Italian Apparel Industry Hopes to Strengthen Its Global Position

The Italian apparel industry has a well-established reputation for its premium fashion products in the global market. Despite the consecutive decline in its domestic market due to the country’s economic downturn over the recent years, the Italian apparel industry still holds an important position in the global market. The total value of Italy’s apparel market was estimated at US$36.6 billion in 2016, and is expected to reach roughly $42 billion by 2020.


The apparel industry, as well as the textile industry, might be small compared to other major textile and apparel producing countries like China or Pakistan, but it plays an important role in the country’s GDP and export earnings. The sector today employs over 410,000 workers in just over 50,000 apparel companies in the country, but its revenue surpassed €52.6 billion in 2015, of which more than half of the sales were generated from international markets.


Currently, womenswear is the largest segment in the Italian apparel industry. According to Italy’s fashion industry association Sistema Moda Italia (SMI), the women’s ready-to-wear industry had its third consecutive growth year, reaching a total revenue of €13.07 billion in 2016, increasing by 2.3% year on year. The womenswear sector is doing much better than menswear in Italy, which increased only by 0.9% to a total revenue of €9 billion in the same period.


As one of the top 10 export product categories in Italy, apparel exports recorded a value of $12.1 billion in 2016, representing nearly 4% of the total annual export value in Italy. The US, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Turkey, and Russia are some of the largest exporting destinations for Italian apparel products.


Predictions for the Italian apparel sector over the next few years are not all positive, but the industry is still optimistic. The Italian government recently announced a budget allocation of €35 million to promote the country’s fashion and apparel industry as well as fashion exports in the international market. This budget allocation, which is 45% more than the one a year ago, will serve to fund trade shows and multichannel marketing and distribution, expanding ‘Made in Italy’ brands into more department stores and e-commerce platforms around the world.


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