Tuesday evening, the Consulate General of Italy hosted an important reception, Italy@NYC, in collaboration with the Italian Trade Commission, to celebrate Italian Style and the participation of the best in Italian fashion in New York Fashion Week 2020 and the Coterie Fashion Show at the Jacob Javits Center. The reception was attended by the Italian Trade Commissioner, Mr. Antonino Laspina, members of the Italian community, as well as industry experts, designers, journalists and top models, all connected to Italy in some manner.
Consul General Francesco Genuardi made it a point to applaud the “big, fantastic Italian contingent” that will be represented at the Coterie Fashion Show — 60 Italian companies, from Ready-to-Wear Italian fashion for women, to accessories, expressing how extremely proud he was of this “superstar, super ‘Dream Team’ presence of Italian companies”, and how “they represent what Italy is about, this perfect combination between design, manufacturing; and the common feature is the obsession for quality”. The Consul General’s speech during the reception was full of immense enthusiasm and pride that reverberated throughout:
“They are here, often they are our unsung heroes, often we don’t have the time and the will to praise them, but I want to say here in public how much the Italian institutions in New York are grateful for their role, for what they do, and for what they do in New York City, one of the world’s capitals, if not the big world capital also of fashion [.…] We want to take this opportunity as Italian institutions in New York, opening the doors to everybody, to say how much Italy owes to the fashion, to the clothing, to the factories in Italy–to this sector, not just in economic terms. Maybe in a few seconds Director of Trade, Commissioner Laspina, can update you also on the flow of trade, of increased trade in fashion between Italy and the US; but really how much Italy owes to the fashion sector in terms of national identity, national culture, history–and let me say very loudly–national pride, because we are all very, very proud of this Italian contribution to the creativity of the world, and the message tonight here at the Italian Consulate is that the Italian Consulate is the home of all you creators and entrepreneurs. You’re the real ambassadors, consuls, of Italy, here in New York. We owe you a lot, we are grateful, we support you. Be aware, make no mistake, Italy is a great country, be proud of your country, be proud of Italian fashion, and be aware that there is a big and very well connected Italian team behind you that can support you and can really work with you. This is your home, welcome home, welcome back home, viva l’Italia, viva la moda italiana, e viva New York!”
Following an exuberant applause for the Consul General’s speech, and with excitement in the air, the Italian Trade Commissioner, Antonino Laspina, took the floor, continuing the momentum that had been created by expressing how:
“it is very important to start creating a sense of community, among all the subjects, the players, of fashion, because I think it is important, particularly for Italian fashion, based also on small companies, to know that they can count on the institutions here, but also that they can count on what I call ‘the context’. The Italian companies that are exhibiting at Coterie are companies with a very great sense of quality. As already mentioned, the obsession for quality has a very long tradition, but it is first of all the expression of our country that is still at the center of the creative world in fashion and the manufacturing sector. Unfortunately, in the US, although exports are going quite well, there is a certain perception of the fact that Italy is only the center of the creative section of fashion, while manufacturing has moved out”.
Commissioner Laspina then went on to discuss Italy’s brilliance not only with regard to its creativity within the fashion world, but also, importantly, in its manufacturing style — that also aims for sustainability and going ‘green’:
“The 60 companies that are here, and also the 50 companies that came just one month ago, the manufacturing of men’s fashion, are the expression of what Italy is today. It is maybe the only country in the world that is able to combine this creative moment with a manufacturing style. And manufacturing also means to be in line with new trends in the manufacturing industry in fashion: sustainability, a green approach, for instance, some very, very green processing of raw materials. For instance, natural fibers are becoming a kind of essential expression of Italian roots. The finishing quality I think, has no competition anymore, so I think it’s the time to put all the players together and try to start a reset of this kind of penetration of the Italian compass in this market, because maybe we are well equipped as a country to satisfy the new trends of consumers here in this market”.
In his closing, Trade Commissioner Laspina discussed the importance of coming together within the business community in order to be successful, specifying that the Italian Trade Commission has a plan to expand to other parts of the United States, to those areas within the country that are not the usual hubs for Italian businesses:
“We can be successful only if we are going have this kind of business community; institutions are ready, we know we can also count on Italian companies. Mine, at this moment, is an invitation to the people of the press, the experts, the buyers, the importers; to count on our assistance. We have a promotional plan that is going to expand our advancement in other sections of the country. We are thinking about activities, fashion shows, in the heartland of the great, American country. We would like to know, we would like to count on the fact that potential buyers, potential investors in this Italian business, are able to look at us as a full support. We would like to show them that every time we have an invitation for buyers to go to Italy, this is coming out of a selection of quality. We are coming here, to this event, with the idea that by working together, we can once again make a stronger position of Italian fashion here. We are already strong, but I think the sky is the limit”.
At the end of both their speeches, Consul General Genuardi invited guests to continue enjoying the “unique combination of creativity and manufacturing, Franciacorta Spumante wine and Sant Ambroeus catering,” remarking with a smile that, “we want to be even better” than Madison Avenue. Viva l’Italia!