The Italian fashion sector has been having an average annual sales growth of 6.6 per cent. The sector accounts for 1.3 per cent of the economy. In the past five years, aggregate turnover and employment at the sector rose by 28.9 per cent and 19.7 per cent respectively.
Exports continue to gain in importance for the sector, accounting for 63 per cent of its turnover. Apparel is the most important segment, accounting for 40.5 per cent of total revenues, followed by leather wear (20.9 per cent) and eyewear (16.2 per cent). The fastest growing segment is jewelry, with an annual average growth rate of 13.3 per cent.
Fifteen out of the 43 European fashion giants are Italian. Luxottica and Prada stand out in particular, ranking seventh and fourteenth respectively in European rankings by total sales. The distance between the top 15 and the rest of the pack is narrowing, leading to a roughly equal distribution between leaders and followers in terms of net profits.
Leading names in Italian fashion have long made sustainable development a rallying cry. In 2016, the first guidelines for eco-toxic standards to be complied with in manufacturing were issued. Italy first addressed the issue of sustainable fashion in 2012 when a development manifesto of Italian fashion was published.