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The Italian Fashion Industry kick-starts again after the pandemic

After the difficulties of the last two years, fashion has regained and strengthened its positions prior to the pandemic, with significant progress by the major brands. Growth is expected for the luxury market worldwide.
reading time: 12 min

Fashion shows are on the runway again, international buyers are back, and even tourists are returning to Italy. All these favourable signs are bringing the key players of the fashion industry back to the positive results of the past, overcoming the effects of the war triggered by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the leap in inflation, and the prospects of a slowdown in the economic cycle. The entire global fashion industry is going through a phase of change following the "exceptionally challenging conditions" of the last two years, and today the "signs of improvement in 2022" offer a clear prospect of growth (source: The State of Fashion 2022, McKinsey & Company).

More specifically, after the worst decline in history at an international level, the personal luxury goods market recorded a sudden rebound, reaching a value of EUR 288Bn in 2021. In addition to this, ''2022 had a strong start, with the United States and Europe leading the growth trend. The market performed remarkably in the first quarter of 2022, with a 17-19% growth at current exchange rates''. Despite the challenges and disruptions that happened in early 2022, the mid-term direction of the luxury market remains favourable and "market growth will reach EUR 360-380Bn by 2025" (Source: Bain & Company, Luxury 2022 Spring Update "Rerouting the Future").

Man works on a pair of shoes


In this favourable international scenario, the Italian fashion industry is showing signs of recovery and relaunch. The gradual improvement of the Italian fashion scenario is well summed up in the following analysis: "It is one of the manufacturing sectors that recorded a heavily negative performance in 2020, with the exception of some textile-clothing components specialised in products intended for sanitary use. Turnover and production fell by more than 20%, penalised by the spring lock-down and the failure to recover by domestic demand in the final part of the year, again marked by the closure of the distribution in Italy and in many international target markets.

After a negative start to the year, since spring 2021 the fashion industry has recovered a growth trend, albeit below the manufacturing one, not yet completely sufficient to offset, for the time being, the losses of the pandemic". (Source: Research Department, Intesa Sanpaolo, May 2022).

In particular, the best performances were achieved by the big national luxury players that have a strong presence in international markets, companies that are engaging in technological innovation, in the creation of new sales channels and relationships with consumers (the frontier of online technology, social media, the metaverse). Exports picked up again, driven by Asian markets and the United States. Worthy of note are the brilliant results recorded by the jewellery sector with exports growing strongly in both value and quantity and progressing well beyond pre-pandemic levels.


Intesa Sanpaolo has always shown its support to the main players of the fashion and luxury industry, playing a proactive role to ensure the satisfaction of any potential contingent financing requirements, especially following the drop in turnover due to the pandemic crisis. Intesa Sanpaolo's IMI Corporate & Investment Banking Division acted as a trusted partner for its clients, supporting them with bond issues, government-backed loans (i.e. SACE loans), new credit lines (both short and medium/long term) or extension of the duration of existing lines, as well as specific loans to support working capital and the production chain.

With regard to sustainability, thanks to an extensive and innovative tangible offering of products and services developed with a sustainable and responsible approach, Intesa Sanpaolo acts as the primary interlocutor in supporting its fashion and luxury customers through the identification and exploitation of its own ESG potential, through loans linked to the circular economy, ecology, renewable energy and, more generally, the social sector. Finally, Intesa Sanpaolo aims to guide companies in the industry towards a future where growth, sustainability, international expansion and innovation are inextricably linked.

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