Italian Lesson Helps Textile Firms Embrace Market Opportunities

Innovation and a design focus will be vital if Northern Ireland’s clothing and textile companies are to develop a competitive advantage in the changing global marketplace, according to a leading Italian clothing and textiles supplier.

Sr Moritz Mantero of Italian company Mantero, was the key speaker at the Invest Northern Ireland and Skillfast UK “Strategy by Design” seminar in Belfast this morning.

Like many local textile firms, Mantero, which designs high-quality clothing and accessories for many leading design houses across the world  has felt the impact of competition from low cost economies.

The Italian textiles industry has lost 50,000 jobs in two years because of competition from low production costs and high production capacity in the Far East. Yet delegates heard Sr Moritz Mantero describe how Italy is taking proactive steps towards safeguarding the traditional industry and employment levels.

Accompanied by local business man Ian Bennington, founding director of Triplicate Isis and Alva Lighting, Sr Mantero discussed the benefits of design and innovation to the textiles sector whilst highlighting the need to embrace ever-changing customer trends and technologies.

The event was chaired by Professor Brian Hill, Chairman of Skillfast-UK (Northern Ireland) who said:

“Companies don’t have to accept that working within the global marketplace means losing business to overseas competitors.  The Strategy by Design seminar helped to assure business leaders that by using design and innovation, they can be globally competitive.”

Victor Jordan, director of business improvement services at Invest NI added:

“Invest NI’s successful Design Graduates in Italy Pilot Project highlighted how the local textiles industry can learn much from Italy’sexperiences. This seminar has further reinforced the crucial need for local companies to embrace a design ethos at a strategic level. 

 “Marketplaces can change rapidly, so it is vital for the textile and clothing industry to stay ahead of the competition. By increasing levels of innovation, design and product development, the Northern Ireland textiles sector can offervalue added products and exploit niche market opportunities, helping the sector deal effectively with market challenges.”