35th IAF WFC: Apparel Retail in Grip of Radical Transformation

In his opening speech of the 35th IAF World Fashion Convention in Lahore (Pakistan), IAF President Han Bekke remarked that the event is held against the background of different disruptions in the apparel supply chain. “Apparel retail is in the grip of a radical transformation that we should not underestimate. The pace of change is sometimes faster than we think. There are many examples of European and US High Street retailers who have not been able to transform themselves in time. If retail changes, supply chains must change”, Bekke said.

“Manufacturers must understand what is being demanded by the end consumer (who is the only player in the supply chain who actually puts money into the system). The buyers only insert more money if they perceive more value. Better materials, more in line with fashion, more functionality, longer lasting, more sustainable, better story”, Bekke added. He advised apparel manufacturers to act proactively. They cannot wait until the buyers dictate the terms he said. Buyers must take responsibility and adjust their buying behavior so that manufacturers have a fair chance to comply with buyers demands and receive a fair price.

Talking about sustainability, the IAF President also indicated that buyers, consumers, NGOs, investors and governments are demanding for improvements in the sustainability of apparel products. He mentioned initiatives like the Copenhagen Fashion Agenda, the French Fashion Pact, the Agreement on Garments and Textiles in The Netherlands, the Textilbundnis in Germany, the Accord and Alliance on Bangladesh, that are in his view good examples of taking responsibility to improve. The IAF President pleaded though for more international coordination to be more effective. IAF will take the lead in trying to bring them together, he announced.

The IAF World Fashion Convention is held for the first time in Pakistan and organized with IAF member and co-host PRGMEA. The welcome dinner for all delegates was also attend by the President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi and his wife.