The hot sun and the bustling crowds both came out on Wednesday, the second day of Pitti Immagine Uomo in Florence.
After Tuesday’s slow start, the aisles and open spaces of the Fortezza da Basso were crowded with buyers and other interested parties from the international world of menswear.
Among the leading UK and Irish buyers in the fair were Neil Prosser of Flannels, Richard Clews of Ashworth & Bird (formerly the Collections Group), Guy Hudson of Lynx, Eddie Prendergast from Present, Cyril Williams and the team from Van Mildert, Julian and Rhona Blades of Jules B, Keith McNichol of Richmond Classics, Louis Copeland from Dublin, and Ravi Grewal from Stuarts in Shepherds Bush.
“Pitti is the best menswear show in the world and that’s why we exhibit here. You can reach a global audience at the right level,” said Jos van Tilburg, founder and CEO of G-Star, which was launching its Raw from the Oceans collaboration with rapper Pharrell Williams. This uses yarns developed from recycled plastic bottles lifted from the seas for a premium casualwear collection; the Florence event was the first time it had been seen.
Although Italians again dominated the attendance, more British and international buyers, notably Chinese, were in evidence. Confirming the resurgent interest in Pitti Uomo at the expense of its northern European rival Bread&Butter Berlin, UK buyers not seen for several seasons in Florence were spotted. Among them were Jeremy and Joanna Clayton, owners of the Drapers Award-winning Javelin casualwear stores in Suffolk. “I haven’t been to Pitti for about 10 years, but I am bored with Berlin and wanted to try something different,” Jeremy told Drapers. “There are several brands I already deal with here, such as Fred Perry and Barbour, but I didn’t find anything new this time. I did get an idea of where everything is at the fair – it’s a big event to get around – so I will be coming back in January and will know the areas to concentrate on.”
Among the 1100 or so brands on show, most categories of menswear and men’s accessories are covered. After two days at the event, footwear consultant Richard Wharton summed up well the enduring appeal of Pitti Uomo for buyers and designers. “As usual, there was loads of stuff that I expected, namely espadrilles, dandy slippers and flat-bed sandals, but I always leave here feeling inspired and ready for a new season.”
Despite Drapers’ suggestion in yesterday’s report that the show might benefit from dropping to a three-day schedule, Pitti’s director-general Raffaello Napoleone was adamant that it would continue with its Tuesday-Friday arrangement, which leads on into Milan’s fashion week. “We ask our exhibitors and they tell us they need four days to satisfy all their customers’ needs,” he told Drapers.