The new geopolitics of manufacturing Gilles Lasbordes

The world’s leading trade fair for all fashion industry players, Première Vision offers a real-time snapshot of the international supply chain. A closer look from General Manager Gilles Lasbordes.

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With Première Vision Manufacturing and The Sourcing Connection, Première Vision brings together a rich and exclusive selection of fashion manufacturers from around the world. How do you make your choice?

At the next September edition we’ll be welcoming some 240 manufacturing exhibitors, with an exceptionally high loyalty rate. But of course we are also open to newcomers, who add to the vitality of the event and underline evolutions in the market. Our process is simple. The candidates send us an application with a profile of their company – business activity, structure, customer profile, etc. – and a sampling of their production. Our committee, made up of Première Vision exhibitors, buyers and representatives, assesses the relevance of each participation request and their added-value compared to the show’s overall offer. Exhibitors come from around the world, with a large representation from the Euro-Mediterranean zone at Première Vision Manufacturing and from the Asia-Pacific region at The Sourcing Connection. Special attention is paid to manufacturers from this last region.

Can you tell us more about that?

For The Sourcing Connection, we set up a specific complementary selection, really unique in the market, which aims to provide an upstream audit for companies from the Asia-Pacific market. We provide this in collaboration with Veritas, a certification agency that provides on-site investigations on the basis of precise criteria: production conditions (factory quality, use of dangerous products) and working conditions (time, remuneration, environment, employee ages). This is a sizeable investment for Première Vision but on an ethical and sustainable level, we think it’s essential. Right now we are the only trade fair insisting on these compliance criteria, and our goal is to offer a more concise but sharper and safer selection. In terms of production quality, these exhibitors are on an equal footing with other countries, but positioned around larger production series.

How are all the markets evolving?

Asian imports remain stable, but this year again China – which has become more expensive in terms of labour – is showing a slight decline in favour of countries such as Vietnam, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Euro-Mediterranean zone (with Mauritius and Madagascar) also retains its market share, but we are seeing an increase from Portugal and significant growth in Morocco. This is due to the dynamism of these countries but also to geo-political issues, including a question as to the stability of Turkey.

Given that, what needs are you seeing on the part of fashion brands?

Needs are increasingly diverse, and directly tied to the strategic positioning of each house. Some favour flexibility and demand a very short time-to-market, depending on market reactions. Others agree to buy cheaper but at a greater distance. Still others mix the two needs: a large programmed production and strong reactivity for certain products. In the luxury sector as a whole, quality remains the key criterion, along with a growing search for know-how, more sophisticated assemblies, an elaboration of more complex materials and local manufacturing.

> This September, discover Première Vision Paris’ complete manufacturing sourcing offer: a space dedicated to Euromed and Indian Ocean fashion manufacturing (Hall 6), an area devoted to flatbed knitwear (Hall 6), a space showcasing garment manufacturing from the Asia-Pacific region (Hall 2)