Could the Italian Fashion industry be showing signs of growth for 2014?
There has always been something about the great names in Italian fashion – Armani, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana – that creates desire and demand amongst the style-conscious across the globe. Following some years of decline, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI) predicts a return to growth this year for Italian clothing and accessories design houses, although women’s designers will fare better than men’s.
Attracting the Best Designers
This positive prediction is likely to be good news for companies looking to attract the best designers. Naturally, some designers will prefer to associate themselves with companies ‘at the top of their game,’ so to speak, because of the publicity they will gain. For others, though, being with a company that is going places is even better. They have a chance to be more exclusive, but also demonstrate how their collections have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line. The challenge is to turn around the company’s fortunes and see not only share prices rise, but demand grow for specific pieces or collections.
Promote Italian Quality
The Italian fashion industry has a very rich heritage behind it that has helped bridge the period of decline. To achieve the predicted rise in turnover of 5.4%, companies must focus on this heritage and their reputation for exceptional quality.
To maintain the reputation, it is important for firms to look to recruit the best skilled individuals at all stages of the manufacturing process, from designers through to production and then distribution. The heritage and reputation will stand the industry in good stead. Customers come to expect certain standards and it is essential that companies maintain and even exceed customers’ expectations, particularly in times of poor growth or decline.
Another alternative is to take the brand and establish it in new markets. Whilst the domestic markets have struggled, the savviest firms have taken the best things about their brand and tried to break into new markets, particularly those that are less affected by the current economic downturn. China and South-East Asia are good choices not only because their economic climate is stronger, but also because of the desire for Western culture and designers. Heritage brands that use top-quality materials are in high demand.
Italian companies are having to consider Chinese markets for other reasons too. Previously, Chinese workers were employed in Italian textile factories, but now many have set up their own firms in competition. Chinese manufacturers are creating raw materials at far lower prices than Italian companies can, so Italian firms must focus on their expertise in aesthetics. Often the rivals are set up in Italy, which does mean transport costs are lower, and there are opportunities for Italian workers that would not exist if the factory owners had returned to China.