MILAN — The upcoming edition of Pitti Uomo indicates the menswear industry is moving to embrace the opportunities offered by the sector’s strong rebound, especially in key regions such as the U.S. and Europe.The showcase, which will run from June 14 to 17, is expected to attract around 640 exhibitors, 38 percent of which hail from abroad, offering a good mix of established names and up-and-coming talent. Of the total, 100 brands are joining the men’s fair for the first time.
“We’re not entirely back at it, but the number of exhibitors is already up 50 percent compared to the same edition last year. They are very active…and there’s a lot of enthusiasm to restart,” said Claudio Marenzi, president of organizing body Pitti Immagine, during a press conference here Thursday to unveil the schedule of events.
Wales Bonner’s fashion show and the much-anticipated exhibition of Ann Demeulemeester, initially supposed to take place last January, are just a few of the events that will take place during the week.
Copenhagen-based street-inflected brand Soulland will present its spring 2023 collection with a fashion show-slash-event at a still undisclosed location as one of the event’s special projects, the other being up-and-coming brand Sapio, helmed by Rick Owens alum Giulio Sapio, who will install a presentation in a box format. This was already tested at Milan Fashion Week last January, as reported, and in Florence, it will be staged at the Galleria Discovery space inside the Fortezza da Basso.
Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive officer of Pitti Immagine, noted the fair expects a fairly strong attendance of about 15,000. This compares with 10,000 last January and 20,000 in 2019. “Big buyers are back; real players in the economy, all the merchants know and feel they need to be in Florence,” he said.
Although there will be no initiatives to attract Russian buyers in light of ongoing sanctions against the country because of the invasion of Ukraine, Napoleone said Pitti Immagine will welcome every attendee and noted how the domestic market in Russia is not flat.
Addressing the havoc wrought by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Marenzi said the area represents around 2.2 percent of total exports of men’s fashion. “We still don’t have exact figures but given its numbers, Russia is still a relevant market but not so crucial,” he said.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and the war, exports of men’s fashion are back on track. According to figures provided by Confindustria Moda, they amounted to 7.2 billion euros in 2021, up 13.4 percent versus the year prior. That is still 5.3 percent below 2019 levels.
China represented the fourth most important destination for Italian men’s fashion in 2021, with exports jumping 58.8 percent compared to 2020, but it saw a slowdown in the first quarter of 2022 in light of continued lockdowns that are denting consumer confidence, Marenzi said. This has been compensated by the U.S., where he observed an “exceptionally brisk activity.” Exports to the country increased 12.5 percent in 2021 and while this is roughly 20 percent below 2019, Pitti Immagine’s president forecast the U.S. will represent the main growth driver, alongside Europe.
Offsite events will also animate the city of Florence during the four-day Pitti Uomo, with Gucci officially unveiling its Giardino 25 café and cocktail bar, the latest addition to the Gucci Garden experiential destination, with an event on June 16.
As reported, newly rebooted menswear brand Bagutta is making its debut under the partnership with Castor Fashion and creative direction of Albino D’Amato with a breakfast presentation on the terrace of Pitti Immagine’s headquarters in town, while Superga will throw a bash on June 14 hosted by model Emily Ratajkowski.
In keeping with the previous edition, the Fortezza da Basso fairgrounds will be organized across four main areas called Fantastic Classic; Futuro Maschile; Superstyling, and Dynamic Attitude, the latter dedicated to sportswear brands. The category represents a strong sector within menswear and it will be under the spotlight at the trade show, with sailing lifestyle brand North Sails unveiling its collection with Maserati, BasicNet-owned Robe di Kappa and Fila both returning to the fair and sustainable-minded Ecoalf marking its second attendance.
There will be room for anniversaries, too, as denim company Roy Rogers will fete its 70th anniversary with an event unveiling a short movie directed by Bruce Weber and WP Lavori in Corso, which has been driving the European agenda of sportswear distribution in Europe since 1982, will mark its 40th milestone.
The Superstyling section will feature a selection of green labels called Sustainable Style, first introduced at the onset of the pandemic, with 10 brands hailing from all continents.
Showing its support of Ukrainian designers whose work has been impacted by the ongoing conflict, Pitti Uomo has invited a range of brands from that country to showcase their collections at the fair. The young names include talents outside the fashion realm who are known for their work in pottery and textiles.
As reported, Pitti Uomo will take place as a stand-alone event, discontinuing the recent tradition of combining it with the Pitti Bimbo and Pitti FIlati fairs dedicated to childrenswear and yarn-makers, respectively. The IRL trade show will be flanked by the Pitti Connect digital platform.