It is considered one of the leading Italian industries, thanks to its vocation for exports. Plus, it is the system with the highest added value in Europe: the Italian textile-fashion industry is a leader on a number of fronts, but still struggles to introduce and represent itself in the right way. This is how a book like “The State of Fashion” can make all the difference: “it is a way of raising awareness about who we are and where we are going – explains Claudio Marenzi, President of Confindustria Moda in the book’s preface – For a long time, fashion was exclusively seen in terms of glamour…. Our highly skilled hands, capable of designing the most beautiful garments and accessories around the world were always an afterthought, while the world envied us for what we were capable of doing, sometimes even imitating us”. Behind the clothing proposals seen on the runway, a pair of exquisite sandals, or a pair of eyeglasses, there is an entire supply chain of great value that has difficulty in presenting itself: it is journalist Paola Bottelli, in fact, who has attempted to tell this story with her contribution to the publication, “The unique value of the supply chain”, explaining above all to Millennials what a fashion back office is and does; what is behind a beautiful and well-made Made in Italy product, along with the “know-how” of our industry and artisans. She has also urged the system to open up a channel of communication with social media platforms that have the potential of becoming the greatest allies to fashion, by highlighting the unique and one-of-a-kind value of these hidden talents and abilities.
In a world where everything is faster and fast fashion takes the lead, the Italian fashion system should not chase after it, but rather try to highlight its own exceptional traits and features: tradition, craft workmanship, and good taste. This is what sociologist and essay writer Francesco Morace would like to see happen, as outlined in his speech, “High Resolution for the Italian System”: the theme over the next few years must become that of “real and perceived quality” against the “low resolution” dictated by the pervasiveness of the digital era that makes everything fast, easy to share, and accessible, but subject to the unpredictable whims and ever-changing desires of the current moment. Made in Italy must go beyond this: “High quality workmanship requires knowledge, patience, refinement, in-depth analyses, care and know-how”. At the same time, good taste, an innovative mind set, and quality, with the creativity typical of Italian manufacturing, must be guaranteed.
Italian fashion, a series of records
The fourth Italian industrial sector in terms of value (24.4 billion euros), second in terms of employment, and first on a European level for its added value that accounts for 34% of the total (equal to France, Spain, Germany, and the UK taken together): this is how the Italian textile-fashion sector positions itself on a national and European level. This is what emerged from the study conducted by Marco Fortis, Director and Vice President of the Fondazione Edison, entitled “The Textile, Fashion, and Accessory Industry in the National, European, and Global Economy” for “The State of Fashion”.
Characterised by a great vocation for exports, the sector continues along a path of constant growth, exceeding the milestone of 60 billion euros in 2017, with a trade surplus close to 28 billion euros. Typical of this sector is also its exports, which are mostly accounted for by the producers themselves (for 68% of the total): it is these very same companies that make the Italian textile-fashion industry a leader in the trade flows occurring within the EU and outside of the EU.
On a worldwide level, Italy is positioned among the top 5 global leaders for its positive trade balance with 372 products coming from the fashion system (out of a total of 1,004 products), for a trade surplus of around 34.7 billion euros. Among the segments, footwear is responsible for a surplus of 5.8 billion euros.
France is instead the first destination of Made in Italy fashion, accounting for a share equal to 10.1%, while outside of Europe, the USA, Far East, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates are the main buyers of Italian fashion.