The 15th edition of Milano Unica, the Italian Textile Exhibition held from September 11-13 in Milan's FieraMilanoCity, maintained stable attendance results this year despite the ongoing economic crisis. Fair president Silvio Albini called the event “an extraordinary edition which has brought a needed boost of confidence.” Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s opening comments touched on the involvement and commitment of Italy’s textile entrepreneurs' as worldwide ambassadors of Made in Italy products and virtuous examples of supporters and drivers of the Italian economy. He voiced assurance that his time in government would involve studying ways to reduce fiscal pressure and help Italian companies become more competitive.

458 exhibitors, 74 of whom were European, presented their fall/winter 2013-2014 fabric collections. Attendance surpassed 21,000 visitors, about the same number as attended the September 2011 edition, thus dispersing previous concerns due to negative sector trends.

Once again, international visitors added a welcome surplus to Milano Unica with an overall increase in foreign visitors: China (+75%), Japan (+12%) and Russian Federation (+4%). European presence remained about the same with a slight increase in Italy’s own attendees and a marked decline in UK visitors.

Albini said, “The success of these three days confirms that we must look courageously towards those new market powerhouses to organize a more efficient network. The key is to face these challenges by working together as a team. An increase in Chinese visitors further confirms our decision to directly approach that enormous market by taking Milano Unica to Shanghai from October 22-25. Our traditional European and American markets represent over 50% (in volume) of our total turnover, so it is very important to keep them in mind as well.”

Emerging fashion designers were also taken into account in the event’s ON Stage fashion show, which showed the collections of ten newcomers at Milan Hypodrome in collaboration with Woolmark. Meanwhile, established brands presented new projects and innovations. Swarovski unveiled a crystal key collaboration with Yoko Ono as well as a series of new cuts including Xirius, a diamond-cut that creates higher light reflection effects than ever before. A series of neon color crystal pearls and iridescent crystal pendants ranging from orange to fuchsia completed their offer.

Cotton specialist Olympias launched a new ribbed woven cotton that is as soft and comfortable as jersey and sweatshirt material. Thermore, the manufacturer of thermic insulation padding materials, launched a collaboration with Zegna Sport offering Thermore TMK, a material made with 50% recycled polyester fibers. They also presented Rinnova padding, developed for Geox and made with 100% PET recycled fibers. Schoeller showed a special combination called Corkshell, a coating technology made with cork added to washable woolen fabrics. Finally, zipper manufacturer YKK presented a series of new closures, including zippers that look like metal but were made with plastic material, making them much lighter than average zippers.