“It is the most important trade fair in the world and every time, from a point of view of expectations, it generates enthusiasm and positivity,” says Gianni Russo, president of Lineapelle and of the Russo tannery in Casandrino, introducing edition number 101 of the show. A clear and established leadership, because “the numbers say it all,” emphasises Fabrizio Nuti, president of UNIC – Italian Tanneries and owner of the Tuscan tanning group of the same name. His reference is to the exhibitors who, from tomorrow (Tuesday 21 February) to Thursday 23, will welcome buyers to their booths. Because Lineapelle finds important, pre-pandemic numbers and, while we wait to assess the behaviour of buyers at the fair, we can truly say that, in a few hours, the whole world is coming back to Milan.
Tomorrow the whole world returns to Milan
The numbers Nuti is referring to are these: 1,161 exhibitors from 42 countries (61.7% Italian, 38.3% foreign) including 544 tanneries, 403 accessories/components, 164 fabrics and synthetics, 50 companies from other sectors. The return to the past, positive and reassuring, is evident, as is the total area of almost 42,500 square metres on which they will set up their booths. “Lineapelle is returning in its full edition,” continues Nuti, “so, I expect a very interesting edition, also in terms of attendance.
After all, Lineapelle has remained the only international fair of reference in the world for the fashion, luxury, and design supply sector. All the others have become or remained local. Lineapelle is the event, in short, where everyone, exhibitors and buyers, must come and, the one that starts tomorrow, with China having reopened and the possibility of many more Asians arriving than for the last editions, is that of the real reopening”. A ‘full’ Lineapelle.
Enthusiasm at the market test
A Lineapelle, therefore, ‘full’ not only of exhibitors and expectations, but of enthusiasm as well. “The one,” comments Russo, “that each time leads us to develop and present innovations and projects to the best of our ability”. A continuous upgrading in research and enhancement of quality that, today, is fundamental in order to manage the approach to a laboriously complicated market.
“Lineapelle 101 comes at a time in the market, in this first quarter of 2023, of sluggishness and decline, after a year of consolidated, double-digit growth. The contraction has known reasons beyond our control: the continuation of a difficult war, inflation, generalised increases, Chinese closures. However, there could be the conditions for a restart in the second fiscal quarter”. Nuti confirms: “Since September 2022, we have started to slow down across the board. All segments have been suffering except, but not all, luxury leather goods. The reasons are known to everyone. Now, however, with the reopening to travel for the Chinese and signs of falling energy costs, some good signs can be expected for March”.
After a very bright 2022, the US has also started to struggle. “The US,” Nuti concludes, “is perhaps paying the price for the strong euphoria of last year, when many brands placed oversized orders. Not only that: many were unable to meet deliveries to shops, due to logistics and transport problems. Hence, warehouse inventories are high. It has to be said, however, that American trends have very fast reaction times”. In other words: just as recessionary phases are triggered quickly, in the US the recovery is triggered just as quickly. Lineapelle 101 will serve (also) to understand the horizon of this economic development.