Special Report – Italy

Special Report – Italy 🇮🇹

Live from the Market

Posted on January 10th 2024, written by Andrea Guolo et Silvia Manzoni

In spite of a strong start to the year, the Italian textile industry saw slowed growth in 2023, with the global economic context adversely impacting the robust gains seen in 2022. The industry’s 2022 results had topped pre-Covid levels in terms of export value (€4.4 billion, +29% versus 2021), on par with the particularly strong 2018 – which exceeded 2019, regarded as a benchmark year – with a turnover of just under €8 billion and production value of over €6 billion.

A report released at the end of November by the Centro Studi di Confindustria Moda for Sistema Moda Italia (an association of textile and clothing companies) confirmed that sales in the sector rose by an average of 7.1% in the first half of the year compared with the equivalent period in 2022. However, the figures covered both fabric and yarn companies and garment manufacturers and therefore cannot be directly compared with the above figures.

Declining Exports

With industrial production down 9.8% in the first nine months of 2023, the negative effect on sales strongly impacted the final balance sheet for the second semester and even more so figures for the start of 2024. The effects of this slowdown were also reflected in international sales results, particularly in France and Germany, the two leading destination markets for Italian fabrics.

Clothing Inventories Remain High

The slowdown began in April and became more pronounced in the latter part of the year. According to a report by strategy consulting firm PwC Italia, Italy’s textile supply chain was also impacted from the end of summer 2023 by the behavior of customers in the fashion and luxury sector. They were more cautious with new orders, especially for permanent products, for which inventories remain abundant.

“Even manufacturers who experienced relative growth in the resurgence of formal clothing are now experiencing a slowdown, following the success of the more casual styles that had taken hold since the pandemic,” says Omar Cadamuro, a partner at PwC Italia.

Sustainability, But Step by Step

Another aspect highlighted by PwC Italy is that demand for more sustainable fabrics, such as single-material products, remains largely on paper, especially regarding large volumes. Experimentation with recyclable and circular materials continues, although brands seem to be motivated more by other criteria including technical performance, the availability of new print styles and competitive prices.

“Even the advances made by the regulatory authorities are not enough to bring about a real change of regime, and the effect on environmental impact is still marginal,” cautions Cadamuro.

A Medium-Term Strategy
Picture: Towel Studio

At industry level, operators are replenishing intermediate stocks, some of which had been completely depleted during two years of post-pandemic growth.

The aim of this replenishment is to maintain the capacity levels of factories which would otherwise be forced to reduce their workforce. In general, the long lead times in textile production linked to the cycles of natural and synthetic raw materials make it impossible to respond to short-term “schizophrenic” demand, hence the need to base strategies on medium-term forecasts, also in anticipation of a future upturn in demand.

The Italian textile industry cannot afford to resort to redundancies or social shock absorbers. At a time when the search for specialized staff is critical, there is a risk of losing valuable skills that are crucial to success, as a key element of innovation. These skills enable ‘Made in Italy’ to maintain a level of quality consistent with its top-of-the-range positioning, which is essential if it is to remain competitive and ensure its role as an industry benchmark in the global market.

According to PwC Italia, “Collaborations with technical institutes of higher education and a communication strategy aimed at promoting the sector and its know-how are some of the levers that can be activated by companies to meet these demands for excellence.”

Encouraging Synergies

Italy’s entrepreneurial fabric is highly fragmented, with a number of strategies at play: from the acquisition of suppliers by luxury holding companies to private equity funding and supply chain synergies of manufacturers of fabrics, leathers, components and fashion accessories.

“It is certain that the fragmentation of the Italian industrial landscape will allow other operations to be carried out in the future that could lead to synergies in terms of costs and operations and contribute to the managerialization of the sector,” concludes Cadamuro.

In other words, the number of companies will decrease, but those that remain will have a larger workforce and greater production capacity.

Ones to watch (very) closely…

Discover our selection of brands making waves on the Italian market

Present in 45 countries on 3 continents
2022 sales: €492 million

Italian apparel company founded in 1995 by brothers Marco and Vannis Marchi in Carpi, in the province of Modena, a district renowned for its excellence in knitwear.

The brand is present in 45 countries across 3 continents – Europe, Africa and Asia – thanks to a retail network comprising 280 mono-brand stores and some 5,000 multi-brand stores worldwide.

In November 2019, Liu Jo bought Blufin, the couture house founded in Carpi by Anna Molinari and Gianpaolo Tarabini with the establishment of the Blumarine brand, in a deal that led to the formation of “Eccellenze Italiane”, a holding company for high-end brands focused on accessible luxury lifestyle ready-to-wear for men, women and children.

In 2022, sales reached €492 million.

Marco Marchi, founder and CEO, has just announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the Liu Jo Uomo project, which will be implemented thanks to a 51% stake in a new company created for this purpose with the transfer of activities by Co.Ca.Ma. S.r.l, the licensee of the brand’s men’s collection since 2012. Giuseppe Nardelli, founder and CEO of Co.Ca.Ma, will retain 49% of NewCo and his operational functions.

“This acquisition gives us greater credibility in the men’s sector after 25 years in the women’s market. We expect our men’s line to reach 70 million in sales by 2024.”

Website :

Turnover of over €100 million
Recent openings in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Paris and Milan

Luxury streetwear brand launched in 2015.

Sales of over €100 million.

Men’s ready-to-wear represents 80% of sales. The objective is to develop the women’s segment and accessories, starting with sneakers and eyewear.

Palm Angels currently has 13 stores. Recent openings have been in New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Paris and Milan, and soon in Orange County (California).

A brand rooted in an Italian vision of American subcultures.

The brand is part of the New Guards Group holding company, acquired in 2019 by Farfetch. A collaboration with Tod’s was launched in November

Website :

Turnover of €4.3 million in 2023
Produces approximately 75,000 pieces per year
Openings planned for France, Spain and the UK

Following a repositioning and rebranding in 2021, the leather-goods specialist owned by the Abl Group ended its SS 24 sales campaign with a 15% increase.

This upward trend, a mere two years after its launch, has helped the brand reach €4.3 million in total sales – up 35% over 2022 – with the goal of 5 million by 2024.

New developments are also in store for the brand’s collaboration with Poli.Design, a project targeting women’s empowerment which is currently focusing on ways to avoid waste.

The collection, co-branded with the university and conceived by students, will also focus on the sustainability of the materials used, with major developments planned in terms of innovation and recycling.

Rebelle produces some 75,000 pieces a year and is sold through a network of premium/entry-to-luxury multi-brand stores, with a significant presence in the European market. Openings are scheduled for France, Spain and the UK.

Website :

90% of turnover generated abroad
2022 revenues of €15 million

Distributed in over 150 luxury retailers worldwide, in addition to two single-brand stores, this bag, shoe and accessory brand is gaining increasingly international appeal.

Over the past two years, Rodo’s sales, 90% of which are generated abroad, have grown steadily at this brand, which was founded in Florence in 1956 and now employs 140 people.

In 2021, sales totaled €13 million, in 2022 they hit the €15 million mark, and by 2023 the brand is expected to reach €18 million. Rodo is present in Europe, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and the USA.

Website :

2023 sales of €21.9 million
Childrens fashion / High-end

The Arezzo-based brand specializing in high-end children’s fashion closed the first half of 2023 with consolidated sales of €21.9 million, down 3% over the €22.6 million registered in the first half of 2022. Adjusted EBITDA stood at €2 million (€2.2 million in 2022), or 9.1% of turnover.

Retail sales figures were positive, up 5% over the first semester of 2022, with turnover of €8.2 million compared to €7.8 million in 2022.

A new industrial project, integrating the brand and distribution strategies of the prior business plan with growth through licensing or production agreements with adult fashion brands, aims to increase both revenues as well as the Group’s profitability.

Website :

Ready-to-wear / High-end
2022 turnover: €13 million

Rosso 35, a high-end women’s ready-to-wear brand owned by Silky srl, is set to close 2023 by surpassing growth targets fixed at the start of the year, and is introducing new retail developments.

The company, which closed 2022 with €13 million in turnover, expects to exceed the €15 million target set for the current year.

The brand is present in over 40 countries in 900 multi-brand stores, in addition to a mono-brand store in Milan.

Website :

The eye of Tranoï

Tranoï, the trade show partner specializing in young international designers, shares its pick of emerging Italian-based brands to follow


Accessories / Bags


With a special focus on materials, the brand harnesses the versatility of nappa leather, denim, laminated leather and raffia to create casual bags with a sporty essence, designed for everyday life.

Photo : T_COAT


Ready to wear

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Founded in 2019 by designer Massimiliano Legrenzi, this Italian brand entered the world of fashion intent on reinventing unisex outerwear.

The result: a collection with contemporary, fashion-forward silhouettes thanks to top-quality manufacturing and finishings, and details that make all the difference.

(Re)discover our special report #1: the United States →

See you next month for our special report #3 on the French market.