Director of Tutorship, Riccardo Vannetti talks to WGSN about Pitti Immagine’s new division and exactly what it does for designers both new and established.
While the S/S 17 schedule of trade shows from Italian organisers Pitti Immagine gets under way, kicking off this week in Florence with menswear must-attend, Pitti Uomo, alongside the normal trade show schedule is a fresh initiative, which provides further investment in the industry – the new Pitti Tutorship.
While the shows themselves – operating across market categories that include menswear, kidswear, fragrance and fabrics – provide a platform that enables brands to present their latest collections in front of an international audience, Pitti Immagine’s new division divvies out a bit of Pitti magic when and where designers need it the most.
Giving WGSN an insight into just how the programme works, and how he plays a part in this, Director of Tutorship Riccardo Vannetti took the time to tell us more.
Q: What does your role entail?
The Pitti Tutorship gives 360 degree support to the professional career of fashion designers. It is a brand new division within Pitti Immagine dedicated exclusively to helping, accompanying and managing designers in their business in terms of both brand development and career management. My role therefore focuses on the sourcing of, negotiation with, and the management of style collaborations and creative direction with companies and brands that are both already established, and fashion designers that are right at the beginning of their career.
Q: How does the tutorship work?
What we do is create the right network for the designers who have their own brand. For example, if a designers faces some difficulties in finding the most suitable showroom based on the characteristics of their collection, then we try to arrange an appointment with the showroom. We create the most efficient and functional team for that one designer (commercial structure, PRs, manufacturers). At the same time, designers will need to find consultancies, so we put them in touch with other companies and brands to obtain vital contacts of creative consultancies. We provide practical services also, such as our legal division. We supervise all of the agreements that the designer will need to sign for both consultancies and the production of their brand.
Q: How do you propose that emerging, directional design talent stands out from the mass market, fast-fashion mindset of today’s wider industry? Pitti Tutorship doesn’t work only with emerging talents. We work in general with talented designers, young or more established, Italian and international, both menswear and womenswear. ‘To differentiate themselves from the mass market, a designer needs authenticity and a certain awareness of his/her ability to tell everyone else about themselves.’ All the good designers have a strong technical education and are well prepared, but what makes the difference is the clarity in communicating their message, and the best way to do this is through their collections.
Q: What are the pressures facing designers today?
They are facing more or less the same pressure that fashion designers were facing in the past. What is making a difference in this century is the rise of the digital world. Nowadays many more people and consumers have access to fashion, and this is a change to the system as a whole. The pressure they have is not only related any more to the moment of the presentation of the collection itself, but it is a daily pressure. And let’s not forget that we have gone from two collections to four, or even eight collections, and all of this is quite demanding.
Q: Can we expect to see brands from the Tutorship at future Pitti Immagine shows?
Not necessarily. We will never communicate the names of the designers involved in the Tutorship programme. We are not a project of communication related to the designers, we are a proper company division. Designers communicate by themselves and will decide on their own if it’s worth revealing their link with the Tutorship. In terms of our partnership with the brand, this is ongoing. We are always there. Our agreement with a designer is to accompany them, not to leave them. In principle, big mistakes can be made even when you’ve become big and renowned.
Q: Finally, if you could summarise in short your three key points for success, for both new and established brands, what would those be?
Authenticity, originality, and perhaps a touch of Italian style in the production!
Subscribers can check out WGSN’s full coverage of the Pitti Immagine trade shows, and the rest of the S/S 17 schedule, HERE.
Follow our Senior Events Editor, Katharine Smith on Instagram.