Before taking the Fashion Marketing & Merchandising class
at CEA in Florence, I’d never considered all the work that goes into making a piece of clothing. While I have noticed direct marketing to the consumers, I never knew that textile makers must market their products to their buyers. During our class visit to the Pitti Filati fashion trade show in Florence with Professor Tamara Evans, we saw how fabric companies create unique product displays to stand out from other companies and appeal to buyers. One rather elaborate display of material was modeled after Alice in Wonderland, and was truly a magical, fairy-tale land of colorful mushrooms, lollipops, and animals—all constructed out of the material they were selling! Considering that one of the hardest aspects of making a sale is attracting the attention of buyers, this display definitely succeeded, as it stood out considerably from those of other fabric companies present.
At Pitti Filati we also learned about various approaches to selling fabric. One technique, such as that described above, is to focus on originality, to create a display unlike anyone else’s. Another is to highlight how the product is made, as seen for instance in a large section advertising materials made from all natural dyes, certain to have appealed to textile manufacturers eager to tap into the currently very popular Eco-friendly market.
The purpose of a fashion industry trade show is to bring vendors and potential buyers together in one area so they can easily compare and view products at once, often with a unifying theme or themes. One major theme of this edition of Pitti was Eco-friendly material, as seen in many earth-based tones and colors present. The more prestigious exhibitors were working and making deals in a much more private setting, out of sight from most of the general public. Together with the trade show was a vintage market, an important event was connected to Pitti Filati. While the trade show was designed for companies to buy in bulk, the vintage market allowed visitors to do some personal shopping while in Florence.
Visiting the Pitti trade show was an amazing learning experience, not to mention a lot of fun, and definitely something I would participate in again. I had a great time not only learning about the fashion industry in Florence but also the global aspects of the trade.
By Rachel Azumbrado, San Diego State University
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