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Comment: Sustainability dominates at a typically upbeat Pitti Uomo

Pitti uomo spring 19 overview

Menswear trade show Pitti Uomo gets the spring 19 buying season off to a positive start 

Despite uncertainties on the high street and an acknowledgment that the menswear market is tough, Pitti Uomo’s spring 19 edition was a positive start to the buying season at what is always a buzzy and upbeat show.

Sustainability emerged as a hot topic among brands exhibiting at Florence’s Fortezza da Basso. There was much talk of recycled fabrics, especially those made from plastic bottles, and brands were keen to shout about their eco-friendly credentials, particularly in new area I Go Out.

pitti i go out

pitti i go out

New performance focused hall I Go Out 

Dedicated to performance and outdoorwear and designed to resemble an impressive forest, the bustling new area proved a hit with brands and buyers. Labels showing there included Japanese sportswear brand Goldwin, British sustainable designer Christopher Raeburn and skatewear brand Element. The addition of the new hall at Pitti, mostly known for suits and tailoring, demonstrates the ongoing influence of technical clothing on the menswear market.

“We liked the draw of the new hall and the brand mix within it. Pitti is a great place to get visibility on an international level and we can show some of our more commercial pieces from the Recycled and Reduced range, as well as the more conceptual Remade collection which was seen at London Fashion Week Men’s,” explained Will Dixon, operations manager at Christopher Raeburn. “The younger consumer is now much more aware of sustainability which is something we have now been doing for over 10 years.”

Although Pitti is a traditionally a menswear show, an increasing number of brands took the opportunity to showcase a small range of womenswear.

Pitti Uomo partnered with Copenhagen trade show Revolver on another new area, Scandinavian Manifesto, which was home to more established names such as Norse Projects and newer labels Rue de Tokyo and Johannes Adele. A touch of Scandi cool proved a welcome addition to the show, and upbeat exhibitors in the area said they relished the opportunity to meet buyers from around the world.

Footfall fluctuated slightly over the four days of the show and the first day was noticeably quieter than the second, perhaps a result of the cancelled and delayed flights plaguing some visitors. Nonetheless, exhibitors reported seeing UK buyers from big high street names such as John Lewis, Arcadia Group, Next, Asos, Selfridges and Liberty London.

“It has been a busy show, although the second day was busier than the first,” said Jag Dhami, sales director at Penfield. “This show for us is about marketing and meeting and greeting. We’ve been some UK buyers here but everyone is looking forward to the shows in Paris later in the season – they come to Pitti now to have a look and then in Paris start thinking about budgets and what orders to place.”

Catwalks supplemented the trade show. Craig Green left his normal slot at London Fashion Week Men’s to provide the headline act. Luxury accessories brand MCM exhibited its debut ready-to-wear collection, while Roberto Cavalli and Band of Outsiders also held catwalk shows. 


The mood of the show

Michael Mensah-Benjamin, international sales manager, Lyle & Scott

Pitti is always a great show for us, it is a fantastic platform. The season so far for us has been phenomenal, we’re seeing great international growth. We’ve seen some buyers from the UK, as well as from Denmark and around Europe generally. I think the menswear market is fairly static but we’ve been outperforming the market, there’s a real youth focus in menswear at the moment which we’re benefitting from because our customer stretches from 15-45.

Jeremy Whyman, commercial manager, Duke and Dexter

This is the brand’s first time at Pitti. Before now we’d not really pushed wholesale, and we’re also building the international business. To be taken seriously you have to be at Pitti. We’re not really taking orders, we’re here to be seen – it’s becoming like that at most shows, but it has always been like that here. People see the product here and then write their orders in the Paris showrooms. We’ve had some good meetings this morning, and lots of Japanese coming through. People still travel for this show, and the Touch hall has a really good atmosphere, it’s very busy.

Juls Dawson, managing director at Just Consultancy 

There’s been a good flow of people coming through. Mainly locals on the first day, with a decent turnout from internationals. We saw both Asos and Zalando. It’s the brand’s first time at Pitti, it’s a difficult show to get into and to get a decent location. The show is a maze.

The Italian market is so vibrant at the moment, and it’s imperative we have a distributor here because of the risk of supplying directly to independents. There is a strong independent network in Italy, with only a couple of larger stores. You have to be at Pitti to get exposure to those stores.

Tony Evans, managing director, Jacobson Group

It’s been a reasonably good show and on the first day we had good enquiries from Eastern Europe and Asian buyers. There is a very good brand mix as always and the second day is much busier than the first. The quality of potential leads is great at this show – if people have paid to come here, they are genuine about doing business.

Comment: Sustainability dominates at a typically upbeat Pitti Uomo

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