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Apparel production shifting from moving to improving – IAF
30
Oct '14
In his address at the ‘Quality Garment Network Days’ held in Germany, Matthijs Crietee – Secretary General at International Apparel Federation (IAF) pointed out a gradual shift in garment manufacturing from ‘moving production’ to ‘improving production’.

“And this shift will help manoeuvre the industry out of a trap,” he added.

Matthijs Crietee delivered the keynote address titled - ‘The global garment system, a travelling circus still, or becoming a more ‘normal’ industry’ at the show which was organized by the world market leader in ironing and pressing machines – Veit.

The trap which Crietee referred to were; parts of the industry, which had got caught in a low price spiral whereby continuous pricing down has distorted the consumer’s sense of value of clothing and which was also affecting more upmarket brands, even though they themselves mark down less.

He said, “The common response to continuous price pressure is making things worse and the custom of moving production to cheaper labour cost locations in reaction to rising production costs is also hitting brick walls, with accidents in Bangladesh further tarnishing image of the industry.’

Although the beginning of his keynote address was gloomy, the rest of the address was marked by the positive tone that characterizes IAF’s vision for the industry.

He was of the opinion that labour costs account actually for only a small part of the value of most clothing articles, while reducing price through productivity improvements in factory and in supply chain productivity is much more effective than relying on just wage decreases.

Secondly, he now saw many opportunities to add value to garments that hardly existed a few years ago as according to him functionality of fashion is back in fashion.

Crietee referred to a presentation of the President of Alvanon - Ed Gribbin at the IAF Convention in Medellín, in which Gribbin had said, “Design in fashion is not only about how it looks, but also now about how it works.”

Crietee said wearable tech is being tried out now by sportswear companies, but increasingly also by fashion companies, offering opportunities to load more value onto a garment.

In conclusion, Crietee said, “Parts of the fashion industry are stuck between a rock and a hard place, but at the same time, escape routes are opening up.” He gave out some practical recommendations for collective actions from the industry to help to reach these escape routes to improvement. (AR)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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