Milano Unica: On Stage 2014

11 September 2014

Milano Unica, the international trade fair for high-quality textiles and accessories taking place from 9 to 11 September, celebrated the anniversary of On STAGE, the project launched in collaboration with The Woolmark Company to foster dialogue between top European textiles manufacturers and the best emerging designers on the world scene.

Fashion designer Uma Wang at 10 Corso Como as part of the On Stage celebrations.

After five editions and the involvement of 50 designers from all over the world, the key figures in the Italian fashion industry have come together to celebrate this important milestone by looking back over all that’s been done to date: On STAGE’s most significant moments - from the magical show on the Naviglio to last year’s fashion show in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - and the achievements of the designers it has involved over the years.

On September 9 eight designers selected from the 50 who took part in the previous editions were the protagonists of a series of installations in the Galleria Sozzani at 10 Corso Como. As well as illustrating the history of On STAGE, these installations presented a selection of garments from the collections of each designer, with a particular emphasis on Merino wool.

This year’s Milano Unica was attended by local government and other institutions, top textiles and clothing manufacturers.

The opening evening featured two events focusing on fashion and Made in Italy: first the exhibition in 10 Corso Como, after which the evening continued at Eataly (Smeraldo), where Milano Unica paid tribute, in the form of an award, to an exceptional example of Italian creativity, Cesare Attolini, who made the costumes for Paolo Sorrentini’s Oscar-winning The Great Beauty.

The eight designers chosen to take part in this special anniversary were: on the womenswear side, UMA WANG (China), who shows her collections as an exhibitor on the official calendar of the Milano Moda Donna, BARBARA CASASOLA (Brazil), whose collections are produced entirely in Italy and are shown in the Paris Fashion Week calendar, HUISHAN ZHANG (China), the first Chinese designer to win the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize and whose work has been acquired by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, ISA ARFEN (Italy), set up in 2011 by designer Serafina Sama, from last season the collections are presented during the New York Fashion Week, CO|TE (Italy), set up in 2010 by design duo Tommaso Anfossi and Francesco Ferrari, this brand shows both in Italy and Paris; and in menswear, TILLMANN LAUTERBACH (Germany), who was one of the 12 finalists in the famous LVMH awards last February and showed for the first time on the calendar at Milano Moda Uomo in June, ERÏK BJERKESJÖ (Sweden), who was a winner at the 2012 Who is on next? and, in addition to his own eponymous brand produced entirely in Italy, has in the last few years worked on a number of projects with Swedish brands, and CAMO (Italy), whose designer Stefano Ughetti was chosen by The Woolmark Company in April this year as the European finalist for the International Woolmark Prize.

The choice of designers reflects a desire to focus on people who have stood out internationally for the quality and creativity of their collections over the years, including talents from countries beyond Italy that are proving to be important forges of creativity (such as Germany and Brazil), as well as markets like China that are consolidating year after year as strategically important for all the partners of Milano Unica.

Of the 50 designers who have so far taken part in Milano Unica there are important and well-known names like Mary Katrantzou, Osman Yousefzada, Christopher Raeburn, Vika Gazinskaya and Todd Lynn. As well as the more promising Chinese designers such as Vega Zaishi Wang and Xander Zhou, who along with Italian talents like Andrea Pompilio and Marco De Vincenzo were presented at the 1st On STAGE China held at the Shanghai Italian Center in October 2012.

Once again, On STAGE proves itself an extraordinary showcase for young designers, who for the past five years with the support of The Woolmark Company have had an opportunity to show their work in Italy and have direct, privileged contact with top-end operators. All the collections showcased over these years have always incorporated Merino wool, whose versatility and beauty has been highlighted through the expertise of the designers that have graced the runway of On STAGE.

The textile/accessories companies that decided to support On STAGE have over the years established a privileged dialogue with the designers involved in the project and are putting their know-how and premium products at their disposal. The result of all this has been seen in the collections shown on the catwalks from season to season: a celebration of the wealth of Made in Italy textiles and accessories in the world’s capitals of fashion.

Milano Unica is grateful to the following Partners for their indispensable support: Ministry of Economic Development, Agenzia Ice, Sistema Moda Italia, The Woolmark Company, DHL, Banca Sella (new partner) and Comune di Milano (for both its patronage and productive collaboration).