New fashion fads
By Sun Yuanqing(China Daily)
Updated: 2017-02-17 07:37:22
Nefertiti in Ibiza, featuring embroidery and applique, is one of the three themes of the recent Ital-ian fabric show.[Photo provided to China Daily]
The recently concluded 24th edition of Milano Unica, the Italian Textiles and Accessories Trade Show, provides a hint about what to expect in the 2018 spring/summer collections. Sun Yuanqing reports.
Italy is well known for its luxury fashion brands, but to understand the phenomenon, one has to look at its fabric industry, which fuels the fashion powerhouses.
Meanwhile China is a big fan of Italian textiles. last year, China surpassed Germany to become the top market for Italian fabric, according to Sistema Moda Italia, the National Textiles and Fashion Association.
Made-in-Italy textiles recorded total sales of 7.86 billion euros ($8.34 billion) in 2016, a 0.6 percent decrease from 2015, due to the weak international markets. So, what does 2017 have in store for the Italian textile industry?
A glimpse of the future was on show at the 24th edition of Milano Unica, the Italian Textiles and Accessories Trade Show, which was held in Fiera Milano Rho from Feb 1-3.
A total of 427 exhibitors participated in the show - 365 Italian and European exhibitors, and 40 Japanese and 22 Korean ones.
At the show, the 2018 Spring/Summer collections were based on three themes: Nefertiti in Ibiza, Malevich in Sorrento and Mollino in Teheran. The collections were showcased in the Trend Area using multimedia.
The Nefertiti in Ibiza theme showcased embroidery and appliqu��, the Malevich in Sorrento section featured cotton and wool fabric with color blocks and graphics. And the Mollino in Teheran theme offered exotic and surreal jacquard designs.
A special session called Back to School had renowned British designer Paul Smith do a seminar on how "you can find inspiration in everything" for students from fashion schools.
In a section called Magazzini Aperti, seniors from 10 selected schools showcased their design projects using fabrics and accessories contributed by Milano Unica exhibitors.
In the Vintage Area, retro clothing and accessories offered a glimpse Italian fashion's heritage.
Visitors check the fabric samples displayed at Milano Unica.[Photo provided to China Daily]
This year, the event had an interactive app that allowed visitors to locate exhibitors easily.
It also featured MU 365, an interactive platform that allowed customers to get in touch with exhibitors.
Ercole Botto Poala, the president of Milano Unica, says that Chinese customers are more interested in quality and creativity as they want to combine Italian creativity and Chinese tastes to boost their sales.
However, the event does not plan to include Chinese exhibitors anytime soon since their products are similar to Italian ones, he says.
"It's not interesting for our customers to see the same things. We are looking for something different. And we find this in South Korea and Japan with their active wear fabric," says Botto Poala, who is also the CEO of Reda, an Italian wool fabric maker.
He says that the only things he can suggest to Chinese fab-ric makers is to be more crea-tive and to invest more in cutting pollution.
Meanwhile, the Reda brand is adopting a new way to target the market, drawing inspiration from art and music.
"We don't just want to sell fabric, we want to sell storytelling. I still sell fabric, but not just by talking about its composition like before. We talk about where it is from, the inspiration and its heritage. People now want experiences. They want to hear a story," Poala says.
Reda has been working with young designers in China like Xander Zhou and Hu Xinyu, to tap into the new creative forces in the country.
Separately, Liu Fuhan, the co-founder of Trebonair, a Chinese made-to-measure menswear brand, is also a Milano Unica regular.
Trebonair has worked with many Italian fabric makers like Loro Piana, Guabello and Reda.
Liu says Italian fabrics stand out for their classic style and wide range.
"They (the fabric makers) are also very accommodating when it comes to smaller orders," he adds.
While this edition of Milano Unica has seen a smaller number of Chinese visitors due to the Chinese New Year celebrations, the 11th edition of Milano Unica China, which will open in Shanghai in March, could see a better response.
The 25th edition of Milano Unica will be in July in Milan.