Today started out cold and rainy again but warmed up later when the sun came out. We had one company visit in the morning, but I felt like I got a lot out of it. We talked with representatives of a fashion consortium called Consorzio Della Moda, which works to unite the different fashion companies in Italy. This private guild was founded by local entrepreneurs for the betterment of their businesses and the Italian economy. They create a web of about 400 companies that helps to connect designers to manufacturers to direct consumers or marketplaces. Around 100,000 people work in the fashion industry in Italy with most companies consisting of only around 10 people with the biggest being about 50 people. It is important to form a strong connection between these companies because they would have trouble competing on their own.
Companies pay a membership fee to be a part of the club but get a lot out of it. The guild allows provides them with information and connections to do business internationally, which they would not be able to on their own. The guild chooses not to profit as its own entity but instead works for the local business owners. The consortium makes the fashion industry more sustainable since more manufacturing can be done in bulk and with coordination. This cooperation between competitors is beneficial for both parties and is a growing trend in all parts of the world. The representatives told us that before the consortium, companies had trouble advertising their products internationally at fairs and in other ways because they were so afraid of competitors stealing their work. Now that they have found a way for competitors to benefit from each other, the Italian fashion industry has started growing much more. No companies have had a problem joining the consortium because of how beneficial it can be for them to join. Their strategy of strength in numbers has been highly successful.