World Footwear


Giovanna Ceolini: We have many tough challenges on the horizon

Jun 10, 2024 Italy
Giovanna Ceolini: We have many tough challenges on the horizon
We spoke to Giovanna Ceolini, recently re-elected President of Assocalzaturifici until 2027, to explore the association’s key priorities for the future in the face of a challenging economic climate. We also discussed the upcoming edition of MICAM, which has recently moved to a three-day format
“This confirmation gratifies me and certifies the goodness of the work done so far. But by no means must we rest on our laurels because we have many tough challenges on the horizon”, comments Giovanna Ceolini on her reappointment as President of the Italian Footwear Manufacturers’ Association (Assocalzaturifici). The slower performance of Italian footwear last year and at the start of 2024 underlines the difficult road ahead, with a macroeconomic environment “determined by the difficult international scenario, dominated by geopolitical events and risks, and restrictive financial conditions for households and businesses”.  

Predictions are difficult at the moment, but, for Italy, “I would always focus on improving quality. Our strength is the craftsmanship of Made In Italy, so we must always develop the high-end”, Ceolini stresses. To achieve this, the priorities have been set.

Sustainability, Innovation, Digitalisation

Sustainability is a top priority for Assocalzaturifici. “The consumer is no longer only attentive to the quality-price ratio but is also looking for more and more guarantees in the intrinsic quality of the product and the traceability of the supply chain”, points out the association’s President.  

In this context, “we have developed VCS (Verified and Certified Steps), the first sustainability certification mark for the footwear sector” in Italy. VCS helps companies develop a holistic approach to sustainability by addressing internal processes, supply chain traceability, and information management through a system that utilises established procedures for continuous improvement, aligning with the most widely recognized international sustainability standards.

On the other hand, recognising that digitalisation and innovation are key to winning in global markets, the company is prioritising the promotion of these efforts among its employees. It is also planning “a series of trade fairs worldwide to explore new scenarios and new markets”.


Ceolini also acknowledged an emerging trend in the Italian footwear industry, “more and more companies are turning to contract manufacturing logic, better known as CDMO (contract development and manufacturing organization). This segment needs to be enhanced”, as “our production chain is appreciated and recognized by the big international luxury groups”.

In order to seize this opportunity and safeguard jobs at the same time, Assocalzaturifici is going to set up an ad hoc table to look for opportunities to collaborate with large international groups that are increasingly outsourcing production.

Young Talent

Amid a widespread labour shortage in the industry, Assocalzaturifici prioritises attracting young talent. “A generational change is underway, and young people are crucial to maintaining the competitiveness of our companies”. “If fashion is fascinating in its glamorous component, on the other hand, factory work often, at a superficial glance, has no appeal. It is up to us to make young people fall in love and recreate them about a profession that can offer so much satisfaction at a time of extreme difficulty for access to the world of work”, the association’s President emphasises.  

There’s no one right answer, but meeting young people and taking them to the factory “to make them discover the beauty and attractiveness of a sector that is the pride of Made in Italy” and working closely “with the world of education and related institutions” seems to be the starting point.


MICAM, the leading footwear trade fair organised by Assocalzaturifici, is returning to a three-day format from the 15th to the 17th of September in response to feedback from exhibitors who prefer to concentrate on the days with the highest influx of buyers, allowing for a concentrated and efficient 48-hour visit.

The trade fair “has always been the audience where footwear companies not only preview their collections, but thanks to an international audience of operators concretize business opportunities. Their contribution to the success of an exhibition is indispensable”, Giovanna Ceolini explained. “An event that lasts less certainly has reduced costs, and although this entails disadvantages for us as organizers, we certainly go along with this decision”.

More initiatives and novelties will be presented to the public in the coming months, she assured. Keep an eye on the MICAM's website for further updates.