Part One: Why “The Micam” Is The Leading International Footwear Fair?

09/10/2017
Part One: Why “The Micam” Is The Leading International Footwear Fair?

Photography : The MICAM

My experience of fashion week season would not be the same without a trip to Milan, except for Autumn/Winter 2017 back in February due to a personal bereavement. I made a comeback, however, at “The 84th MICAM – September Edition 2017″ to which the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) invited me. It was an honour to be part of an international delegation of 35 selected buyers and journalists to discover and report on luxury brands from the world’s leading footwear fair, “The MICAM,” based in Rho Fiera, Milan. The MICAM is an innovative platform that boasts an exhibiting area of 63,000 square meters and over 1,400 companies. Furthermore, the MICAM attracts approximately 88,000 visitors. The exhibition took place from Sunday 17th – Wednesday 20th September. I attended the MICAM for the first three days, after which I got to enjoy Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018.

The MICAM

From the get-go, an organised plan of the MICAM was firmly in place. I flew with British Airways to Linate airport, where a car awaited to take me to Una Hotel Cusani – a modern/contemporary style hotel situated in central Milan. Upon arrival, I was greeted by Francesca and Maria – Italian Trade Agency Staff who explained, in brief, the scheduled activity planned for the duration of my stay. At this point, I was feeling a little tired yet rather excited by not knowing what to expect. Nonetheless, I knew the particular purpose of my trip was to meet emerging designers, some of whom were exhibiting for the first time; thus, I was not the only newbie.

I was given a welcome pack that included a show catalogue; VIP entry badge; floor map; delegation programme; invitations to events; vouchers, offered by the MICAM, for lunch at the show venue’s restaurants, and a welcome letter. I was fully equipped and ready for action, but first, I wanted to go straight to my hotel room to unpack. My plan was to have a power nap before dinner, which did not happen – no surprise considering I had a lot to organise. There were complimentary breakfasts and dinners every day, which I enjoyed while meeting other delegates.

The MICAM – Welcome Pack

Day One –

I was up by 7 a.m. in time for breakfast and social media updates. Since my last trip with the ITA, social media marketing has grown rapidly. One of my primary goals was to provide my followers with daily updates about the MICAM, particularly in the morning and evening. To ensure I had sufficient energy for the day ahead, I had fresh fruit for breakfast along with a small portion of scrambled eggs or a croissant, and a cappuccino (you can’t beat Italian coffee!).

Una Hotel Cusani – Breakfast

After breakfast, all delegates were driven to the MICAM for a welcome meeting at 9:30 a.m. My first impression was that the MICAM exhibition space was overwhelming. Fortunately, I had a floor plan and access to the press office when I needed further guidance.

The MICAM

The day kicked off with an official welcome to The 84th MICAM by Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the MICAM President, Annarita Pilotti. Francesca kindly translated their speeches, which addressed the high taxation currently in Italy, into English. The latter has affected many companies in Italy who are having to pay forty percent tax on production costs. As a result, such companies are outsourcing manufacturers in other European countries, which may be more cost-effective but somehow dilutes the authentic quality of Italian produce, mainly leather goods, on which Italy prides itself. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni stated that the government is working on lowering tax costs to thirty percent, especially in such areas as Marche Abruzzo – well known for the production of leather accessories – which was affected by the Earthquake in central Italy in 2016.

The MICAM – Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni

The MICAM – President Annarita Pilotti

I spent the afternoon in the luxury hall to keep my search for emerging brands specific to my blog, which supports the luxury lifestyle, fashion, and beauty brands. I came across many designer brands, but six stood out for me based on innovative craftsmanship and authentic design. Furthermore, each had an interesting story to tell which developed a pleasant rapport between us.

The MICAM – Luxury Hall

Anca Stetco and MuSte Studios Bags

I stopped in my tracks when I came across the collection of designers Anca Stetco and Mariana Stetco of MuSte Studios Bags – two sisters whose work is a harmonious combination of stunning bags and shoes made in Italy. Anca Stetco is the founder and designer of luxury shoe brand Anca Stetco. Mariana Musclot Stetco is the founder and designer of MuSté Studios bags that are authentically simple in design, but yet, juxtaposed with quirky detail and funky colours. I felt an instant connection with their collections. Subsequently, a form of positive energy urged me to speak to Anca and Mariana. I appreciate their exquisite pieces, which are luxurious in quality and style. My wardrobe is relatively classic, with fun-loving elements to reflect my dynamic personality, hence my interest in Anca Stetco and MuSte Studios bags. Overall, the price point is between €300-€500. “We work with few workshops in Italy, known for high-quality production with a low markup,” says Anca and Mariana Stetco.

The MICAM – MuSte Studios Bags

The MICAM – Anca Stetco Shoes and MuSte Studios Bags

The MICAM- MuSte Studios Bags

Anca Stetco is available on www.ancastetco.com

MuSte Studios is available on www.mustestudios.com

SQUARe027

Sustainable fashion has risen in popularity over the years, along with a stronger appreciation of eco-friendly brands. I came across SQUARe027 in the emerging luxury brand section of the MICAM. The first thing I noticed was the logo in the form of a tree to symbolise the concept of adaptability. “Our uniqueness comes from being able to adapt to the needs surrounding us. We should not neglect this beaten up and exploited environment,” says Marco Zanuccoli, founder of SQUARe027. SQUARe027 is an eco-luxury brand that produces 100% vegan footwear and uses low-impact materials such as plants. Furthermore, the brand does not use leather, silk, feathers, or wool. The entire production chain of SQUARe027 is based in Italy. The spring/summer collection features a new sandal made from real onions combined with organic cotton, and the ‘Total Boot Shoe’ made from wood combined with microfibre. SQUARe027 is a respected brand that conveys a positive message about utilising more eco-friendly resources for garment and footwear production. The retail cost of SQUARe027 merchandise starts from €200. The brand is also against the killing of animals for the sake of fashion. “We respect the ecosystem and our country,” says Marco Zanuccoli.

The MICAM – SQUARe027

The MICAM – SQUARe027

The MICAM – SQUARe027

SQUARe027 is available on www.square027.com

Lamperti Milano

I came across Lamperti Milano when a stunning pair of black court shoes with a crux steel heel captured my attention. Curious to know more about the brand, I introduced myself to Erika Lamperti, who founded Lamperti Milano with her brother Federico in 2014. With a background in economics and finance, Erika decided to pursue her passion in footwear design by undertaking a design course at Central Saint Martins. The brand soon gained popularity, especially amongst the celebrity circuit. Lamperti Milano is distinctive in design, inspired by forgotten ancient stories. For example, the Hesiod’s Theogony, a poem describing the origins of the Greek gods inspired the spring-summer 2017 collection. References to the Book of Genesis are reflected in the autumn-winter 2018 collection, hence the crux heel. Lamperti Milano is stocked in Wolf and Badger in London and retails from €300. “All our products are handcrafted in the regions of Lombardy and Marche in Italy,” says Erika.

The MICAM – Lamperti Milano

The MICAM – Lamperti Milano

Lamperti Milano is available on www.lampertimilano.com

Francesco Sacco

Franceso Sacco’s namesake brand is as stupendous as his personality. He was one of the few exhibitors who greeted me with a warm smile while I was passing by his stand. Franceso’s infectious presence lured me in. Despite the language barrier, we understood one another – so it seemed. His glamorous shoe collection brightened my smile while Franceso delightfully eyeballed my colourful knee-high socks as part of my ensemble for the day. Franceso Sacco is a high-end luxury shoe brand, made in Italy. His designs oozed sophisticated glamour reminiscent of the 1980s, most of which showcase vibrant colours, classic styles, and a mature femininity.

The MICAM – Francesco Sacco

The MICAM – Francesco Sacco

The MICAM – Francesco Sacco

Francesco Sacco is available on www.francescosacco.it

Gianna Marra

Gianna Marra, established in 2001, is a luxury footwear brand. The collection grabbed my attention almost immediately. Their shoes and bags looked colourful and modern in style, making it suitable for all ages. I introduced myself to the team who kindly offered me a coffee and biscuits. How could I resist? Gianna Marra is proud of its Italian heritage in that all production takes place in Naples, Southern Italy. The brand epitomises affordable luxury and contemporaneous with existing trends. I appreciated the attention to detail and the quality of the leather. I was even more impressed by the retail price, which starts from €59 — high-quality footwear at an unbelievable price. “All products are hand-made,” says Gianni Marra.

The MICAM – Gianni Marra

The MICAM – Gianni Marra

The MICAM – Gianni Marra

Gianni Marra is available on www.giannimarra.com

The first day of the MICAM was highly productive for me. I met some pretty awesome designers and enjoyed the evening at a special event – “Seduction Remix.” The MICAM award ceremony took place as part of the event followed by a DJ Set by Bob Sinclar.

The MICAM award ceremony

The MICAM – “Seduction Remix”

The MICAM – “Seduction Mix” By Bob Sinclar

Written by @StyleIconNat | Photography My Own and The MICAM | Thank you to the Italian Trade Agency – ITA and ASSOCALZATURIFICI the Association of Italian Footwear Manufacturers and organiser of The MICAM Exhibition.

 

NATALIE ROBINSON

Celebrity Stylist, Style Critic & Blogger, Natalie Robinson is based in London. Her creative platform The Lifestyle Collective Blog is to inspire, educate and motivate diverse minds.

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