Exhibitors at The Sourcing Connection, rigorously selected by Première Vision and audited by Bureau Veritas, put a special priority on creating a proximity with their clients, the order writers.
« By being close to them, we hope to make their lives easier, » says Vijay Ahuja, a collaborator with India’s Asu Clothing, which has a buying office in Paris. The same is true for China’s JJ Star Industrial Limited, a specialist in women’s denim, which has a presence in London, close to its customers Debenhams and Sainsbury’s.
Offering such a local service is a necessity at a time when the frontiers of contract manufacturing are being redrawn under pressure from prices. « Brands are no longer loyal. They’ll change suppliers for 5 cents, without any hesitation, » lamented one Indian exhibitor whose main competitors are located in Bangladesh. Vietnam and Burma are also very active competitors who are inciting China to champion its own « made in China » know-how that is not based on copying. « We are constantly investing in new machines, in the search for materials and we are present at international trade fairs to get that information out there, » says a Chinese exhibitor. A specialist in finishing, embroidery and 3D printing, Shanghai Liberty also relies on the added-value of the fabrics it produces and assembles to stand out from countries with lower costs.
Likewise, at JJ Star Industrial Limited, the most technical operations (such as denim wash-outs) are done in China, while the fast-fashion production goes to Cambodia and Burma, where this subcontractor has two production sites.
The Sourcing Connection exhibitors also showcase their eco-responsible initiatives to stand out from their competitors. Siddiqsons Limited, based in Karachi, Pakistan, is just one example. « We believe that in the future, fashion will have to become eco-responsible. The planet’s resources are diminishing, and going more responsible is the only solution. That’s why we have put so many programs in place, from textile recycling to the use of clean fibres. We also have a mastery of laser washes. In the end, we are sometimes even ahead of our European competitors, » says A. Rahim Rafi, CEO.
This added value makes it possible to encounter fewer difficulties when negotiating manufacturing prices. « When quality is there, brands are ready to pay the right price. That’s what gives us confidence for the future, » says Zou Xiaohua, senior merchandiser at Shanghai Liberty.
Yet it isn’t always enough. « Our customers have had very tight budgets since 2012. Unfortunately, prices are increasingly dictating choices, » says Cecilia Zhou, sales manager for Shanghai Eutropic. The company, which specialises in down jackets, recently found one response by changing the composition of its feather duvets to reduce their costs. » Without any impact on quality! » she underlined.
The Sourcing Connection, Hall 2