Despite difficulties, the Italian fashion market is showing slight signs of recovery. Successful cases such as Moncler’s going public, prosperous enterprises and an increase of foreign sales are injecting optimism into the country. Quality and research remain indispensable medicines for curing the Italian fashion industry and speeding up internal sales.

Can Italy overcome this moment? The Christmas shopping craze should be at its peak, but Italians have other problems to face first such as, high taxation and fiscal pressure, an uncertain political future and the difficulty to reach the end of the month. For these reasons, discount and special offer signs are hanging on every shop window, fidelity cards are given around in order to encourage shopping and people on the streets are carrying only a few very small shopping bags and packages.

On the other hand the Italian luxury segment is attracting the world’s attention. The recent miracle of Moncler, revived from bankruptcy in 2003 and now debuting as public and registering a record performance of +46%. Such booms encourage optimism – a light at the end of the tunnel. Moreover, Milan’s Stock Market Exchange shows how Milan is a financial capital for Italian luxury brands that the whole world’s investors are ready to invest in, and this could lead to Italy’s recovery.

In addition to high-turnover companies, small and medium manufacturing companies are returning to life and producing for others, bringing back vital energy - see also our survey in our current issue of Sportswear International E-Paper 256: There’s no place like home - to the country. Many insiders believe the Italian apparel and textile supply chain remains one of the most varied and articulate the world over. “I don’t know another country that can offer such different ability, flexibility and specialised variety in production,” comments Alberto Leoni, co-owner of made in Italy streetwear brand Iuter, and manufacturer for other young brands based near Varese.

Similarly, knitwear specialist Lorena Antoniazzi has just established a new productive unit near Perugia. Their new 3000sqm Sterne International factory will increase the company’s productive capacity by about 40%, and follow eco-friendly productive standards.

According to estimates recently disclosed by SMI (Sistema Moda Italia), a change of direction seems likely for 2014, even if it begins slowly. The survey expects apparel and textile companies to register a +2.1% in sales for the first quarter of 2014 compared with 2012, thanks to a recovery from both the export and national markets. The current year is expected to close registering a loss. 2013 is predicted to reach sales of €50.1 billion (-1.9% compared with 2012 with a loss in internal consumption of -5.8%). 2013 saw the closure of around 500 apparel and textile manufacturers (-1% on 2013) and the cutting of 9,300 jobs (-2.2%). However, the Bel Paese country still hosts 7,000 companies involved in the Italian textile and apparel segment focused on top quality products, and working according to fast and flexible working patterns.