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Turin aims at becoming a hub for Made in Italy fashion tailored to Muslim consumers

by Augusto Grandi

In 2013, Muslim consumers in the world spent $266 billion to purchase clothes and shoes. A figure likely to reach $500 billion in 2019. A huge market, ranging from North to Sub-Saharan Africa, from the Gulf countries to Iran, from the former Soviet states of Central Asia to South Asia. Now, it also includes large sections of the population in Western Europe and Russia. From Saudi Arabia to Indonesia. Without forgetting the Muslims in the Americas.

This is why Turin has decided to offer Made in Italy producers an international showcase to present themselves to buyers from all over the world with items for “modest fashion”. This, of course, has nothing “modest”, in the true sense of the word. Clothing, shoes, jewelry, and design: there is room for all this at the round table scheduled on July 28, while waiting for a similar initiative aimed at food for the Islamic world to be held in October.

On the initiative of Gianmarco Montanari, managing director of the City of Turin, the Piedmont capital plans to turn into a hub for the Islamic economy in Italy and in Europe. The meeting will serve to take stock of the situation and the prospects, indicating the characteristics that an industrial production must have to combine Italian style with Muslims’ needs, also of a religious nature. A debate on a collaboration that can be extremely beneficial in terms of turnover and employment.

After all, an analysis of Confindustria’s research center showed that 23% of the exports of “beautiful and well made” products (from clothing to wine and food, from furniture to jewelry) is intended for the new markets.

Among them, there are a number of countries with a majority or a strong Islamic presence: Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia and Turkey, in addition to Russia, which has significant Muslim minorities.

“Styles, tastes and needs vary greatly from country to country. Depending on the climate and traditions, not only the religious ones. But there are also common production needs,” underlined Daniele Lazzeri of NDG (Il Nodo di Gordio, a geopolitical think thank). And the data from Unioncamere Piemonte confirm the Islamic interest for subalpine productions. In the first quarter of this year, imports from Piedmont exceeded €451 million in the Arab world, and more than €30 million were related to clothing and accessories, in addition to more than €6 million for gold jewelry.

And the Arab countries are only a part of the Islamic world. In the first quarter, Turkey alone imported goods from Piedmont worth €360 million, with clothing that grew from €24.9 million to €26.2 million. The exports of Piedmont has exceeded €4 million per quarter in Kazakhstan (with an increase in jewelry), and €7.7 million in Azerbaijan, with a boom in the clothing and jewelry segments.