Cleto Sagripanti, the new chairman of the Italian shoemakers association Anci since June 9, has presented an ambitious platform aiming to turn the local footwear industry into a driving force of the Italian fashion industry.

In the opening page of his manifesto, Sagripanti says that he aims at a “clear objective: transform footwear from a simple accessory into the main element of the fashion industry made in Italy.”

Sagripanti, 40, is the chief executive of Manas. The company is owned at 84 percent by his family and the remainder is in the hands of five managers. The company exports 70 percent of its collections abroad and relies on 15 manufacturers of the Marche region for its production. It has showrooms in Milan, New York, Barcelona, Marseille, Brussels, Amsterdam, Moscow and Monaco. It also has 27 mono-brand stores, of which only four are located in Italy.

Sagripanti replaces Vito Artioli, who ran the association for four years. During his two-year mandate, Sagripanti intends to conduct “a tenacious and proactive” lobbying activity to have more clout with Italian and European authorities to advance its causes, such as obtaining reciprocity in custom duties between the various trading blocs.

He plans to create an office for external and international relations to support the lobbying activities. The office will also offer assistance to Anci members expanding abroad, track and promote European projects, and seek collaboration and synergies with the banking system and the Italian employers' confederation, Confindustria.

Sagripanti wants to “intensify” Anci's relationship with the European footwear federation, CEC, by continuing to offer an Italian leadership “forever recognized” by CEC's other members (see previous article).

Sagripanti's other projects include the creation of a service through which Anci members can apply for public financing. It will also help companies create networks and merge. Anci aims to support its members in developing skills in design and retailing.

The new chairman plans to reinforce the Micam trade show, held twice a year in Milan, by enhancing certain sectors with strong growth potential such as footwear for children.

Anci aims to improve access to foreign markets by better coordinating its promotion activities and creating a database for certain countries with information on buying groups, retailers and so on.

The association wants to bolster the fight against counterfeiting and is calling for harsher penalties for companies using the “made in Italy” label for products manufactured outside the country.

Other initiatives outlined by Sagripanti include further use of internet for promotion, including the launch of a web TV, and retailing; the reinforcement of the role of Anci's testing and certification center CIMAC; fostering the security shoe market, thanks to the support of the association's security shoe committee; and the creation of a desk to obtaining financing for research and development.