While this edition of Micam — which wraps on Wednesday, Sept. 18 — celebrates the show’s 50th anniversary, it is also very much focused on the future of the international shoe industry.
Leading the charge is Siro Badon, who took on the four-year role of president for both Micam and Assocalzaturifici, the Italian shoe association, this summer. The executive, who heads up the company De Robert in Italy and is also chairman of the Brenta Riviera footwear manufacturers’ association, assumed the post from Annarita Pilotti.
“For us, we are convinced that made-in-Italy has a strong power, especially considering all the big brands are made here,” said Badon, who has been active in his family’s business since 1976. (Like many Italian shoe companies, De Robert is very much a family affair and Badon works closely with his brother, sons and nephews.)
While the domestic landscape in Italy continues to be a challenge, the country’s export business remains solid. “The Italian situation isn’t easy at all, but our producers have always been lucky to have international business,” he said. (In the first five months of 2019, Italian footwear exports experienced a slight reduction in volume, with an 8.4% increase in value.)
At the top of the global target list? China, which remains the biggest opportunity for Italy.
But the executive is concerned about situations in many other countries. “We’re worried about [political turmoil] in the U.S., the Brexit situation, Russia and the economic crisis going on in Germany,” Badon said.
In the U.S. market, Micam has been focused on supporting FN Platform and the Italian exhibitors there. The show has also worked to bring a more diverse group of American buyers to Milan each season.
Back at home in Italy, Badon encouraged companies to focus on the fast-growing segments, such as e-commerce and athletic, which are growing amid overall weakness — thanks to millennial demand.