36th IAF World Fashion Convention in Antwerp, Belgium

The IAF’s 36th World Fashion Convention was organised back-to-back with EURATEX on November 7-9, 2021 in Antwerp, Belgium.

COVID-19 has shaken the foundations of the textiles, apparel and fashion industry. Global supply chains have been disrupted, retailers are restructuring their sourcing options, consumer behaviour is changing. At the same time, public authorities are introducing new environmental standards, and digitalisation is rapidly changing the nature of our business.

To understand above mentioned trends and address its impact on our industry, the International Apparel Federation (IAF) and the European Confederation of Apparel and Textiles (EURATEX) decided to organise a double convention:

  • the 36th IAF World Fashion Convention on 7-8 November
  • the 9th European Textiles and Apparel Convention on 8-9 November

IAF and EURATEX invited representatives from the industry, but also public authorities, NGOs and academia to join in Antwerp, to provide an answer to these challenges, but also to meet again – after so much time – to share ideas and develop new business opportunities. Both events took place in the beautiful city of Antwerp, Belgium.

The Convention’s Thematic Objectives in Detail

The theme of the IAF Convention was ‘Transition of the Global Fashion System’ with transition being the operative word. The theme recognized the fact that the demand from societies and from consumers, the restraints posed by the earth’s ecosystem and the possibilities offered by technology converge to create a necessity for rapid change. The pandemic really pressed home the point that merely adapting is not enough in 2021. The massive demand crisis caused by the pandemic exacerbated the structural problems that were already visible, as witnessed by multiple bankruptcies of large established retailers and brands before the pandemic.

New successful companies based on entirely different business models shape the industry’s transition, as do existing companies embarking on bold programs of change. Technology, particularly digitalization, plays a key role, as does better buyer-supplier collaboration. Transition will not involve the industry alone but requires all in the entire fashion ecosystem to work together. It requires a good and close collaboration with governments, creating regulatory environments that are supporting transition without stifling entrepreneurial drive. Educational institutes are engines of transition not only by training new employees, but also by actively nurturing new business.

Convention Programme

Saturday November 6: IAF Golf Tournament

Sunday November 7: Board of Directors Meeting, General Assembly, Board of Directors Dinner

Monday November 8: Conference Day IAF, Dinner MoMU Fashion Museum

Tuesday November 9: Conference Day EURATEX, Farewell Cocktails


Han Bekke, Immediate Past President IAF, Cem Altan, President IAF, Guy Ryder, Director General ILO

Panel Session: Supply Chain Collaboration
David Sävman, H&M, Haldun Boz, Nova Fashion Group, Miran Ali, Bitopi Group/BGMEA, Vivek Ramachandran, Serai

Panel Session: Digitalisation
Mehmet Kaya, TYH, Kristina Nedeljkovic, 3DKN, Dominic Sluiter (moderator), button-up

Interview: E-fashion in Manufacturing
John Thorbeck interviews: Stanley Szeto, Lever Style, Gonçalo Cruz, PlatformE, Brad Ballentine, Fox River Mills

Panel Session: Towards a More Transparent and Circular Supply Chain
Veit Geise, VF Asia, Casey Potenzone, K3, Leontien Hasselman-Plugge, SIM, Bülent Özipek, Istanbul University

Saskia Hedrich, McKinsey, Christian Schindler, ITMF, Michiel Scheffer, Wageningen University

Dinner at the MoMu Fashion Museum

In the evening of Monday November 7, the convention dinner for all the delegates took place at the MoMu Fashion Museum. It was an excellent backdro. In 2002 MoMu presented its first exhibition in the historical ModeNatie building on the Nationalestraat. Since then, MoMu has presented two temporary exhibitions every year. Smaller exhibitions and installations are presented in the gallery on the ground floor.

During the evening, the invitees got the chance to visit the MoMu exhibitions in guided groups. The exhibitions were characterized by their immersive scenography. As a visitor, you not only saw the exhibits, you also were immersed in the world of the designer or the theme. The exhibition space was
completely transformed for every exhibition, making each visit a unique experience.