The allure of Pitti Uomo in China

Although Italian fashion and the ‘made in Italy’ stamp  has long held a special place in the hearts of the Chinese consumer, the importance of Pitti Uomo in this country didn’t really resonate with me until I began covering fashion in China. As it takes place, it receives serious coverage – WeChat micro blogs and moments light up with industry insiders’ posts.

On a recent trip to Shanghai, WGSN was able to sit down with Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine. We discussed how Pitti Uomo has become one of China’s must see menswear trade show of the year.

“At the last edition of Pitti Uomo, we had 320 Chinese buyers attend, showing a 20% YoY increase in attendance.

“The rise in attendance reflects the way the consumers in China are changing, and I think that, especially for the younger consumer, the change is dramatic. At the very beginning, the idea was to buy into big brands. There has now been a shift in this attitude, and a new interest in discovering emerging, creative European and Italian designers and brands. This is, in part, due to the evolution of department stores and multi-brand shops as well as the rise in digital information.

“The styles the Chinese buyers are most receptive to include streetwear, activewear, athleisure and sneakers. For certain department stores, though, of course formal wear is important – and we are not just looking at young consumers. We are looking to the whole market.

“In my opinion, we have become a popular show for China for several reasons. Firstly, our very precise strategy – we are very current, and focus on scouting, content, quality and internationality. Secondly, we are adding major cultural events for the visitors and the press to see new projects. For example, for the upcoming edition, we will have a major exhibition about the relationship between fashion and football. Why? Because the FIFA World Cup will start in Moscow on the 14th.  Lastly, we always have a fashion event to launch new projects. The idea for us is to always show something new”.


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