Italian fashion industry teams up with universities and R&D centres

The Italian fashion industry has a new tool at its disposal to advance in the fields of innovation and technology, after the creation of the so-called Cluster Tecnologico Nazionale Made in Italy association. The association was set up to "allow a smoother, more structured and permanent collaboration between universities, the world of R&D and Italian manufacturers operating in the textile/apparel, footwear, leather accessories, eyewear, fur, jewellery and interior design sectors". The mechanical engineering and agri-food sectors will also be involved in the association.

Alberto Paccanelli, President of the'Cluster Tecnologico Nazionale' association - SMI

Sistema Moda Italia (SMI), the Italian fashion industry's employers association, wrote in a press release that the project stems from an alliance between public bodies and private organisations, and is promoted by the Italian Education Ministry. The association groups together 22 institutions, among them the country's leading universities and R&D centres, the national federations for the fashion and textile industry's various sectors, innovation hubs and regional development agencies. It is expected that the founding members will soon be joined by 13 further associates.

"The idea is to generate synergies between the business and R&D worlds, both in terms of technology innovation and occupational profiles. The fashion industry is looking for [professionals with] new skillsets, which it often struggles to find. The Cluster Tecnologico association's role is to open doors in both directions," an SMI spokesperson told .

Cluster Tecnologico will be led by textile entrepreneur Andrea Paccanelli, and it is currently focused on two pilot projects: one on the circular economy in fashion and textiles, the other on the technical functionality of fabrics.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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