Already in February, when the pandemic was not imaginable, a wall raised by the coronavirus was overcome by an intuition: to give Chinese buyers stuck at home to follow the Milanese catwalks, to arrive in Italy through streaming images, from any screen of their preference. The strategy has exceeded expectations. A crowded company joined the restricted circle of experts: “Between direct and deferred, 25 million people have been reached. For the first time, we managed to organize a virtual Fashion Week », recalls Carlo Capasa. For the president of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, the second time will be even more epochal. Both men and women will parade in September: “For the occasion we will strengthen streaming, we will extend it to other countries. We would like to have Japan, the USA, Russia, various European states. We are talking to the right interlocutors to transmit our content ».
Why is streaming so important?
We have gathered a group of consumers who have become a patrimony of the whole fashion system, giving the brands involved a popularity that otherwise they would not have had. They are not sensations, it is mathematics. A demonstration is successful if it brings together tens of thousands of people. Here we are on totally different orders of magnitude. We have learned an important lesson. And not just us: Shanghai has adopted streaming for its Fashion Week. The Chinese copy us.
What scenarios do you see for September?
Essentially two. That the international situation is resolved, then normalcy will be restored with some extra care. Or that the crisis is overcome in individual countries, including ours, but without being able to bring people from abroad. In that case, streaming will support us in an important way. Whatever happens, there is an emotional factor behind our choice: we want to send a message of cohesion.
As soon as possible, everything as before?
Not all, the value of sustainability must be taken into account. It will push you to move less, guide your choices by limiting them. I imagine, for the future, a greater intimism, with many windows open on the rest of the world. Windows that can be digital.
Could they open wide even in June, or is it too early?
In June we will create other storytelling models. If the industry has started working again, we will open virtual platforms to convey the contents of the collections and pre-collections everywhere.
The whole sounds like a downsizing of traditional events.
Physicality will continue to be irreplaceable. Who buys, wants to touch the fabric, understand its wearability. If it is the only alternative, then remote purchases are inevitable, but as a rule buyers must be able to go to the showroom, discuss each other, know the proposals of young people to choose them. We cannot deprive them of these experiences.
What does the supply chain not have to deprive itself of in order to start again?
Nobody could have imagined that in countries like Germany or England, 30% of the sector’s turnover would depend on online. It is a strategic element, so we asked the government to support those who invest in this direction.
His hope is that not even a job will be lost. Doesn’t it sound unrealistic?
Our system is like a spider web, it rests on total interdependence. In the Italian districts every piece, even small, affects the rest. The company with five thousand employees who carry out a routine job is as essential as that of five: if the small company that takes care of the embroidery of a larger one fails, the overall quality of a garment is lost. If a single ring breaks, everything collapses. Italian fashion is flexible and transversal. We must protect our uniqueness at all costs. Working together we can do great things, we had proof of this when Italy was reborn from the ashes of war. Alone you go fast, together you go far. The virus, in this sense, is very instructive.
What does she teach?
How important it is to think of the other. Today I have to stay away from those I would like to have close to not risk infecting him. If we all grow up in altruism, the whole society will mature. And he will know how to get up.
Opening: Carlo Capasa (Lecce, 1958) has been the President of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion since 2015. After working for several companies in the sector and launching the Romeo Gigli brand, in 1986 he founded the Costume National brand with his brother Ennio, leaving him after 30 years in the hands of the Sequedge fund. In 2017 he was among the creators of the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, an event dedicated to fashion companies committed to the theme of sustainable development.