Abstract: The Changing Role of International Fashion Fairs: The Case of Pitti Immagine in Florence
The fashion industry has grown considerably into one of the world's most important creative industries. The growth and success of fashion firms largely depend on the dynamic network of old and new intermediaries that aim at putting the designers' activities within a business context, acting as connection between the local and the global. However, the role of intermediaries in the fashion industry, and in general in the cultural industries, is largely understudied. The paper will try to address this gap by focusing on one specific intermediary: the international fashion fair. It will give a glimpse on the changing role of this intermediary in the fashion industry through the lens of the fashion designers. The relations between designers and fairs will be analyzed via the historical evolution of Pitti Immagine in Florence and interviews with fashion designers in Italy and the Netherlands. We argue that there is a complex intertwinement of roles among intermediaries, designers, and consumers, reflecting the complexity, fragmentation, and segmentation of the fashion industry. The changes in the fashion system have strongly affected the role of the fashion fairs.