Ian Wright gives you the lowdown from the Italian fashion capital’s premier tradeshow.
“I didn’t expect to see Drapers here” said Nigel Cabourn as I popped in to look at his debut womenswear collection. This turned out to be a recurring theme throughout my trip to White Milano, the premium tradeshow taking place alongside Milan Men’s Fashion Week - British buyers were pretty thin on the ground in Milan, and when I did find some they were in the bar at the Principe post catwalk shows rather than in amongst the stands at White.
So, if like a lot of buyers you’ve never been, here’s what to expect. It’s a medium sized unisex show that boasts stronger menswear than womenswear on the whole and also includes footwear and accessories. So, depending on what sectors and categories your store covers, it’s more than manageable in a day and if you want to look at everything then set aside two. White is for the most part a premium show but for the prices you are getting quality - apart from Cabourn who was keeping the British end up, it was overwhelming how important it was for brands established and new, young and old to have all their production in Italy and source all their fabrics, yarns and leathers from their home country. By the time I’d spent my first few hours at the show the words “Made in Italy” were ringing in my ears.
There’s a good mix of brands too - directional labels sit side by side classic names quite comfortably. That said, there is a not insignificant amount of brands really only suited to the Italian market - if you’re in the market for loud shiny down-filled jackets and enough riffs on a blue shirt to last a lifetime you’ll be in luck. But look beyond them and there is loads to get your teeth into, and the brand list contains plenty of names little known in the UK, handy for the ever-elusive point of difference. Read up on the best of them here.
Other things to note: the atmosphere is relaxed, the show spacious and the lighting moody (read a touch dark if I’m being honest). It’s well laid out with a clear path around the sections, the only slight confusion coming when trying to find the Basement area that houses some of the more boundary-pushing names on the White line-up. Turned out it was downstairs. Catering (well it IS important to me) was good while the art projects and quality fixtures and fittings around the space enhanced the premium feel of the show.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to join all those Italian and Japanese buyers and head to Milan - it’ll be all White on the night…
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