Colombiamoda 2016 Exceeds Expectations, Deals Hit US$399 Million
Textile and clothing trade group Inexmoda announced July 28 that the just-concluded Colombiamoda 2016 fashion-and-trade show in Medellin generated some US$399 million in new business deals, up 17% from last year’s edition.
The jump in business deals is explained by a 21% year-on-year growth in national and international buyers at the trade show, according to Inexmoda.
“Formal casual” womens-wear, jeanswear, children’s clothing, shoes and leather-goods were the leading categories in sales deals this year. In total, 650 brands were represented at the show.
International buyers with the largest delegations this year came from Mexico, Costa Rica, the United States and Ecuador, while Portugal, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and the United States were especially notable among the internationals with commercial presence on the trade-show floors at Medellin’s Plaza Mayor. Chile and Denmark also made their first-ever debuts at Colombiamoda this year.
In total, this year’s show drew 50,000 visitors to three of Colombiamoda’s “segments” (business, knowledge and trends), with 23,400 attending commercial shows and 22,000 more attending 28 runway fashion shows, featuring 35 top designers. In addition, another 3,700 attended 19 conferences and 12 workshops on emerging fashion trends.
For those that couldn’t attend Colombiamoda spectacles in-person, television viewers witnessed runway fashion shows and interviews with international fashion designers, broadcast live on Teleantioquia and Telemedellin.
Of the 12,300 buyers at Colombiamoda 2016, 87% were Colombian, with the other 13% coming from 55 countries, according to Inexmoda.
According to a buyer-and-visitor survey conducted on-site by Invamer, 90% of the attendees expressed a positive view of Colombiamoda 2016 and 73% said this year’s event was among the best-ever in recent years.
Colombia to Fight Illegal Imports
Meanwhile, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos announced at the show that his government will take new measures to block imports of illegal, below-cost textiles and clothing into Colombia. International drug cartels are among those employing illegal clothing and textile imports for their money-laundering schemes.
Colombia recently lost a battle at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over its regulations designed to block below-cost clothing imports from Panama, a country that serves as a springboard for textiles from third countries.
However, President Santos announced that in response, Colombia will now adopt alternative measures that would replace the regulations voided by the WTO ruling.
Meanwhile, on another positive front, Colombian clothing and textile exports grew 7% between 2014 and 2016, with notable increases to the U.S., Chile and Costa Rica — helping to offset sales declines in Venezuela and Ecuador, he noted.
As of August 1, 2016, a new free-trade agreement with Costa Rica should further bolster Colombian clothing and textile exports to Costa Rica, he added.
While the Colombian government is hoping that its national textile and clothing manufacturers can boost total exports to a total value of about US$1 billion by 2018, local manufacturing leaders have expressed caution about this goal, citing volatility in currency exchange rates and continuing problems with below-cost, contraband imports.
For example: In the July 22 edition of Colombian business magazine Dinero, Carlos Alberto de Jesus, president of Medellin-based textile giant Fabricato, was quoted as saying that the recent devaulation of the Colombian peso against the U.S. dollar isn’t by itself sufficient to justify big investments in boosting export capacity.
One reason: Other big textile-exporting countries such as Brazil also have benefited from currency devaluation — hence Colombia doesn’t have a unique cost advantage, he said.
Similarly, Juliana Calad, director of the textile-industry sector for Medellin-based ANDI (Colombia’s national industrial trade assocation), was quoted as saying that Colombian clothing exporters need more cost-competitive, innovative textiles and raw materials. But the local manfacturers of such materials wouldn’t invest heavily in manufacturing upgrades unless they can obtain “soft” loan support for restructuring and working capital, and assurances about measures to stop below-cost imports, she said.