The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the Italian landscape; the toll on human life has been devastating, and the trauma cannot simply go away. Italy is home to countless fashion brands; it also has a history—of time and again rising from the ruins. The lockdown there has not been lifted yet, and the number of casualties is still not on a decline. Yet, the fashion industry is determined to bounce back stronger.

The pandemic paralysed the fashion industry across sectors and geographies. Though it is too early to quantify the losses, Gianfranco Di Natale, general director of Sistema Moda Italia (SMI), the industry trade group representing Italy’s textiles and apparel firms, points out, “The Italian production system, in particular textiles and clothing, historically rests on industrial districts, which are highly specialised concentrations throughout the Italian territory.” According to him, all these areas would be severely affected and in particular the cities of Biella, Como, Varese, Prato and Bergamo.

The whole footwear supply chain had to shut down, and so the entire country has been affected by the stoppage. “Unlike other companies in the textiles sector who were granted an exemption in order to convert some of their production lines, we have been at a total standstill,” rues Siro Badon, president of Assocalzaturifici, the national association representing industrial shoemakers in Italy.

The fashion sector could be among the first to be re-opened after the lockdown ends, and it is not going to be an easy task. It would need coordination, and it would need a well laid-out roadmap.