The 9th edition of Milano Unica, the Italian textile fair, held in Milan’s Portello fair headquarters from Sept. 8-11, ended on a moderately optimistic note.

The event registered 24,000 visitors with a slight increase in the number of buyers visiting compared to its September edition. The number of foreign buyers also increased 2.5%, with more apparel manufacturers from China and Hong Kong compared to a year ago. In addition, there were more buyers from the United States (+10%) Germany (+15%), Great Britain (+8%), the Russian Federation (+18%), Brazil (+20%), Canada (+11%) and Korea (+29%) compared to its February edition.

At the same time, the show hosted 486 exhibitors, 7% fewer compared to last year’s edition (382 from Italy). And while stagnation persists in the textile business, this September edition exhibited optimism. Great enthusiasm was expressed for the event’s success by Pier Luigi Loro Piana, President of Milano Unica and Ideabiella. “It has been a great Milano Unica,” he said, referring to the high media coverage brought to the event by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s visit and commitment to making country-of-origin labeling compulsory throughout Europe.

The "On Stage" event, which presented 10 international emerging designers, also drew much attention from visitors. “According to leading Italian and international designers and garment producers, quality, creativity and innovation incorporated into textiles on display during this exhibition were examples of extraordinary excellence, making Milano Unica an unmissable international appointment for the trade,” Massimo Mosiello, General Director of the exhibition, said.

He added: “There has never been a crisis affecting the world economy and, in particular, the textile industry such as that of the last 60 years. The growth in the number of companies that decided to exhibit while cutting cost and reducing the number of their collaborators should be interpreted as the first and true sign of countertrend. This opinion is endorsed by almost all exhibitors that adds up to the moderate optimism reported by buyers who attended this exhibition."

The 10th edition of Milano Unica is slated for Feb. 16-18, 2010 and will be staged again at Portello, the more centrally-located exhibition center in MIlan.

—Maria Cristina Pavarini