“Closer to Selling”, the first ever conference to be hosted by Fatex, was a hit with the show’s visitors, many of whom are trying to find their bearings in a fast-changing market. With an overall turnout of 968, the atmosphere at the show was calm but industrious.
A great success: Closer to Selling, the FATEX sourcing symposium
The Closer to Selling sourcing symposium was a driving force from day one of the show, attracting large numbers. Devoted to the latest industry news and forecasts, the event was a sellout. The talks, led by a first-class panel of sourcing experts, were attended by over 150 buyers from across the sector, avid for information on new sourcing practices and regulations: meeting consumer demand; are there any new ways to approach sourcing? If so, where and what should businesses be sourcing in future years? It was very clear throughout the afternoon that market demands are a top priority for buyers.
Guest speakers, including representatives from Pierre Cardin Jeanswear, juststyle.com, Kurt Salmon, Michaelis & Profuomo, Nash Int., BTI, Modint and the International Apparel Federation, shared their professional experience, key market figures, recipes for stress-free and efficient sourcing, and a broad outlook on the future of sourcing. See the appendix for a full report on this information-packed event – a must-read.
FATEX visitors: largely French and highly focused
The show welcomed 968 visitors – fewer than in 2013 – and gave priority to those visiting exclusively to do business, launch projects, follow up or chase up orders, or simply browse the show’s offer. With a very different set-up to last year’s show, FATEX took place from 3 to 5 July, opening its doors a day ahead of the other fashion events held at Porte de Versailles and closing at the busiest time of the weekend. It was therefore unable to benefit fully from the synergy between the events, as it did in 2013. The lower visitor numbers are also a reflection of the tough economic climate, and sweeping changes in the sourcing landscape, in particular the changing role of China.
On closer analysis, however, the visitor profile was of the highest quality. Production managers and decision-makers from all the key brands – for whom the show has become a must-attend event – were out in force as usual. A visitor profile of this calibre is highly attractive to exhibitors because, in the manufacturing industry, one or two orders from large commercial buyers can make their participation in the show profitable and saturate their production capacity.
Despite the industry’s increased familiarity with Chinese manufacturing (largely the result of previous FATEX editions), there was an unexpectedly high domestic attendance at this year’s show, with French visitors representing 63% of the overall turnout.
TOP 3: Spain - Belgium - Italy
There was little variation in attendance from Spain and Belgium, whose manufacturers visit every year to see what new products are on offer. Italy, on the other hand, which is usually by far the top visiting nation, saw a drop in attendance that reflects the country’s current economic climate.
All FATEX 2014 attendees had clearly defined objectives: projects to get off the ground, restocking, new products to see, new suppliers to find; discussing future orders with existing partners, discovering new techniques, manufacturing processes or follow-up collections – in short, being proactive and keeping abreast of the market. A hit with the visitors:
• full-package manufacturing offering well-designed, almost store-ready “house” collections,
• manufacturers with a definite speciality, such as cashmere, denim or leather,
• new sourcing zones: visitors showed considerable interest in Vietnam, placing a large number of requests for samples and quotes. The Vietnam Forum, supported by the CBI of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, which outlined the key features of the Vietnamese market, contributed significantly to their success,
• Genedi, an Egyptian knitwear manufacturer specialising in men’s sportswear, expressed their satisfaction at having met serious buyers proposing sound projects – buyers who were themselves happy to be reconnecting with the Egyptian textiles industry.
There was also a great deal of interest in moving upmarket – buyers were attracted by offers nearer the middle of the range –, as well as an increasing number of requests for lower minimum orders.