The new geopolitics of manufacturing

Ahead of the special conference at the show, Gildas Minvielle, director of the economic observatory of the French Institute of Fashion, gives us a first look at how global sourcing is evolving…

GilasMinvielle

How is manufacturing evolving?
The sector is undergoing an evolution marked by three key elements. With 75% of European sourcing, Asia retains its hegemony but there is a significant reshuffling of markets. Given this context, the Mediterranean basin is holding out, but experiencing a significant redistribution in favour of Morocco. In Europe, Portugal is enjoying an upturn and France has more than ever its own role to play.

Let’s start with Asia. What form is the redistribution you observe taking?
We are witnessing a relative withdrawal from China in favour of Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh. These countries are more competitive in terms of wage costs, and benefit from very favourable access to European markets as they don’t pay customs duties. In general, Asia remains competitive for large production volumes with not overly short deadlines.

Which areas produce quickly and in small quantities?
Mostly those in the Mediterranean basin. And now many retailers have realized that it is in their interest to produce small series throughout the season, so they can to adjust their manufacturing to short-term changes in trends and the markets. To do this, they favour proximity sourcing – in Tunisia, Turkey and especially Morocco, which benefits from its political stability.

We are also talking about Portugal…
The country has repositioned itself by offering an excellent quality/ price ratio. But Europe overall is experiencing renewed interest, which helps it to consolidate its positions. I am thinking in particular of Italy – a major textile-tradition country – which remains one of the top production countries – especially for knits.

And what about France?
Our country has a wonderful brand image abroad, where “Made in France” has a lasting aspirational appeal. There are two ways to take advantage of this. First, to develop our know-how, which requires attracting younger generations to these trades. Secondly, it’s important to educate consumers by reminding them of the inherent value of beauty, craftsmanship and durability, as well as a respect for the environment and working conditions.

> To find out more about global sourcing developments, attend the conference presented by the Institut Français de la Mode next 13th  and 15th February at the show at 2 pm. More details in the full agenda

> Discover the complete manufacturing sourcing offer at Première Vision Paris: a space dedicated to Euromed and Indian Ocean fashion manufacturing (Hall 6), an area dedicated to flatbed knits (Hall 6) and a space for manufacturers specialising in leather goods and footwear (Hall 3).