The most important international trade fair for children’s apparel Pitti Bimbo in Florence took place in January this year for the 80th time. We spoke to Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Bimbo, about beginnings, difficulties and opportunities.

“Head Designers are yet again solely responsible for children’s fashion”

Luna Journal: From your point of view, what are the most significant changes of the fair?

Raffaello Napoleone: We are experiencing great changes in children’s fashion. Distribution shifts rapidly, in Italy shops are closing down …

Luna Journal: However, you still remain very popular…

Raffaello Napoleone: Yes, change also offers opportunity. E-Commerce grows and children’s clothes manufacturers recollect their design roots. They take children’s apparel more seriously.

Luna Journal: How do you come to this conclusion?

Raffaello Napoleone: Well, I see Heads of Design self-handedly creating kid’s fashion again, and they want to stay at the wheel.

Luna Journal: Pitti Bimbo in Florence is unique and groundbreaking. The exhibition halls Fortezza Basso offer a special atmosphere and so does the location in central Florence. How long have you been in charge of Pitti Bimbo?

Raffaello Napoleone: I have been working here for 26 years. What was particular at the beginning is that we created a trade fair which is integrated into the city of Florence. With that we try to be consciously different.

Luna Journal: Still the trade fair itself has changed…

Raffaello Napoleone: That’s correct. 25 years ago all was very Italian, therefore we had a lot of festive wear that complemented the Italian life style. But things have changed considerably, so that manufacturers have reacted and recognized children’s apparel as its own fashion business with international growth potential. And we as a trade fair always come up with new ideas.

Luna Journal: So what is new?

Raffaello Napoleone: Our e-pitti-project. With this buyers on our mailing list can experience every show virtually. At the fair, we have plenty of photographers who cover each collection and put it in e-pitti.

Luna Journal: How do you rate the international market for children’s fashion?

Raffaello Napoleone: Europe will remain the prime market, Italy will be the growth market in exports having achieved already 6.9 percent. And the United States are the upcoming market!

By Cornelia Teigelkamp