We recently spoke to Glammonitor.com about the struggles of small, independent designers in the Italian economy and the Japanese affinity for all things "Made in Italy."

Excerpt ~ As Grant Harris of the Washington, DC, image consultancy firm Image Granted explains, smaller designers have to ask themselves an important question: “Am I going to sacrifice on quality, speed, or price? You can’t have all three.”

The clientele they and many others are targeting is often in Japan. Harris explains that despite the growing purchasing power of Chinese consumers, the relationship between independent Italian designers and Japanese consumers is a natural one.

Because Japanese culture recognizes the importance of “heritage, craftsmanship, and pride of piece” they tend to “admire other cultures that do the same” like Italy, says Harris. 

Harris says Japanese consumers are more willing and able to accommodate additional costs, while there is also a lack of regulations on Italian apparel imports compared to other non-EU markets.

The tendency among Japanese customers to have “cult-like” loyalty to brands is another factor in the relationship as loyalty is key for independent designers, Harris explains.

It is also why they steer clear of many Chinese retail buyers. These smaller designers in Italy have a negative view of the Chinese market because of the influx of cheaper garments from there, as well as larger houses’ outsourcing of production to Chine. They worry that their unique traditional designs will be copied—or worse, copied badly—and counterfeits of their designs sold in China, says Harris.

Full Article ~ http://www.glammonitor.com/2015/as-italy-economy-struggles-smaller-fashion-houses-seek-overseas-success-3834/