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While the global economy remains challenging and high-end Italian producers continue to face big obstacles, organizers of Micam are still expecting a brighter mood at this week’s show.
Micam will kick off tomorrow at the Fiera Milano Rho fairgrounds, with 1,597 exhibitors, including 590 companies from outside Italy.
“Micam and Milan are very important to the footwear business. Despite the crisis, the show is holding up pretty well and is becoming stronger [for international players],” said Fabio Aromatici, GM of ANCI, the Italian footwear manufacturers’ association, which runs Micam. He cited a growing presence from countries such as Argentina, the U.K. and Portugal this time around.
At home, however, Italian producers continue to struggle, and the economic downturn exacerbated their woes in 2009.
“We’ve lost about a third of our export to the States,” said Aromatici. “The economy hit the high-end market the most, so [upscale Italian names] are being impacted the most.”
That being said, ANCI is working to highlight the positive developments in the market. Micam will recognize New York-based Bergdorf Goodman with the “best international buyer” award during the trade show’s opening night gala on Tuesday.
The ANCI Creative Award will also be handed out for the third time. This season, the group solicited submissions from digital artists, who have submitted 3-D images showcasing Italian footwear designs. Twenty selected works will be on display in a special gallery on site, and the winner’s work will be featured in a special 3-D film.
Here, Aromatici discusses the state of the Italian market and this week’s show.
FN: After a tough 2009, what is your outlook for the Italian industry in 2010?
FA: We think we will have an increase in sales. We are looking mostly to Europe, to places such as Germany, France, Spain and the U.K. Many of our companies have used the last year and a half to work hard on investments in research and development and invest in new technology ... to become more competitive.
FN: What is ANCI doing to support Italian companies during the difficult economy?
FA: A couple of years ago, we started pulling together trend resources to help manufacturers interpret the mood of buyers and determine how fashion is evolving. The companies have done their homework and are finding niches.
FN: How are buyers feeling heading into fall ’10?
FA: People want to put the crisis behind them. We [are starting to see] upward movement from retailers. You will definitely see a more positive vibe ... although [people are not expecting] a boom.
FN: How are you promoting Micam’s connection to the city of Milan?
FA: We are trying to open up the doors of Milan to Micam attendees and bring more of the action downtown. We will have more of a presence in hotels, with visual Internet presentations about the fair.