Two weeks ago, I paid my dues to the fashion industry by photographing outside Pitti Uomo, the menswear tradeshow in Florence, Italy. Today my classmates and I received our golden tickets to join a similar cool crowd of buyers at the 80th edition of Pitti Filati, a textile tradeshow with a focus on color forecasting, research and trend within the yarn industry, and a heavy influence of knitwear. For all my friends who are still wondering what the impact of all this amounts to, the rundown is as follows:
Pitti Filati was attended by Fashion Buyers, representing many companies (scaled from small businesses to billion dollar corporations) from all over the globe. This weekend reported seeing a vast amount of attendees from France, Japan, Germany, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Anyone working within the industry will travel a great deal to be able to physically see what the forecasts are for the coming seasons. Currently, the buyers are working on fulfilling orders for Fall/Winter 2017, but more importantly looking ahead to Spring/Summer 2018. These shows have displays, sketches, colors, editorial shoots, and lifestyle visuals put together by a group who specializes on studying trends. Without attending a show like this, it is quite difficult to get a full grasp on what consumers will want in the coming year and companies are always focusing on bringing their customers an assortment that is considered to be cutting-edge.
Partaking in this type of event requires a press pass that can only be obtained by buyers, financial planners, designers, content creators, and merchandisers, generally speaking (there are so many roles – I must have forgotten a handful, at least). With connections, we were able to join and watch the scene in an abridged way. The vendors were in meetings, often out in the open, with buyers who were submitting order forms that day to plan order quantities and negotiate deals. If you ever walked through Neiman Marcus and wondered how such a large amount of things are amassed in one space, it all starts here.
The textile exhibition, The Passenger, showcased yarns and threads in the chosen Pantone colors that were devoted to travel and exploring roles beyond ordinary confinement. Knitclub interpreted the technical and creative needs of the clients at Pitti, with a focus on a more advanced supply chain integration. Fashion at Work was an area that shone light on stitch prototype developments, style consulting, color coding systems, software, and finishings (ie. printing, machinery, dyeing).
The biggest deal about Pitti Filati is that is it helping bring fashion back into Florence, an apparel mecca that has been overtaken by Milan within the past few decades. The history of Florence very much so still thrives off its historical guilds, who really kickstarted the apparel trade in the country, but the innovation for the garment industry in Florence is arguably less than what it used to be. However, events such as Luisa via Roma, Polimoda IFFTI Conference, and the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference is bringing a great deal of media into the city. Gucci is also still rooted in Florence, where the headquarters are billowing with Bernard Arnault’s tears as the Pinault Family skips to the bank. Sidenote: The only thing you need to know here is that if you Google Image Arnault, the word Yacht comes up as a suggested search option.
One thing that Pitti Filati was not as transparent about was what the ecological standpoint is with the knitwear industry. I think to fully stay in touch with the futurism that the fashion industry tries to hone in on, this will be a great component for next year. Overall, Pitti Filati was the textile party of the year that overstimulated my -4.75/-5.00 vision, in the best way possible. Maybe during my next tradeshow experience, I can eat the free food without feeling guilty that I am really just trying to fit in.
Till then, it will be: Thank you for the champagne glass. It was great to do business with you.