From left to right: Pasquale Della Pia (Vice President of Assocalzaturifici), Alessandro Saggioro (Sapienza Univ. di Roma, Director of the PHD in European History), Antonella Mulè (Responsible of Fashion Portal Archive “Istituto Centrale per gli archivi”) e Olga Melasecchi (Director of the Jewish Museum in Rome)

On the 8th November, the Sapienza University of Rome hosted a conference entitled “Fashion as cultural heritage”. One of the talks focused on “The cultural heritage of the Italian shoe districts”.

The speaker, Pasquale Della Pia, Vice President of Assocalzaturifici, first gave an overview of the shoe sector, one of the pillars of the fashion industry. He then went on to explain that its success is connected to the way the sector is structured, which puts into contact “the providers of the materials, components, accessories and machines, creating a constant exchange of information between the different trades operating within companies”. An ecosystem defined by excellence where companies and districts sit side-by-side. “Our companies,” said Della Pia, “are concentrated in a number of well-defined areas – districts – located prevalently in 7 regions, namely Marche, Tuscany, Veneto, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Campania and Puglia, and 23 provinces. I would even go so far to say that the districts are “sustainable” in that they have everything they need to manufacture shoes within them.

After analysing the characteristics of the various Italian districts, all of which have high exports and a concentration of specialist workers, Della Pia concluded that: “Creating a network through the districts not only has a competitive benefit, but also represents the values of unity, trust, solidarity and loyalty characterising this community which has common goals and wants to grow together by cultivating the excellence that defines Made in Italy.