Exclusive / Text by Linda Al Ali

Alberto Zambianchi , the thirteenth president of Unioncamere Emilia-Romagna since its foundation in 1965.. Distinguish by his experience in the field of fashion.. we had this interview with him to talk more about Italian fashion towards Dubai & more about the market trends.

Could you tell us more about the project ‘Italian fashion towards Dubai’ and how the initiative was born?

Given the importance of this sector for the regional economic fabric, the intent was to enhance the high-quality fashion system of the Emilia-Romagna – respecting the identity, manufacturing origins and competence of the entire supply chain – accompanying and supporting companies in a process of approach and commercial presence in the Dubai area, in the United Arab Emirates, in view of the Expo. The objective of the Project, born in 2019, was to learn about new ways of marketing products and presenting them to a multi-ethnic and constantly growing world of consumers like that of the United Arab Emirates, laying the foundations for a subsequent integrated participation in the universal exposition in Dubai. After the success of the first edition in 2019, the project was reconfirmed at the beginning of 2020, but soon it had to face the Covid-19 pandemic, which “overwhelmed” this initiative and the lives of all of us. The project accordingly pursued the path outlined, strengthening the approach to the UAE market through an enhancement of communication and promotion actions also from a digital perspective and obtained success in this new mode as well.

Why do you think is so important the relation and connection between companies and institutions?

Institutions in the area can offer concrete support to the companies. Support is not just purely promotional, but also is able to offer a direct experience by creating potential marketing opportunities and considerable visibility through a fruitful collaboration between public and private. An aggregate project allows companies to reach high-level interlocutors, within an institutional framework that guarantees the quality and reliability of the proposed brands. Synergistic cooperation can lead to unexpected results, which could not be individually achieved.

Why do you think United Arab Emirates is an important market in the internalization process of these local companies?

The UAE market has confirmed that it can offer many opportunities to regional companies, configuring itself as economic and geo-strategic hub. The local population is very young, with a high per capita income and sensitive to the suggestions of international fashion and marketing. The concepts of quality and uniqueness related to Italy and its productions have been unquestionably recognized by all local stakeholders. Undoubtedly, the Dubai Universal Exposition is also an element of attraction for promoting the brands of Emilia-Romagna companies on the international market.

Tell us more about the ‘Italian fashion towards Dubai’ Showcase event in Galeries Lafayette? Did you meet your expectations in terms of results?

The event was organized as part of the Italian Fashion Towards Dubai project, promoted by Unioncamere Emilia-Romagna and supported by Chamber of Commerce System and the Emilia-Romagna Region, in collaboration of the ICE office of Dubai and a pool of trained professionals and experts in internationalization and communication.

It was the first mission in presence with companies abroad after many months for business, accompanied in the new frontier imposed by the emergency. It was also a preview of the Universal Expo, a springboard for the restart of trades and international relations in an area to which our region looks forward. There is undoubtedly satisfaction for the positive outcome of the innovative workshops and business meetings between companies and local operators in a prestigious setting.

Which are the strengths of the called “Fashion Valley” in Emilia-Romagna region?

First, the significant presence of small and medium-sized enterprises. Artisanal production is a value, and the fashion sector is one of its distinctive ones. It is a region made up of brilliant entrepreneurs and extraordinary workers who, also with the support of the institutions, have always been able to play as a team.

Emilia-Romagna is considered the first region for “smart manufacturing”, registering 27.6% of its total employees, highly specialized with world-renowned clusters. It is the first Italian area in per capita exports and boasts over 6,600 active companies of which 300 are footwear manufacturers and 600 knitwear manufacturers.

The unique, exclusive, and high-quality products of SMEs attract the interest of major fashion brands, including international ones. It is an entrepreneurial base that, in its commitment to finding new markets, receives constant support from public bodies for promotion in Italy and abroad.

In your opinion, which are the main challenges of the fashion industry after this period of global crisis?

The world of “fashion” has always been one of the sectors driving the regional economy and spreading the value of “made in Italy” throughout the world. There has been further confirmation of this with the emergency caused by Covid19. Some brands have not only managed to withstand the health crisis, but also the economic one.

Thinking back to what has happened, it can be observed that the crisis has given the possibility of regaining a more human dimension by giving more space to values ​​such as courage, solidarity, and the spirit of sacrifice.

Then the importance of investments in digitization emerged once again, but for this to become a strategic tool, adequate infrastructures, data protection and training are needed. The Chambers of Commerce have always supported companies on this path and are committed to doing it even more. Certainly, to overcome this critical phase, it is necessary to multiply the initiatives, enhancing the services and activating supply chain projects in the sectors of excellence of our manufacturing.

Do you feel that COVID-19 will help us focus more on local brands with the new travel and shipping limitations?

Uniqueness, quality and tradition remain the fundamental elements of the sector and constitute the basis from which organizing any recovery initiative. In particular, the products, expression of manufacturing skill and ability to adapt to the needs of every single new market, can find adequate support in the increasingly use of innovative platforms. E-commerce and social media tools can significantly contribute to a considerable increase in the commercial exchange of our SMEs.





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