To start off our last day in Verona, we were given a free morning to explore and do what we want. I walked around, did a little shopping, and enjoyed going at my own pace and experiencing the beauty of Verona. At about two, we all met up and went to the bus station to go to the industrial part of outer Verona to visit Mero and More, a company within the Consorzio Della Moda (Fashion Consortium). There we met with people who worked with the consortium and for Mero and More. We started off with an explanation of what a consortium is, what the Consorzio Della Moda does, and what the companies who are a part of the consortium do. The Consorzio Della Moda was formed as a response to the change that happened in the fashion industry due to the bad economic conditions in the 2000s. At this time, people started caring more about getting lower prices from stores like H&M and Zara than about getting high-quality products. There are 46 small to medium sized companies, which are usually family businesses, from the Veneto region who are members of the consortium. The consortium helps these companies with logistics, making connections, reaching new markets, and other things that will keep the companies in business even coming out of a difficult economic period. In the supply chain, these companies are the producers, and they focus on high-quality Italian clothing and accessories.
The Consorzio Della Moda is similar to what a chamber of commerce is in the United States. A chamber of commerce supports the companies of whatever town they are located in the same way the consortium supports its member companies. Companies who are members of the consortium can receive money from grants given to the Consorzio Della Moda, they can have their marketing strategies reevaluated to ensure that they are as effective as they can be, they can use contacts the Consortium has made for networking, and they can reach global markets. Big brands will come to the Consorzio Della Moda so that one of their member companies can make the product. The companies in the consortium specialize in making quality products with high-quality materials. If these small companies weren’t a part of the consortium, they could only reach a local market and wouldn’t get the chance to make things for brands like Gucci. The Consorzio Della Moda only has a few administrative staff members, so that means they don’t have to spend much money on salaries. Most of the people who work for the consortium are the owners of the member companies.
We met in the factory of Mero and More, which is one of the small member companies. Mero and More produces mid-level fashion, which is everyday clothing, for women aged 20 to 50. They make designer products at an industrial level. During our tour, we got to see stylists at work. Designers create the designs for clothes, but stylists are the ones who actually make that design into a standard wearable size that can be produced in larger quantities. Mero and More also has the machines to produce these clothes. The global economic environment has had an effect on Mero and More and other companies like it. When the economy wasn’t doing so well, people began to care less about quality and more about getting clothes for as cheap as they could. This type of thinking was bad for companies like Mero and More because as they use high-quality materials and make the clothes in Italy, they can’t price them as low as fast fashion companies can because they buy very cheap clothes that are made in other countries. It is also much harder and more expensive to become registered as a company in Italy than it is in the United States. Thankfully, the economy has been improving recently, and that combined with marketing provided by the consortium to make people focus on higher quality products that are made in Italy has helped these companies to stay alive. Through their marketing, they want to appeal to the pride Italians have for their own country emphasizing the fact that if the customer buys from one of the consortium’s member companies, they are supporting Italian businesses, and not those from foreign countries.