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History of Italian Fashion


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History of Italian Fashion

The culture of the prominent country Italy can be seen through its food,

music, cinema, and especially fashion. Italy is one of the biggest fashion

powerhouses in the world to date. With designers such as Gucci, Giorgio Armani,

Dolce and Gabbana, Ferragamo, Fendi, Prada, and Versace, it is no wonder why Italy

is a global hot spot for high quality apparel. However, Italy wasn’t always the

fashion icon that it is today. At a point in time Italy took a back seat to London and

Paris in regards to fashion. Soon after its splurge in arts, music, and, fashion that

Italy took during the Renaissance; it quickly fell to the feet of English, Spanish, and

French industries. France eventually proved itself to be the superior fashion

industry in Europe for a long period of time. It wasn’t until after World War II where

Italy decided to take a huge leap back towards supplying and exporting high-grade

clothing, and rebuilding its fashion industry.

Post-World War II, many European countries had been in desperate need to

rebuild their economies. Seeing as how the United States was one of the few

countries that maintained its buying power directly after the war, Italy had decided

to keep its focus on marketing towards them. This was the first instance where Italy

was able to compete with the dominant French fashion industry to gain the United

States’ attention. A man by the name of Giovanni Battista Giorgini gave Italy the

upper hand over France by hosting the first ever fashion show, encouraging models

to wear articles inspired by the Italian culture. These clothes were showcased to

wealthy Americans and Canadians, who quickly noticed how attractive Italian

fashion was, and how much cheaper it was in relation to French attire. This both

gave the rich a larger market, along with a lavish taste of Italian culture. Due to

these series of events, the Italian fashion industry is listed as being born in February

Overtime, it became impossible for Italy to go unnoticed in the fashion world,

seeing as how celebrities throughout Hollywood were wearing various Italian

clothes as early as the 1970s. Even the First Lady, Jackie Kennedy had been spotted

wearing Italian designer clothing. Having been seen on numerous notable people,

Italy’s wardrobe vastly gained universal trust for its both comfortable and quality

material. Italian fashion had became more complex as different Italian cities such as

Florence, Milan and Rome began adopting their own tastes and styles, and even

soon began to compete with each other. Unfortunately, due to the fact that many

Italian fashion companies are family-owned businesses, ownership is usually passed

down generation to generation. Therefore, this practice ceases to add to economic

growth, while also hindering innovation within the company. Despite this fact, the

fashion industry is the third largest sector of Italy’s industrial economy, employing

more than one million workers.1

Today, in the 21 st century Italy is facing economic turmoil, with the youth

unemployment at an alarming 40%. There are also less young Italians involved in

fashion today because the work force for Italy’s fashion industry has a multitude of

middle-aged designers, who have already perfected their craft. Arrival into this

industry may prove to be intimidating to young Italians, making them more insecure

and hesitant to come up with new, innovative ideas. Another reason for this

generation gap is because Italians aren’t big fans of manual labor, and the best

fashion accessories aren’t completely made by machine, but in actuality, are

additionally crafted by hand. Thankfully, although Italians themselves might not be

the best market to pursue, Italian fashion outlets have an international market. One

of the most international brands of Italian fashion is Gucci.

Gucci is one of the oldest, and most popular Italian fashion brands to date,

being created in 1921. It’s green and red strip pattern, along with its double “G” logo

is undoubtedly one of the most popular clothing brands you’ll find, regardless of the

country you’re in. Gucci alone can help rebuild Italy’s economy, being the country’s

largest selling brand, generating 4.2 billion in revenue in 2008. Additionally, brands

such as Prada and Ferragamo generated approximately 2.15 billion, and 1,152.9

million, respectively. Consequently, it is obvious that these upscale fashion brands

generate high amounts of revenue to Italy and globally as well.


Today, the four major fashion hotspots globally are New York City, Paris,

Tokyo, and of course, Italy.2 Many would argue that Italy has taken France’s place

as the global trendsetter in the fashion world, and it is easy to see why. Italy, itself is

a work of art, immersed with culture. Roman relics still remain, proving the Italian’s

appreciation of art and culture. Being surrounded by so much art, it’s near

impossible not to adopt an artistic eye, and the most apparent way to show off one’s

art is through what they wear. Thus, why Italian fashion continues to be innovative,

and seems to never taking a break. Although the comfort aspect of Italian fashion

has been compromised, the quality material and elegance of Italian fabrics remains

top-tier. Italians take pride in how they look, and therefore are willing to make the

sacrifice of being uncomfortable in their tight, sleek clothing. The “made in Italy”

label is recognized across the globe as a quality stamp of approval.


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