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Upbeat vibe as Pitti Uomo begins

Exhibitors were in a positive mood at the start of Pitti Uomo in Florence, despite the tough trading climate on premium menswear.

However, many were focusing their expectations on seeing high numbers of visitors from the US and Far East, rather than the UK.

Aquascutum international wholesale manager Michael Whitby-Grubb said: "Many UK buyers are curbing their forward order budgets and relying too heavily on finding the seasonal winners at short order. But there are very few easy-to-identify trend winners on short order, especially in the premium market."

Robert Excell, managing director of directional brand agency The Gallery, believed many buyers were choosing Bread & Butter as their single international trade destination this season. "Too many are buying the same old brands that everyone else has. It's only by coming to places like Pitti that you find the new things to provide in-store excitement," he said.

At the relocated British Menswear Guild on the lower ground floor of Pitti's Padiglione Centrale, UK exhibitors were in high spirits about their new position, despite initial concerns.

Mark Powell, owner and designer of contemporary tailoring label Mark Powell, said: "The big Italian names from Zegna to Pal Zileri are just a stone's throw away, which means the position is great in terms of footfall."

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