“These shoes are Italian. They're worth more than your life,” Paul (Rob Lowe) refuses to help Tommy (Chris Farley) get the mud off of his face until he cleans his expensive Italian shoes.
This scene of the 1995 comedy Tommy Boy says it all, it's not just the Carries in the world that have a weakness for quality, craftsmanship, pursuit of perfection and creativity. These are the elements that, even in the presence of unending stylistic change, have transformed the craft of shoe making into an art form, an art Italians are the masters of.
Some of Italy's major players in the shoe making business who want to consolidate their presence on the American market come to New York to show their latest creations.
Accademia, Area Forte, Brunate, Calpierre, Daniele Ancarani, Dei Mille, Evado-Multimoda, Exitalia Productions, Fabio Rusconi, Franceschetti, Gardenia, Gerardina Di Maggio, Gianni Barbato, Gidigio, Giemme, Jo Ghost, Joyks, Koil, Le Ble Italian Style, Liverpool Shoes, Mac Dugan, Manas, Mario Valentino, Marliv, Moda Di Fausto, Moschino-Voile Blanche, Mugnai, R&Renzi, Santini Massimo, Sax, Taccetti, Thierry Rabotin By Parabiago Collezioni, Tiffi, Violavinca, are the 34 Italian shoes manufacturers that participated to this August's edition of “Made in Italy,” the Italian pavilion organized by the Italian Trade Commission
of New York, in collaboration with ANCI
(the National Association of Italian Footwear Manufacturers), at the FFANY
“FFANY, the Fashion Footwear Association of New York has been bringing footwear manufacturers and retailers, the industry players, together for thirty years. We are a not-for-profit trade association representing footwear manufacturers from around the world and are prominent members of the New York fashion community,” Joe Moore, President and CEO of FFANY said, “The goal of our trade shows, held in February, June, August and December, is to create one exciting marketplace in New York City, the fashion capital of the world. Here, exhibiting footwear manufacturers and attending retailers can efficiently buy, sell and develop business networks.”
Italy held an important role at the show, having indeed, a special pavilion. Data provided by the US Department of Commerce, elaborated by the Italian Trade Commission of New York, show that for the period of time by January-May 2012, Italy places third as exporter of shoes. “During that time, Italian exports to the US totaled $414,90 millions in 2011 while they rose to $465,67 millions in 2012,” Aniello Musella, director of the Italian Trade Commission in New York confirmed in a press release. “The strength at the core of Italian shoes production is the continuous excellent price-quality ratio, in conjunction with traditional craftsmanship, creativity and innovation... all elements that make the Made in Italy label extremely attractive to the American consumer.”
On the third day of the show, i-Italy had the possibility to meet some of the exhibitors and get their feedback on attendance and business. The overall response was that the crisis is slowly going way, slowly but surely. “Attendance has been normal, at times slow,” Emiliano Baccarini of Ultramoda Inc., representative of Manas and Mugnai said, “Yet the people who came were extremely interested and placed considerable orders. As far as we are concerned we are very satisfied with the outcome of the show, our products will soon be available in major, trendy stores around the city.”
“We have exceeded our expectations,” the representative of R&Renzi said “Our products are handmade with the best materials available on the market and the most luxurious styles. We already are available on the American market but we are looking to expand and being here has definitely helped us out.”
Not everybody had the same positive response, some complained that purchasers were expecting cheaper costs, but quality has a price. Truth is the price of something, anything, is what you are willing to pay, and when you purchase a pair of authentic Italian shoes, you are not buying just something to put on your feet but long standing tradition, high quality materials, and a fashionable statement, something some might consider, (ironically, of course) “worth more than a life.”