Gaining knowledge and insight represents the key criterion for any conference, seminar, or event in which we want to invest our time and money. How much we as social beings are ultimately controlled by direct interpersonal contact to achieve the best possible creativity and effective consensus, we now know for sure after a large number of recent encounters were conducted at a distance, virtually.
After a Pre-Convention in November 2020 – which due to the pandemic was inevitably held purely digitally – the IAF and EURATEX again invited registrants to participate in events in person at their annual international summits at the beginning of November this year. Needle's Eye International Senior Correspondent Yvonne Heinen-Foudeh was onsite and reports.
Wisely and contemporarily orchestrated in a hybrid format – ergo the option to participate in person or via streaming – both associations representing the interests of the global textile and apparel industries were able to score points in every respect.
Industry’s “new normal” will require a transition in the fashion business on all levels from design to production – from operations to sourcing. And there is consensus among stakeholders from all levels, in light of ever-growing demands and decreasing prices, there will be more emphasis on quicker processes to support a more customer-centric organization with speed. The awareness already pre-pandemic was aimed towards various structural problems that the industry faces.
Yet as per demand from societies, from consumers, and the planet’s ecosystem to act sustainably and in a climate-saving manner, it is rather obvious that change has to happen briskly.
So once again, the IAF “hit the nail on the head” with the guiding theme of the World Fashion Convention 2021 event that was dedicated to the theme “Transition of the Global Fashion System”.
Brisk and mindful one wants to add, the International Apparel Federation, the world association of the apparel industry, came up with an agenda covering precisely those perspectives with top-notch keynotes, inspirational experts, and user panels.
Deep dives into what works – or at least could work – food for thought and reflection supplied to around 300 delegates from all over the world with a significant delegation from Bangladesh and also delegates from the UK, Switzerland, the US, Morocco, and Pakistan enjoyed mingling onsite.
Synergistic Industry ConvergenceAntwerp, a fashion metropolis and worldwide leading diamond center since the 16th century, and an important logistical hub with Europe’s second-largest industrial port was the venue of choice for the 36th IAF World Fashion Convention on November 8.
The synergistic event concept for holistic thinking decision-makers – same site, next day – EURATEX (the European Apparel and Textile Confederation) held its 9th Convention back-to-back with the IAF’s. Comprehensive content was transferred with interactive sessions covered by experts, institutional, and industry representatives along the theme “A New Paradigm for the European Textiles and Clothing Industry”.
Whereas the IAF conference viewed industry transition through the lens of global supply chain collaboration, the EURATEX conference took a more legislative perspective because of the comprehensive package of rules on sustainability and labor conditions – with a large effect on the apparel industry that will be coming from Brussels on the part of the EU Commission – in the coming years.
In a nutshell Major takeaways from Antwerp for all stakeholders can be summarized in two essential aspects:• Executives believe that sector players need to join hands to move from transactional relationships to business partnerships.• The industry’s transition to a more efficient, sustainable, and transparent industry hinges on the adoption of technology, the collaboration in the supply chain, and a switch to future-oriented business models.
Vivek Ramachandran, CEO of HSBC-founded supply chain solutions provider SERAI brought it to the point when saying, “…as an industry we need one global platform for everybody to access.” Such a database needs to be fed with valuable, real-time data.
Only 15% of apparel companies that took part in a survey conducted by KPMG China and SERAI have full traceability of their supply chain, which includes all of the materials and components used in a product from their origins through each step of processing and manufacturing (traceability).