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Milano Unica 33: One-of-a-kind commercial hub

Janet Prescott

There has been general approval for the mix of physical show and the digital platform, adopted by MU in cooperation with Pitti Immagine.

4th August 2021

Janet Prescott
 |  Milan

Knitted Outerwear

Milano Unica’s latest edition 33 was held in the Rho exhibition centre in Milan in July. It was opened with the enthusiastic support of the industry and government agencies, as a face-to-face physical show staged with a feeling that things were on the up. e-MilanoUnica Connect formed the digital arm of the marketplace with more advanced filters for quick searches.

270 visitors and 3100 visitors attended in person. The President of MU Alessandro Barberis Canonico echoed the trade’s statements that nothing could replace the effectiveness of the visual and tactile brought together. There has been general approval for the mix of physical show and the digital platform, adopted by MU in cooperation with Pitti Immagine. 

Geometric jacquards and recoloured classics Trends MU 2022/23. © Milano Unica

Fabrics at MU are described as high-end products made with pride. There is also emphasis on sustainability.   Close ties with the yarn show Filo, at MU signalling its eco based show to come in September.

Exhibitors from Italy and other countries included well known European and UK brands who chose to prioritise the physical presence of customers.  Milano Unica, especially the Idea Biella section has pre-booked customers old and new, their physical presence as exhibitors had a strong purpose in mind to connect face to face.

 Moda In includes accessories, fashion fabrics, performance for men’s and womenswear and the trend areas. These fabrics had a good showing, together with Shirt Avenue, where companies present the large variety of styles and markets they serve with innovation.

Glitter and shine for 2022/23 Trend area MU33. © Milano Unica

Natural fibres, recycled synthetics and design ingenuity were the main features, as at Fantaisie Tricot Italian knitters.

Well known exhibitors came from a broad mix, Albini, Eurojersey, Iluna Group, Liberty Fabrics, Laurent Garigue, British worsted mills Joshua Ellis, John Foster, and Kynoch 1788 or Loro Piana, Marzotto, Lanificio Cerruti, and Schoeller.

Many exhibitors, on the stands or on the Connect platform proclaimed their longevity and eco credentials, relevant as the whole industry and their customers strive to reach a consensus on standards.

Italy still has a significant manufacturing capacity, and governmental support, keen to make its advantages known. 3C Company, produce knitted fabrics, cherishes its continuous Italian manufacturing capacity from 1922 while the Iluna Group, specialists in lace and lingerie works to an eco-philosophy with a special green section.

Eurojersey, always strong on ideas about sustainability, showed new Sensitive Fabrics designed for lingerie, with vibrant coloured prints, pointing out breathability, lasting freshness, and lightness, like a second skin, for delicate lingerie which dries rapidly.

Sensitive Fabrics new underwear fabrics AW22/23 light, airy and easy-care. ©Eurojersey

Exhibits on the stands or on the Connect platform had labels explaining their green credentials; they and their customers strive to reach a consensus on standards.

MU Trends were based around basic current passions, with Ecology introduced as, ‘Zero kilometres, energy saving and recycling, are fundamental actions of industry and individual behaviour’.

The Japan Observatory   was present at the physical show with textile specialist companies from technical workwear to outerwear, to lingerie and displays of colourful fashion looks, such as large-scale manufacturers Sunwell showing a myriad of coloured plains which went from pale pastels to sunny yellow.

The new digital Linen Dream Lab CELC is designed for information and dissemination of trends. The versatility of the linen was on show in delicately fine and substantial weights, blends with other fibres and stretch elements. Trends included both natural undyed and colourful designs in knitted and woven designs.  

The Woolmark company presented news on The Wool Lab Digital showing designs, samples, facilitating contacts and sourcing with directional information on trends, innovation, and research projects freely available.

Specialist luxury products such as Pongees with knitted jersey fabrics in silk or the high-quality menswear tailoring at Idea Biella set the pace, showing the changes which have been wrought in the most sophisticated market fabrics for top quality garments. They reflect the fascination marrying colour, revisited pattern and light weights seen in all areas.

MIlano Unica’s famous names set the pace for re-centred classicism, using revamped ideas including the Fashion at Moda In and Shirt Avenue where examples of complex knitted fabrics were increasingly common. Designers exploited fibre blends for sporty shirtings, others using recycled fibres, like Iluna with versatile stretch fancy lace, illustrating changes wrought in markets keen to maximise novelty and change.

 Milano Unica 33 showed proof that a physical meeting could be staged even during a pandemic. The interface of physical and digital trade is still evolving, described as ‘a one of-a-kind commercial hub, going well beyond the concept of a trade show’.

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