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Positive start to Pitti despite travel chaos

The 89th edition of menswear trade show Pitti Uomo in Florence got off to a busy start on Tuesday, despite flight delays caused by adverse weather conditions at the Italian city’s airport.

Piiti January 2016

Piiti January 2016

Exhibitors at busy stands were positive about the autumn 16 season and confident that consumers will invest in well-constructed, technically-advanced pieces.

More than 1,200 brands filled the 60,000 sq ft exhibition space at the Fortezza da Basso, 44% of which were international.

Buyers from, Selfridges, Flannels and Cruise were among those spotted on the first day of the show, which runs from January 12-15.

However, some visitors were held up after strong winds made landing on the short runway at Florence impossible, and flights were diverted to nearby airports in Pisa and Bologna.

“Because of that, there hasn’t been a great international presence today (January 12), although it’s been incredibly good for the domestic [Italian] market,” said Richard Walshe, head of sales at Fred Perry. “Wednesday will be an important day.”

Others pointed out that some buyers stayed in London for Burberry’s autumn 16 show at London Collections Men on Monday before flying out to Florence, leading to a typically slower first day.

However, most agreed that the show was busy enough on Tuesday and the overall mood was positive.

Ilias Nathanail, head of business development at Hardy Amies, said: “There is always an eclectic mix of characters at Pitti, it’s always a wonderful show. It’s the first in the season so everyone’s in a great mood and it’s great to reconnect. It’s always the home of sartorial elegance.”

Dan Griffiths, founder and director of young fashion agency Red Alert, showing brands including Low Brand and Black Mountain, added: “I think people had a good Christmas. Sales seem to have carried through from Black Friday, so there is a positive mood in the market.

“There is a lot of new contemporary sportswear around at the moment and men are trading up and investing in quality pieces. For example we’re seeing spikes in sales on the more expensive items in the range.”

Thomas Cerbeland, international director at rugby-inspired lifestyle brand Eden Park, said: “We are really pleased with the show and we have had a really good reaction from buyers.

“I think it’s important to have a mix of showroom sales and presence at trade shows. We exhibit at Moda [in Birmingham between February 21-23] too, which for us is really about selling, whereas Pitti is really more about brand positioning.”

John Illingworth, head of menswear buying for, said: “I haven’t been to Pitti for a few years, as we’ve been sending other people. It feels fresher and more contemporary now. There is less classic Italian stuff.”

He and his colleague Katie Travis, assistant buyer for smart brands, noted a lot of new details coming through, such as velcro-off badges, bouclé fluffy knitwear on overcoats – and indeed lots of overcoats in general, often in long lengths down to the ankle.

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