of the June edition, according to Pitti Immagine’s chief executive officer Raffaello Napoleone. “We’re not discouraged and we’re looking at the upcoming event with optimism,” he said.
The upbeat sentiment were echoed by Carlo Capasa, president of the Italian fashion chamber. “I want to congratulate the Pitti team because it’s no easy task to mount and sustain such a great men’s exhibition,” he said. “Let’s not forget New York and London were unable to preserve their men’s showcases.”
Pitti Uomo’s usual mix of established and up-and-coming names will return for the January event, with several brands’ initiatives animating both the Fortezza da Basso fairgrounds and the city of Florence.
Among them, formalwear brand Caruso will host a jazz night to unveil its fall 2022 collection on Jan. 11; Kiton will mount a special installation at the Fortezza highlighting its experimental label KNT; Lardini will unveil a special fall 2022 capsule collection showcased inside the fairground’s Wisteria Garden; Spanish sustainable brand Ecoalf will promote its Ecoalf 1.0 premium collection; shoemaker Premiata will make its foray into apparel, while Paul & Shark will exhibit its latest capsule collection with White Mountaineering.
Other brands will have celebratory events, including B Corp-approved outerwear specialist Save the Duck, which will mark its 10th year in business. U.S. company Filson will mark its 125th anniversary and celebrate a recent deal with WP Lavori in Corso, which scooped up the distribution license of the brand for the European market.
The show will be organized across three main areas called Dynamic Attitude, Superstyling and Fantastic Classic. The latter will include brands in the Futuro Maschile section, which will relocate to the upper level in an area intended to highlight the brands’ mix of contemporary men’s wear. Mindful of the strong sustainable fashion trend, the Superstyling section will feature a selection of green labels called Sustainable Style, first introduced at the onset of the pandemic.
As reported, Ann Demeulemeester will be the guest designer of Pitti’s January edition and will host a special event on Jan. 12 at former railway plant Stazione Leopolda — which was recently given the ISO 20121 green certification — intended to celebrate the designer brand’s 40-year heritage. The Antwerp, Belgium-based company was acquired by Italian retailer Claudio Antonioli last year.
For those unable to attend Pitti in person, the show will continue to offer its virtual Pitti Connect option, which has grown its reach to more than 130,000 users last June.