Signs of confidence from the 9th Milano Unica

September 14, 2009 - Italy

The 9th Milano Unica, the Italian Textile Fair, promoted by the leading “Made in Italy” Textile Exhibitions (Ideacomo, Ideabiella, Moda in and Shirt Avenue), has come to an end bringing a sign of confidence for Italian and European exhibitors. Over the four Milanese exhibition days, there were 12,500 visiting companies, with a slight increase in foreign visitors over the February event. On the eve of the exhibition – and with -7% in exhibitors and the heavy stagnation of order logs and invoiced sales all companies in the industry experienced in the first part of 2009 - none expected such result even if – as customary - the September exhibition welcomes a larger number of visitors.

The economic survey conducted by the SMI Study Centre including a limited number of associated weavers but truly representing the overall scenario of the industry, highlighted a dramatic drop in Italian and foreign invoiced sales in the first quarter of 2009 with a variation of -32.6%. A similar decrease occurred in production volumes (-32.4%). As for purchase orders, the surveyed companies reported a reduction by -29.5% in the same quarter.

Exports of textiles on their side, decreased by 30.3% over the January-April period compared to the same period of last year with no major difference between European (-27.2%) and non-European (-34.2%) markets. It should be highlighted that the US market - and the epicenter of the world crises - became one of the major victim with a -53.3% in four months only.

The number of buyers who visited the stands of the 486 exhibitors, of which 382 from Italy and mainly from Lombardy, Piedmont, Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, gives evidence of the February 2009 trend, with an increase by 2.5% over the last February exhibition. The drop in the number of American and Japanese buyers compared with the February event was balanced by the attendance of China and Hong Kong clothing makers whose number increased even versus the September 2008 edition. There were also more buyers from the United States (+10%) Germany (+15%), Great Britain (+8%), the Russian Federation (+18%), Brazil (+20%), Canada (+11%) and Korea (+29%) than in February.

Once more, the 9th Milano Unica enjoyed the well-established collaboration with the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) and organizer of some of the visiting delegations including buyers and journalists from Japan, the US, England and Germany.

“It has been a great Milano Unica - stated Pier Luigi Loro Piana, President of Milano Unica and Ideabiella, the most prestigious International appointment dedicated to the presentation of the season’s best classic/evergreen textiles in the high-end menswear market -, not only for the successful media event achieved with the presence of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the wonderful On STAGE event with 10 international emerging stylists, but also for the rich and well-focused product supply offered by exhibitors. According to the opinion of leading Italian and international stylists and garment producers, quality, creativity and innovation incorporated in the textiles on display during this exhibition were examples of extraordinary excellence making Milano Unica an unmissable international appointment for the trade. We are furthermore encouraged by the commitment of Mayor Letizia Moratti and the President of the Lombardy Region Roberto Formigoni joining hands to promote qualified cultural initiatives for up-coming exhibitions with a view to making ever more Milano Unica an extraordinary events and not only in terms of business”.

This opinion is also shared by Silvio Albini, President of Shirt Avenue, the exhibition of classic and sports shirting fabrics, by Alberto Jelmini, President of Moda In, the exhibition mainly (but non only) dedicated to womenswear textiles, and by Beppe Pisani, President of Ideacomo, the exhibition of silk and highly silk-blended textiles. After having open-mindedly discussed with their own exhibitors, they all came to the basic conclusion that buyers and business relationships underway were very high in terms of quality starting from the textiles sampled which is the main thermometer to measure the success of an exhibition. “Despite we may not yet be out of the tunnel – everyone judged – we nevertheless caught a glimpse of a positive impact..

Massimo Mosiello, General Director of the exhibition: “As customary, each season figure comparison is based on homogeneous events. Nevertheless I believe that, given the tsunami occurred in 2008, which consequences had their worst impact in the first part of 2009, we should feel encouraged to change the way we approach parameters and interpretations. There has never been a crises affecting the world economy and, in particular, the textile industry such as that of the last 60 years. The growth in the number of companies that decided to exhibit yet cutting cost and reducing the number of their collaborators should be interpreted as the first and true sign of countertrend. This opinion is endorsed by almost all exhibitors that adds up to the moderate optimism reported by buyers who attended this exhibition. Once more, we collected precious recommendations and tips that we will take in due consideration for the next February 2010 event on stage again at Portello.