The Italian government can decide to restart fashion before May

Il Governo può decidere di far ripartire la moda prima di maggio

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said so during the press conference held on April 10th: the lockdown could end before May 4th for some sectors. All the main Italian newspapers mentioned, during the last few days, that the Government can decide to open the fashion industry before the end of the month, given its strategic value for Italy’s trade balance. It could even be as soon as April 18th-20th: it depends, among other things, on the decisions that Vittorio Colao, head of the special taskforce put in place, will reach with all parties involved, as well as the ability of companies to respect the safety measures. Licia Mattioli, vicepresident of Confindustria, explained thoughout the last few days, that fashion and tanning are among the sectors that should open the soonest. The alternative would be losing market share.

Ending the lockdown of the fashion industry before May

Fashion, of course, and more. The strategic segments for Italy’s exports also include industries where leather is widely used, such as automotive and design (e.g. furniture). According to indiscretions, the potential advancement of the date to end the lockdown would be decided with a decree signed by the Ministry for Economic Development (sitting in on the various sectors’ roundtables) and the Ministry for Economics and Finance. Both technical and health experts will be consulted before moving with the plan: the Coronavirus threat will not be underestimated. Additionally, companies and labor unions will need to re-define policies and procedures for the workplace (shifts, distancing and entries, for example). And last, but not least, there are other procedures to be defined, such as inspections from the government’s health department.

 It’s needed

“There are some crucial sectors for Italy such as fashion, tanning, ceramic, steel and mechanical that are still halted”, comments Licia Mattioli on the ages of Il Gazzettino (newspaper). She isn’t the first among the CEOs of various associations (national, regional and sectorial), to express the urgency of action to safeguard, together with public health, the entire manufacturing segment of Italy. “The country is producing at 50% capacity, because 2.5 million companies out of 4.3 million have been forced to shutdown – she explains -. The ones that are closed down now are worth about 45% of the total GDP from manufacturing. Those that are export driven aren’t able to work, thus other countries that remain operational continue to steal market share from them, as they work at nearly full regime”.

Common feeling

It’s a common feeling that it is time to start thinking of how to get businesses back to work. “If the fashion sector doesn’t reopen soon – said Luca Zaia, president of the Veneto region, during an Easter press conference -, it will have to skip the winter season and, ironically enough, the ones most benefitting from it may be the Chinese”. The reference associations are also pushing for the same outcome. “Not allowing textile companies, clothing, leather goods and footwear manufacturers, to reopen – concludes Marco Landi, president of CNA Federmoda -, means condemning thousands of companies to close down for good. Which ones? Those that have received orders for the Fall/winter 20/21 season, as they wont be able to complete them and will thus lose clients and market share that took a long time to get, and consequently risking being left out of the global value chain”.

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