MILAN, Italy, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Milan Fashion Week kicked off here on Wednesday as catwalks rolled out the 2014 spring/summer trends for women with a particular attention to new talents.
A total of 146 collections and 74 catwalk shows presented at the event, that runs until Monday, will feature the creations of both famous names and up-and-coming designers.
Organizers said in a recent news conference that they were aiming at injecting more young talent into the fashion industry, where established brands have increased sales in emerging markets but smaller labels have struggled in the difficult economic times.
Turnover for the fashion sector, though it would still be down 2.5 percent this year compared to 2012, in 2014 could equal that of 2008, before the crisis breakout, head of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion Mario Boselli said.
"An important fact is that the climate has changed in Milan," he added.
Positive signals especially came from export figures. According to a recent study of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank, the Italian fashion production chain, which relies on many small companies, increased sales abroad by 3.2 percent to 26.2 billion euros (35.3 billion U.S. dollars) in the first six months of 2013.
Gucci opened the week on Wednesday, while Fendi and Prada will display their collections on Thursday. On the same day, it will be the turn of emerging designer Andrea Incontri, whose minimalist aesthetic has won him many fans over the years.
Among the old acquaintances there will be Prada, Fendi, Ferragamo and Ferre. There is high expectation however for less familiar names such as Greek but Rome-based Angelo Bratis, model-turned-stylist Stella Jean and internationally successful Chinese designer Uma Wang.
"The world has noticed me at the right time: people wanted to know what was going on in China on a creative level, so I had many opportunities to show my work," Wang, who studied at China Textile University and Central Saint Martins, was quoted as saying by Milan-based Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper.
The fashion week will also host events and competitions dedicated to fashion design schools and their best results.
Accessories, such as footwear, bags and glasses, are expected to play an increasingly central role after, for the first time, the Italian export of leather goods and footwear overtook that of clothing, registering a growth of 6.6 percent in the first two quarters.
"In the past, the international press has pointed out that it was hard for young designers to get noticed in Milan, and we want to show that it is not so," Milan councillor for labor policy, economic development, universities and research, Cristina Tajani, said.
"We would like that this edition is remembered as the fashion week that has marked the international revival of this city," she added.