The fashion week in Milan begins on February 23 and, like in other metropolises, will take place almost entirely digitally - apart from a few presentations to which a limited number of buyers and media representatives have been invited.

On the opening night from Tuesday to Wednesday, a digital party with a DJ set will be streamed on the @fashionweekonline account via Instagram, where interested parties can join in live.

It has now been a year since the virus turned the grand opening party in 2020 into a “super spreader event”.

Time to take a look at the impact the pandemic is having on the Italian fashion industry.

Despite the disaster a year ago, Milan does not want Fashion Week to take place completely without contact with the outside world.

In order to include the residents of the fashion city, there is the possibility of watching live shows by big names such as Armani, Prada, Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana in various public places in central Milan.

The Italian fashion chamber wants to ensure that measures such as social distancing are observed.

“It will be a symbolic gesture,” said chairman and managing director Carlo Capasa to the fashion industry magazine Business of Fashion.

“A reminder for the people of Milan that fashion is still part of everyone's life, despite the crisis.

Creativity and efficiency are indestructible and still embody the values ​​of the city. "

Sales collapse in tourism

In addition to the ideal value of the Fashion Week for Italy as the former epicenter of fashion, the pandemic has above all brought economic consequences for the country.

Every year in February and March, thousands of fashion experts, celebrities, influencers and models usually cavort in the fashion capitals of the world to attend the runway shows.

In recent years, each of the four Milan Fashion Weeks has generated around 30 million euros in sales in establishments such as hotels and restaurants.

Capasa expects these revenues to decrease by at least 80 percent.

In 2020 there were more bankrupt stores than before


The latest statistics from data specialist Bold Data also show that the fashion industry is ailing nationwide, apart from the income from Fashion Week.

The number of existing fashion houses in Italy decreased by four percent in 2020.

Last year, 10,697 stores filed for bankruptcy or closed their doors for the full year.

Only 3,716 aspiring fashion entrepreneurs tried their luck by opening a new shop during the pandemic.

That's a 39 percent decrease from 2019, when 5,158 new stores opened.

In the fashion capital Milan, in particular, there was a nine percent decline in fashion stores compared to the 2017 figures.

The corona crisis is driving a trend that has lasted for a long time if you look back on the development of the past four years.

According to the Bold Data surveys, men's clothing stores have fallen by a full 57 percent since 2017, and women's fashion stores by 46 percent.

It is noticeable that large fashion chains do not seem to be affected by this or that they have more stamina financially than other entrepreneurs: the number of shops that offered clothing for the whole family has remained more or less the same in recent years, with a number of 117,106 Shops in December 2020.

Is Italy doing worse than other countries?


Despite the pandemic, the global trend looks different in many countries.

According to studies by Bold Data, the number of newly opened fashion stores has increased by 25 percent worldwide since 2017.

South America in particular grew by 43 percent, but Europe has also recorded 323,214 new fashion stores, an increase of 33 percent in recent years.

Only Italy shows this downward trend, which has now been driven even further by Corona.

The good news is that despite poor forecasts, the country can benefit from an economic cushion from the fashion industry.

In 2021, Italy still has a total of 178,656 fashion stores.

This is almost twice as much as in Germany (109,906 shops) and France (103,810 shops), with Italy having the smallest population in a comparison of these countries.

In the long term, the prerequisites may well be in place to be able to drive the economy and the fashion industry forward again in the post-pandemic period.