38th IAF World Fashion Convention in Philadelphia, United States

The 38th IAF World Fashion Convention was being held from October 22 till 25 2023 in Philadelphia, United States.

Every year, IAF organizes an international convention for its members, relations and all other interested parties. In 2023, the 38th World Fashion Convention took place in Philadelphia. IAF and SPESA joined forces to bring together the global apparel supply chain in the US. They cordially invited representatives from the entire industry to join them in Philadelphia.

The Convention’s Thematic Objectives in Detail

The apparel industry faces huge challenges that require it to transition to a more effective, more sustainable model. It is our conviction that the solutions to escape from the deflationary spiral the industry has ended up in can largely be found upstream. The apparel industry is making a transition to a sourcing model based on respect for people and planet, on flexibility and the reduction of uncertainty. The current predominant adversarial relations in the supply chain are a barrier to this transition. Sustainability and flexibility require investments in processes that stretch across the supply chain and so these processes can only be carried out when buyers and their suppliers work together.

Convention’s theme:

‘Our industry in transition: Building stronger, smarter and more sustainable supply chains’. 

We are transitioning to:

  • an industry emitting less CO2
  • a more circular industry
  • a more transparent industry
  • a more digitalized, data intensive industry
  • a more localized industry
  • a more attractive industry
  • a new generation

In this convention we wanted to address and discuss the big, overarching issues that affect the entire apparel industry and that also require collaboration within the supply chain to solve. IAF’s unique position within the market for global industry conferences is that we represent through the associations a major part of the world’s manufacturers and SME brands and that we are able to connect these to large brands and retailers, solution providers, experts and academics in our network. Partnering with SPESA, a tight and strong US network of solution and equipment suppliers to the global apparel industry allowed us to bring together the entire apparel ecosystem in the US.

This convention was a unique fashion industry event bringing together the entire global industry ecosystem to hear high level industry insights and to jointly discuss concrete actions involving the entire industry ecosystem to create faster industry transition.

Convention Program

Sunday October 22: IAF/SPESA Golf Tournament, Board of Directors Meeting, General Assembly, Board of Directors Dinner

Monday October 23: B2B Networking, Conference Day 1

Tuesday October 24: Conference Day 2, Convention Dinner at the National Constitution Center

Wednesday October 25: Industry & History Tour

Knowledge Paper

Speakers – Day 1

Cem Altan, President IAF and Ed Gribbin, SPESA Board Chairman

Fireside Chat: Bringing Sustainable Business to Fragile Economies
Yusuf Amdani and Ed Gribbin

Case Studies: AI, Data and Images: An Overview of Real Solutions Toward a Smarter Industry
Ganesh Subramanian (Stylumia), Kim Morgan (K3), Katie Crumpton (Cotton Inc.)

US Textiles and Apparel Industry Update
Jennifer Knight, US Department of Commerce

Fireside Chat: Made in America Manufacturing
Cindy DiPietriantonio (Boathouse Sports) and Michael McDonald (SPESA)

Panel Discussion: Manufacturing in Emerging Markets
Jessica Ramey (lemlem), Marc Hansult (DTRT Apparel Group), Karin de León (CECATEC-RD)

Türkiye Market Update
Petra Ghicu (McKinsey)

Speakers – Day 2

Tom Glaser

Panel Discussion: Creating More Effective, Productive and Resilient Supply Chains
Brad Ballentine (MAS), John Thorbeck (Chainge Capital), Scott Walton (Kornit)

Case Study: Pivot88
Jo Anne Benson

Panel Discussion: Digitalization in the Global Fashion Industry
Sandra Gagnon (Target), Dominic Sluiter (3D Adoption Partner Enhance That), Becky Flax (Thomas Jefferson University)

Panel Discussion: Legislating Good Behaviour
Sarah Dadush (Rutgers University), Avedis Seferian (WRAP), Alexander Kohnstamm (Fair Wear Foundation)

Fireside Chat: Inditex
Javier Losada

Case Study: Digital Labeling
Steve Lamar (AAFA)

Panel Discussion: Climate Action and Circularity. Wat Really Works?
Btyant LaPres (Aii), Julie Willoughby (Circ)

Industry & History Tour

Wednesday, October 25 ,the Industry & History Tour of Philadelphia took place. It aimed to blend history, fashion, food, and fun. The tour took approximately 6 hours and included various elements.

The day begun with a visit to Thomas Jefferson University’s new state-of-the-art Fashion & Textiles Futures Center. The second industry stop was at Boathouse Sports, an American-made, hand-crafted outerwear brand brought to life in the 1970s by Olympic rower John Strotbeck. Here we got to see how a one-stop-shop manufacturing facility operates in the U.S.

After visiting Reading Terminal for lunch, the tour continued with a visit to a unique collection of historic sites and stories that have shaped U.S. history. We had the opportunity to see and learn more about some of Philadelphia’s most famous sites, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Old City of Philadelphia.