Marcolin: «A reform plan for fashion» – – MF Fashion

Cirillo Marcolin, president of Confindustria moda

“The perfect storm.” That is how Cirillo Marcolinpresident of Confindustria moda defines the succession of events that have overwhelmed the world economy. From Covid to the increase in the costs of raw materials and energy, up to the war between Russia and Ukraine. From 2020 to today, the Italian fashion system has gone through a series of vicissitudes that have seriously compromised the survival of SMEs, the true lifeblood of the country. The companies in the area on which the competitiveness of the textile-clothing and accessory sectors is based, brought together by the federation, which is now focusing more than ever on synergies and acceleration of green and digital processes to support small and medium-sized Made in Italy companies . “Because nothing can be done alone,” he stressed in this interview with MFF Marcolin.

How is the economic picture evolving for the textile-fashion-accessories macro sector?

In 2020 we lost 30 billion out of 100 billion in production value. 2021 was a year characterized by a full-fledged recovery at the end of the year, with a recovery of around 22% on pre-covid and the achievement of 90 billion in turnover. Some sectors had reached pre-Covid. For 2022 we do not yet have certain data. Based on the estimates, we know that the first quarter had started well, there had also been a recovery in 2021 estimated at around 14% which bode well for a return to pre-Covid levels. In the light of today we must say that the situation has changed. At the end of last year, both I and many exponents of the Confindustria world, starting with the president Andrea Bonomi, had already pointed out the criticality of some issues, such as the increase in the cost of raw materials, the difficulty in finding them and the increase in cost of energy. Everything was emphasized in this perfect storm from the crisis of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

How heavy is the war on Made in Italy luxury?

Often there is a tendency to downplay the extent of the conflict because we look at the confindustrial data of the fashion world where the incidence of exports to the Russian and Ukrainian market does not exceed 2.2%. But we cannot forget that there are different realities, for example the footwear industry. There are districts, such as the Brenta or the Marche, where some companies had concentrated on the creation of ad hoc products for the Russian market and now the expected loss of turnover is over 50%.

So are there sectors that are suffering the most?

Footwear, but goldsmithing also suffers because it has a series of materials that come from Russia. In textiles there are derivatives of some combustible products, for tanning many leather goods were imported from Ukraine. The situation could benefit some non-EU competitors by eroding market share in our sector. If the conflict continues there will be a large number of businesses that will be forced to close.


For now they are trying to digest the increase in costs and the reduction in margins but we cannot forget that the companies represented by Confindustria Moda are small / medium-sized and have already passed through Covid, they do not have an adequate capital and financial structure for support investments in production and new collections and would find themselves having to push down the price increase. But the consumer could give up buying, leading to a reduction in consumption, a recession, a reduction in GDP … Someone even talks about stagflation.

What position does it have on sanctions?

Confindustria’s position is that they are right and must also be tightened up. This certainly does not benefit the companies and associations I represent but we must say that the humanitarian crisis is the most disastrous part of the general picture. If we all aim for peace, we will also favor an economic restart.

As an association in which direction are you moving?

The government must continue to work for the most urgent things, starting with the major structural reforms. We have medium-long term problems, as evidenced by the energy policy that was adopted with dependence on Russia, the difficulties in starting with renewables and there is no clear vision that facilitates those who support initiatives in the perspective of the circular economy . The first direction is to push for the government to take a strong policy and be a great guide for business. The second consideration, which the president made Bonomi, is aiming for a ceiling on the cost of energy to incentivize companies to continue working. Then go towards a production that is as green as possible. Customers ask us. If I look up the supply chain, the big brands ask for it downstream, if the companies I represent look at it, it is the final consumer.

In a green key, what actions need to be taken?

SMEs are in difficulty in implementing this path and here a system policy is necessary that sees on the one hand the companies willing to invest to transform their production processes, on the other the associations and federation that I represent careful to accompany them in this path of important transformation. Last but not least, the government must undertake tax exemption and contribution policies aimed at facilitating companies that are willing to transform their production, samples and products.

Concrete examples?

Smi recently created Retex green, a consortium made up exclusively of Italian producers for the management of waste from the textile world. There is a European legislation that provides for the separate collection for the textile fraction of waste from 2025 and Italy and France the process has already started. Confindustria Moda must focus on SMEs that do not have the capital and skills to respond to the demands of the big brands. In this case, I was pleased to see that a new pole of subcontractors led by Matteo Marzotto (view MFF of 1 April) with the desire to create a system and offer an integrated product to the major luxury brands. Finally, the House of Representatives recently decided to support the growth of production chains by encouraging requests on a series of initiatives to recover raw materials from sources other than traditional ones, favor and accelerate ecological transitions through taxation processes and strengthen the fight against counterfeiting that demeans the product .

What about digitization?

I believe that it can represent and has already represented during the pandemic a great solution for big brands and it will have to be for small businesses, which will have to be supported to access it at low cost.

Have you experienced actual growth in the US market?

I think it’s a natural enough reaction. With the Russian situation and with the slowdown in tourism from this country, America has once again become a point of reference. It is a mature, very aggressive country with high purchasing power consumers. So it can be the first road to recovery.

What is the message you want to send out?

Nothing can be done alone, small and beautiful no longer exists. I believe that unity is strength and that associations alone are no longer sufficient. The federation I represent today brings together 60,000 companies, over 500,000 employees, generates 90 billion in turnover and I believe that creating a system is the answer to these problems, together with trade unions and the government to look to the future with greater optimism. (All rights reserved)

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