MICAM showcases young designers where the talk is all about transformation, coherence and sustainability

«We are migrants in a new, agile, fast-moving and immaterial world».

On the fashion square runway, at the 88th edition of MICAM, designer Ernesto Esposito quoted Alessandro Baricco and his essay, The Game. Esposito – who has designed footwear for some of the biggest international brands and runs his eponymous brand – thus introduced the small debate preceding the Emerging Designers show, one of the most successful and well-attended events at the Milan-based trade show.

The panel of judges, presided by Esposito and composed of professionals like product manager Sabrina Perazzolo, designer Francesco Casarotto, blogger and teacher Nunzia Garoffolo, co-founder and president of the Massimo Bonini showroom Sabrina Scarpellini and photographer Sergio Goglia, selected 12 emerging brands from around the world and paired them with 12 influencers who interpreted their products on Instagram.

Before waiting for models by Anna Baiguera (Italy), Maison Ernest (France), Adult. (France/Belgium), Annie Gestroemi (Italy), Marie Weber (France), Seven All Around (USA), Ball?ta (Portugal), Panafrica (France), Paolo Ronga (Italy), Me.Land (France), Andrea Mondin (Italy) and King Ping (China) to walk the runway, the talk was of the present and the future.

During the panel, one of the judges, Sabrina Scarpellini, one of the influencers, Francesca Chelli, and one of the emerging designers, Heesung Choi, founder of Seven All Around, spoke, like Esposito, about this “new world”.
The words transformation, challenges, coherence and sustainability bounced about the most during their talks.

The entire communication panorama is, indeed, in a state of transformation. «Consumers are increasingly turning to social channels and websites to look up information before they buy a product. Brands therefore need to know, now more than ever, how to communicate. This is true for young brands as well as labels that have been on the market a long time», explained Scarpellini, who underlined that the main sales channel in the luxury sector nevertheless remains brick-and-mortar stores.
Esposito agreed that communication is fundamental, but he doesn’t think it is enough: «results come from experience and years of hard work. Influencers alone won’t sell a product. You need quality. And Italy is renowned around the world for its quality».

There’s also a need for coherence. Scarpellini believes that brands – both young labels and well-established companies with a long heritage behind them – need to be coherent in terms of their communication.
The same goes for influencers. Francesca Chelli thinks that influencers can amplify the target market and word-of-mouth, which to this day remains the most powerful form of communication.
«But you need to be credible», she added. «And to be credible, you need to be coherent. Each influencer has their own style and positioning, just like brands, so when they promote a product it needs to be in line with their style and positioning».

In this changing world, the challenges are shaking our paradigms and leaving nobody untouched.
«Brands that in previous decades would have run huge campaigns in the most elegant streets of the fashion cities, now have to find a way to get into the smartphones of the whole planet», stressed Scarpellini. For Heesung Choi, though, the topic that will really redefine everything is sustainability.

The designer believes that our futures will be shaped by sustainability. «I have noticed that the younger generations are more sensitive to the changes to our society and planet», Choi said, speaking in particular about innovations in terms of materials. «I think that our mission, as designers, is to use them to make fashion. I know that it will be very difficult for all of us to change in a short space of time, but if we start paying attention to materials and production processes we can start to change, to work towards a better future».

From left to right Sabrina Scarpellini, Ernesto Esposito, Francesca Chelli and Heesung Choi