Pitti Uomo is a seismograph of global market trends and lifestyles
Florence is the venue for the international fashion community’s rendezvous to discover new products, new sensitivities, new cultural influences
“We are very pleased at how business went at the Fortezza” says Agostino Poletto, General Manager of Pitti Immagine, “as well as around town, with the events and the quality of the many presentations. This was, first and foremost, down to the extraordinary work of the over 1,200 exhibitors at Pitti Uomo who brought to Florence the fruits of their constant research into materials, manufacturing techniques and clever stylistic innovation, alongside more refined communication and promotion strategies. This merit should be shared with our marketing curators who have discovered lots of new and interesting brands from all over the world and have built a broad, diversified and, in many ways, unique offering which was highly appreciated by the buyers. All the most influential boutiques, the big department stores, the high range e-commerce platforms were there. Having said this, there was a drop of around 10% in the total attendance compared to last January, but this was a physiological and expected drop, the bulk of which was mainly represented by the Italians, so no surprise. There were around 21,400 real buyers, of which more than 8,300 came from abroad, dimensions that only Pitti Uomo can boast on a worldwide level. On the other hand, if developed economies are showing weak growth, if China and Germany are slowing down too, if European – especially Italian – consumption is at a standstill, if social tensions are increasing and the global geopolitical scenario is on the boil, how can we think that none of this will become translated into greater caution on the part of buyers?”.
“It is true” comments Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine “that we had a difficult start this time. The international calendar forced us to open immediately after the Christmas vacation, at the very same time the sales- which are vital for the majority of retailers - were getting underway. But we recovered towards the end, also in purely numerical terms, and are very satisfied, as are the exhibitors. Next year we will move to the following week which will be a good thing for the entire system. But numbers are the cold facts which all quality fairs have to face with realism and without fear. Pitti Uomo is, above all, a high range men’s fashion fair and retailers are becoming concentrated in this area at an accelerated pace all over the world, not to mention the growing share of sales on quality online platforms. This means that there are fewer stores, fewer buyers, but the spending capacity of each individual commercial entity has greatly increased. For us Italians you just have to take a walk around the streets to realize how many stores have closed in recent years. The brands themselves are carrying out a process of selection, they are withdrawing from the retailers that cannot offer guarantees in terms of stability, service and care with regard to the type of offering they propose to consumers”.
“I understand that, for non-members of the trade, seeing a minus sign can result in the formulation of controversial opinions regarding the success or lack thereof of an event,” continues Napoleone, “and I also understand the certain preoccupation of the city’s economic operators who, by practice or by instinct, understandably look at the immediate revenue, but the value of a fair like Pitti Uomo needs to be assessed on the basis of broader and more enduring criteria: new export opportunities for the more dynamic brands, the impact of communication, the strategic guide of the promotional policies of an entire sector, the diffusion of innovation, the face-to-face debate between the various segments of the production chain and between buyers and companies, the importance of the cultural element. These are the factors that dictate the leadership of this fair and its role as a point of reference for the international fashion system, a reference that remains such during both calm and stormy weather”.
Here is the first ranking of the 20 most important markets at Pitti Uomo:
Germany, Japan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, France, Switzerland, Belgium, United States, Russia, South Korea, China, Austria, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, and China-Hong Kong.