How important is the textile industry to Italy?
The textile industry in Italy is not only an important sector for the national economy, it’s also part of our country’s culture and a real tradition. One needs only recall that some of the textile districts which have been existed since 1500 when the so-called "factories" first became active, and of course we should not forget the famous silk makers of Como, a district in which velvet and artificial fabrics are produced. Furthermore, Italian textiles are still traditionally produced in the district of Sant’Agata dei Goti which is respected as the centre for cinema clothing and costumes. There are about 14,000 textile companies active in Italy and they form part of the secondary sector, manufacturing. The identity and character of these places comes from the textile industry and the livelihood of a large part of the local community is dependent upon them. Their location and professionalism knows no equal.
How does ICE promote Italian textiles abroad?
ICE has always promoted the Italian textile industry by focusing on the usual activities such as attending trade fairs, sector fairs and visiting foreign operators. The institute also takes a promotional approach, running media campaigns and creating magazine inserts which coincide with the launch of collections. This type of of work involves collaborating with the School of Fashion and is an ideal activity to rapidly dissemination information about the entire production process, with its historic background, research and development, tradition and innovation: qualities that make Italian textiles so unique.
The Importance of Made in Italy today
The importance of Made in Italy and the prestige which it carries in the world come from the fact that the Italian fashion products, isn’t simple “a product”, but is actually an idea, a concept and behind the garment or the fine fabrics, there is excellence and attention to detail. Those who buy Made in Italy are not only choosing a product, but also a life-style. Beyond the ISO certification held by our country’s companies, the production processes also undergo careful environmental controls and quality controls carried out by hand, by specialists. Because of this, the end customer can have confidence that, for example, they are not wearing garments treated with products that could be toxic to their skin.
How did the idea for a project with the schools in San Francisco and London come about?
The idea derived from a need to find a promotional format which would focus on the cultural value of Made in Italy textiles and which wasn’t the typical sales based promotion conducted at rather it would be more about the image and communication of the Italian textile product. This partnership project with the School of Fashion began in 2002 with the Parson School, Rhode Island School of Design and Massachusetts College, in the following years ICE was able to build on this work, creating partnerships with the most prestigious fashion schools those of Saint Martins and the Academy of Art at the University of San Francisco.
Is it important to involve young people in the fashion industry so that we can continue to have high value products?
It’s vitally important that the international designers of the future are educated about and choose quality products: products that are the result of an ongoing process of innovation and product-research, carried out by companies working in cooperation with centres for research and universities. Made in Italy textiles are ambassadors for ethical products and the entire production process is in-line with the legal framework. When these designers become important in the future, they will have understood what it means to work with an Italian product and its respect for several factors: the environment, the organisation and working systems and the consumer and their health and safety. Our aim is to raise awareness of young designers who, in searching for excellence, will the use Made in Italy fabrics and these will then be the component that can bring dignity to their finished garments. For these reasons, we hope that Made in Italy fabrics will become essential to their creations.