Provide a range of services to promote far-off sourcing – this is the strategy adopted by fashion manufacturing companies in the Asia Pacific region. “We’re fully aware that Western consumers are purchasing less clothing and that brands are hurting, but we know they’ll always need to call on us because people need to get dressed,” says Joy Choa, export director of Chinese garment manufacturer Jiaxing Glorious Fashion. Each exhibitor puts forward its own specific qualities and characteristics. For example, at the Jiaxing Sky Fashion stand, the company’s added value lies in fabrics using recycled fibres made from plastic bottles and fishing nets. Indian subcontractors also promote their certified eco-responsible products (GOTS, BCI…) like Boutique International, and KG Denim. “We know that’s what our European clients are looking for,” says Suresh Kumar, KG Denim‘s key account manager. “And in addition to these certifications, we do much more. For example, we recycle 90% of the water we use for our production.”
Another service exhibitors highlighted was the possibility of ordering small quantities to cope with the industry’s uncertainties. Exhibitors from Vietnam, who came out in force for this edition, are convinced the country has a strong card to play in this domain. Especially given that the Free Trade Agreement with Europe (EVFTA) provides a particularly interesting framework for European brands. “At the moment, our primary market is the U.S., but Europe, which is our second largest market, has a huge potential for our exports,” says Anh Hoang Ngoc, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Industry (VITAS) delegation. She also pointed out that her country’s companies present at the show have all been pre-selected by the Veritas audit firm, providing an additional gage of reliability. Exhibitors reported that the contacts they made are encouraging. “We have met a lot of young labels who are just starting out. We are interested in accompanying them because tomorrow they might be big brands,” says Thang Nguyen Toan, director of Thai Hoa, which works mainly in silks and whose minimum order is 100 pieces. Jenny Phan, LPTEX’s sales manager, makes the same case to her order writers, and also has a minimum order quantity of 100 pieces.
China, for its part, continues to build on its expertise in the manufacturing of parkas and other down items. Goldson is among those manufacturers whose customers are very high-end, as is Shanghai Eutropic. They too are adapting to the market’s new demands, with propositions both with and without fur, in order to bring down prices. But there’ s never any question of scrimping on style. The business climate is challenging but exhibitors remain convinced that creativity must prevail over price to win over consumers once again.