“Fairs are the events which most reflect the market trends. Fashion weeks are spreading everywhere, and since Italian fashion fairs, especially womenswear, aren’t internationally orienteded, they’re likely to loose the possibility of acquiring new powerful foreign labels”. In those few words CEO Pitti Immagine Raffaello Napoleone, guest of the XII conference of the Cycle “I Professionisti della Moda” held on April 19th at University La Sapienza di Roma,
expresses the current situation of the italian fashion system, a bit too petrified on old italian brands in comparison with France, to give an example.
As Napoleone explained, in the last 20 years Milan has been favouring the Made In Italy, while Paris have been attracting many international brands, such as promising new designers from Belgium and Japan. That’s a considerable advantage, “a consummation devoutely to be wished”, which is bringing french fashion week and fairs to overcome the once leading italian ones, less frequent (twice a year instead of four) and less modern, counting not more than 700 brands instead of 2500/2800 (as a matter of fact, young succesful italian designer Albino has recently moved to Paris leaving Milan).
But that’s true for Women’s fashion: the most important menswear fair all over the world definitely remains Pitti Immagine Uomo, held in Florence on January and June (the next, Pitti Immagine Uomo 82, on 19-22nd June 2012, guest designer Carven), while catwalks are held in Milan. “Pitti is the only organization which is constantly in contacts with foreign buyers, every day for all the year”, states Napoleone, “as well as the only event taking care and hosting them all during fair period”. And to strengthen this connection distinguishing Pitti and Florence in modernity compared with Milan, Pitti Immagine has launched a new online platform in collaboration with Boston MIT: ePitti, the “online fair and international fashion showrooms” by Pitti Immagine and Fiera Digitale, where registered buyers and visitors are able to follow Pitti fair – and visit every of its 1.070 stands – even until five weeks after the event (considering that normally Pitti attracts 35.000 visitors and 10.000 buyers and that the online project is having great response, there’s no denying the fact that ePitti has a remarkable audience). The good news is that to work at ePitti 120 young people have been hired with indeterminate time contract.
But what qualities are required to enter the world of fashion fairs like Pitti? “Curiosity is essential”, explains Raffaello Napoleone. “Fashion is the only sector where a single person cares about the whole productive and distributive process, and one of the most creative too. In this job you have to be extraordinary curios about everything: from design to art, from music and cinema to photography. And, of course, languages are fundamental: you should speak fluently at least two, and be prepared to go and work in foreign countries like China, India and South America”. Napoleone repeats this concept more than once, since, as he himself says: “ Did you know that Brazil has a powerful growing production with high barriers for the import, and that Russia, India and Brazil itself are the three biggest fashion buyers contries all over the world, today?”.
RAFFAELLO NAPOLEONE INTERVIEW – VIDEO BY FRANCESCA BERTON
Video and article on http://www.seminarimodasapienza.com