These shoes were made for renting

A shoe shop in Alassio, a seaside town in northern Italy, has come up with a novel way of keeping women looking stylish while defying the economic crisis: renting out their designer range.

These shoes were made for renting
Some of the shoes on loan at Maison de Mavie in Alassio.

Mavie Beccatta, who owns Maison de Mavie, told The Local the move has piqued a lot of interest among regular customers, including television presenter Carolina Bado, since being launched last week.

A wide range of branded shoes can be rented for up to €20 ($26) for an evening or day.

Beccatta said it allows a woman to feel good without breaking the bank.

“We saw that the economic situation in our country seems to be getting worse, and not everyone can afford to buy new shoes, so we decided to start the rental service," she said.

"We’ll see how successful it is over the summer, and if so we’ll continue with it during winter.” 

Meanwhile, an industry report on Wednesday said Italian shoemakers are struggling because of a decline in the domestic market and the difficulties faced by small firms in reaching lucrative export markets.

"The Italian market is not enough any more," Cleto Sagripanti, president of footwear association Assocalzaturifici, said as he presented the report.

The quantity of shoes exported has diminished by 6.2 percent after it had gone up by 15.2 percent in 2010 and by 3.4 percent in 2011. Exports are crucial as sales in the home-market have been diminishing since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008.

In 2012, domestic shoe sales declined by 4.5 percent.

"SMEs (small and medium enterprises) cannot make it on their own, they need help," he said, calling on lawmakers and the government to provide greater export assistance.

Unlike big name fashion houses, smaller companies have difficulty re-orienting their sales network towards more high-growth markets outside Italy. Shoe exports are pivoting towards the East. They went up by 14.7 percent in Russia, 17.1 percent in Japan, 20.4 percent in Hong Kong, 25 percent in South Korea and 40.7 percent in China.

Footwear industry leaders have also urged lawmakers to put pressure on Brussels to make "made in" labelling mandatory for imported goods.

"A lot of Asian enterprises imitate French and Italian brands and cheat consumers making them pay ten times the value of their footwear products," said Sagripanti, who runs a family shoemaking business "Manas" in central Italy.

The report also warned that all cases of health-problems derived from harmful materials concerned Asian imported shoes, while the EU's quality control programme efficiently monitors European products.

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?