Glimmer of hope for fashion ahead of Milan menswear

Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:48am EDT
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Designers will show off their menswear creations for next spring starting Saturday as Milan fashion week kicks off amid hopes of a recovery for the sector.

After a "frosty" start to the year -- when there were fewer shows at the January Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 menswear fashion week -- there are some positive signals emerging, according to Italy's National Chamber of Fashion.

"(Italy's fashion industry) has been hit by a U-shaped crisis. We are going back up but how we go back up makes the difference," the body's Chairman Mario Boselli said this week.

Italy's fashion sector, which earlier this year called for government help as the economic crisis hit demand, will see turnover fall again in 2009 -- down 6.5 percent to 62.176 billion euros ($86.55 billion), according to chamber forecasts.

Smaller companies which are in debt are seen to be more at risk in the recession, experts say.

But Boselli said there were positive signs for the industry such as a 1.1 percent increase in industrial production.

While sales in fashion boutiques have fallen in the last two months, those for outlets rose, he said.

"This means that people still want designer brands but are no longer able to pay the full price," he said.   Continued...