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Milan Fashion Week fights back

This week saw a surprisingly upbeat Milan Fashion Week. The catwalks were as stunning and as well attended as ever and it was great to see that colour is still in style.

Even if the Italian economy is suffering from its own very harsh “rebalancing”, there was much-needed confirmation that Italy remains an important inspiration for fashion buyers, press and consumers especially from Russia and China – whose high-spending tourists are to be seen everywhere!

The Milan Fashion Week trade shows were also well attended. The new alignment of dates for MiMilano Prêt à Porter, Neozone, Touch!, Cloud 9 and White suits the buyers. So too does the shuttle between Fiera Milano, home to MiMilano and the other shows on Milan’s now trendy Via Tortona. There were a number of UK companies at the shows including Erickson Beamon, Lara Bohinc, Blank, Hancock 1843, Steve J and Yoni P, Martina Spetlova and Nigel Preston and they reported good business with Italian buyers (yes, they are still buying and paying if you approach the right ones!) but also from Russia, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the Middle East and Japan who come to Milan looking for something different from the Paris and New York offer. The Pitti Immagine shows have since confirmed increases of 7% from Japan, 39% from Russia and even 12% from the UK.

Last week, Milan’s future looked even brighter after an historic agreement was signed between Pitti Immagine, organisers of Neozone, Touch! and Cloud 9 and Fiera Milano, organisers of MiMilano Prêt à Porter. Under this agreement there will be even closer collaboration and possibly the prospect of a new show to add to Milan’s already high number of quality shows and showrooms. The full details have yet to emerge but this can only be good news for Milan and the rest of the world as Milan reasserts its position and offers designers a real alternative to Paris – if they want one.

Paul Alger, Director of International Affairs, UKFT

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