The Italian Trade Agency is busier than ever—and as positive as the day is long. As the driving force behind the brands synonymous with Italian style, the ITA has been spending summer managing multiple projects and initiatives and is now readying to bring 70 fashion labels to NYC for COTERIE. We stole a moment with Deputy Commissioner of Fashion & Beauty, Paola Guida, to hear more.
How are you feeling ahead of another Fashion Month?
Since the Italian Trade Agency sponsors the best ‘Made in Italy’ brands across so many different categories of fashion and accessories, we have had an extremely busy summer and we are not letting up for fall. In September alone we will sponsor 70+ Italian womenswear designers at Coterie and launch a SS23 refresh of our free digital fashion platform, EXTRAITASTYLE.com. And later in the fall we have some exciting news to announce that will more formally extend our presence on both the East and West Coast!
What have been some other recent projects?
We have truly been nonstop since July as we are coming from sponsoring 45+ beauty companies at Cosmoprof North America and 35+ companies at the New York “Feel the Yarn” event, not to mention the 60+ of the best Italian menswear brands at the Chicago Collective show, and nine of the best Italian bridal brands at the National Bridal Market Chicago. But as always, Coterie is our largest physical sponsorship in the fashion capital of the US – September in NYC is always bursting with energy!
What is the anticipation like amongst the brands?
The brands are definitely excited—as are we. This season we have about a 50/50 split of existing favorites and newcomers. This will bring a lot of fresh excitement into the Italian Pavilion, and it will give a lot of incredible Italian brands the opportunity to enter the US market in a meaningful way, for the first time.
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What’s something all the brands have in common?
“Made in Italy” is the thread that weaves through our curated list of brands and designers. But what’s important to remember there is that it is not only the production that is made in Italy—it is also the materials used. This means the finest textiles and leathers, which come before the finest craftsmanship in the world. The production techniques of both raw materials and finished products are a part of our heritage, and every one of our designers creates their collections with the same pride.
What is it about COTERIE that always draws brands back?
The energy of NYC is like nowhere else, and when the brands come to COTERIE they are able to truly feel a part of it. There’s no way to digitally replicate that. The city is still abuzz from Fashion Week and there’s an electric focus on looking ahead to the next season and everything that is to come.
What else is keeping brands excited about the US market and its opportunities?
There is a feeling that the world is finally able to come back together after a few logistically and emotionally difficult years. I think our brands are feeling a renewed sense of ambition—they’re ready to grow their presence in America, and they’re ready to share their gifts with the world.
Are there any new ways that the ITA is supporting Italian brands right now?
We are committing to supporting our Italian brands more deeply in the physical sense as in-person events come back to life. We will be announcing a host of new activations in the coming months, first starting with LA and more to come in 2023.
What are some positives that the ITA is experiencing in terms of Italy’s trade with America this year?
For the first half of the 2022 year, Italian exports in the fashion and accessories sector were up 19.6% over 2021, while the woman clothing is up an incredible 54.57% over the same period. We expect the remaining two quarters of this year to show continued growth. Italy is the fifth largest exporter in this category in the world which is very impressive for a country of its size.
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What’s keeping everyone motivated?
We rejoice in the successes of our brands. We’ve seen our brands hosting runway shows, getting picked up by major department stores, and being featured by national press. Every individual win is important to the ‘Made in Italy’ cause. But mostly we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity this year to once again reunite with our brands and our retailer friends in person. It makes such a difference. This COTERIE we will unveil a new layout for Italian brands: they will be
exhibiting all in one group in the “Italian Pavilion” rather than spread across the show floor. Whatever buyers and retailers are looking for, from shoes to knitwear, from womenswear to accessories, it’s just one stop at the Italian Pavilion where they will find the best of Italian production!