Interview with Christian Schindler

Christian Schindler
Christian Schindler
International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF)
International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF)

Most challenges facing industry today are disruptive
The International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) is an international forum for the world's textiles industry, dedicated to keeping its worldwide membership constantly informed through surveys, studies, and annual conferences as well as publishing considered opinions on future trends and international developments. Christian Schindler, Director-General of ITMF, gives an overview of the upcoming annual conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Why is the ITMF annual conference so important for someone from the industry to attend?

The ITMF is a unique platform for representatives from the entire textile value chain and all related industries-from fibre to retail-to meet and discuss with experts the state of the industry as well as the challenges and opportunities. Such a conference outside their hectic business schedules provides a special atmosphere for industry leaders to get together taking time to meet colleagues and friends from around the world. Delegates have a chance to share best practices and to see how their colleagues and other experts see the current and future business develop. 

Furthermore, the conference offers smaller committee meetings, workshops and seminars on specific topics that complement the conference. For example, there will be meetings of the Joint Cotton Committee, the Spinners Committee, the Home Textiles Producers Committee, and the Fibres & Applications Committee. In addition, before the start of the conference a seminar on 'Cotton FR Finishing: How to Add Value' will be offered as well as a workshop on 'Managing Innovation Risks'. 

Why Indonesia this year?

There are several reasons why Indonesia is an interesting place to hold the ITMF Annual Conference 2017. First, Indonesia is a country with a totally integrated textiles supply chain from spinning to garmenting. Second, the Indonesian textiles industry has experienced a steady growth in recent years and is seeing a lot of potential to accelerate this growth in the future by improving the business environment for domestic and foreign investments. Third, the country is an important producer of manmade fibres which has experienced significant growth in the past ten years. In addition, Indonesia is also a large importer of cotton, thus offering a wider range of yarns for the downstream industry.

Please tell us more about the agenda and speakers for the upcoming conference.

We are of course much honoured that Indonesia's minister for Finance, Mulyani Indrawati will address the conference on the opening day. The importance the government of Indonesia is paying to the textiles and apparel industry of Indonesia is visible by the fact that the minister for industry, Airlangga Hartato along with the minister for trade, Enggartiasto Lukita will be speaking at the event.

We are delighted to welcome on the second day as a keynote speaker, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, former general secretary of NATO and former foreign minister of the Netherlands. He will speak about "Technology, Trade, Climate: Reshaping the Geopolitical Landscape".

In addition, we are thrilled that we can welcome some 25 different experts from the different segments of the entire value chain from fibre producers like Indorama and Lenzing or cotton experts from the ICA and ACSA on one end to retail and e-commerce experts from Alvanon and 88Spares. 

What, according to you, are the major challenges faced by global textiles industry today?

Well, the title of the general theme "Technology, Trade, Climate: Orientation in Disruptive Times" indicates where the challenges come from. Since the financial crisis of 2008, the world has been changing ever faster driven by technological, political and environmental factors. Many of these factors are disruptive. Fast fashion and e-commerce have transformed the textiles industry fundamentally, Industry 4.0 is becoming a reality much faster than expected, political patterns are undergoing fundamental change (nationalism and protectionism), and environmental challenges are more visible than ever, etc. Our experts and delegates will have a chance to discuss many of these topics in more detail at this year's ITMF Annual Conference 2017 in Bali.

Where will the 2018 ITMF annual conference be held?

This will be known during the conference in Bali and announced at the end of it.(HO)
Published on: 20/07/2017

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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