Han Bekke, President of the International Apparel Federation (IAF), has over for over 40 years for various business associations, and talks about the first IAF Convention to be held in Brazil. The event will take place on October 16-18 at the Grand Hyatt, in Rio de Janeiro. “Brazil is one of the world’s biggest apparel and textile markets in terms of production and consumption. Since Abit joined the IAF several years ago, we thought that our convention should be held in the country,” Bekke said.
The annual conventions are alternately held in America, Asia and Europe. “What matters to the global industry now is especially important for Brazil, since the industry has stayed put and, therefore, it has remained strong from the start. The Brazilian industry has lessons to teach us and the very theme of the convention – Compliance and Technology – is fundamental for the industry in Brazil.” Innovation will be a key word at the convention and creativity is hugely important as well. With a strong position in the local market and a totally integrated supply chain, Bekke believes Brazil has the power to be competitive in international markets.
“The current dominant system in the industry, of continually moving to locations with the lowest labour costs and maintaining market share by depending on retail prices is no longer sustainable,” he adds. “The industry needs to use technology to enhance productivity while at the same time improving working conditions. I also see growing pressure from governments and NGOs in our industry for us to become cleaner in terms of environmental issues such as water use, chemical products etc. I see a more intense discussion about fast fashion versus slow fashion, apparel and textile recycling to produce new yarns, fabrics and clothing, and it is also worthwhile to analyse how digitalization will impact our fashion industry.”