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Industry Talk

All eyes on latest industry developments at ATSC

The show, which took place from 19-21 August, delivered more than 300 international supplier exhibits.

29th August 2019

Knitting Industry
 |  Toronto

Knitwear, Knitted Outerwear, Collections, Colours/​Trends

A show-stopping fashion show on day two showcased the latest creations by local designers. © ATSCOne year after the global trade wars ignited, thousands of  representatives from the Canadian apparel and textiles industry – from designers and brands, to retailers, e-commerce sellers, importers and buying offices – were out in full force at the fourth annual Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada (ATSC) show in Toronto last week in search of trade policy updates, future market directions, and new opportunities for international trade and sustainable global sourcing.

The show, which took place from 19-21 August, delivered more than 300 international supplier exhibits, representatives from 25 countries and Canada’s most comprehensive industry conference, featuring a leading roster of business and industry heavy hitters who shared their insights, market intelligence and fashion business-building inspiration.

“The bustle of activity over the three days of the show is testament to both the growing Canadian apparel and textile sector, and the need for a global fair such as ATSC to enable industry players to make international business connections, network and get educated on navigating the new realities of the world’s sourcing ecosystem without having to leave their home turf,” said Jason Prescott, CEO of JP Communications, producer of the show.

China and emerging markets

In spite of Canada’s wavering international trade scenario, the message to local businesses and designers was clear: while new opportunities for alternative sources of supply are emerging and growing – including with countries such as Bangladesh, India, Turkey, Latin America and Africa – trade with China is still thriving and key for the health and growth of Canadian businesses.

Han Tao, Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, told the crowd of attendees that both Chinese apparel imports and exports were up last year in Canada. He reported that imports were up by 3.7% year-over-year in 2018 to US$ 6.4 billion, while exports increased by 110% year-over-year to US$ 53 million, largely due to Chinese shipments of Canadian outerwear and active brands such as Canada Goose and Lululemon.

The show delivered more than 300 international supplier exhibits. © ATSC

The show delivered more than 300 international supplier exhibits. © ATSC

Industry leaders Bob Kirke, Executive Director of the Canadian Apparel Federation, Julie Hughes, President of the DC-based United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) and Jeff Streader, Managing Director of Go Global Retail, echoed the message of myriad opportunities for alternative sources of supply for local businesses, brands, retailers and designers navigating the unfolding trade reality, while emphasizing China’s continued importance as an industry supplier. “China is still the team to beat,” said Mr Streader.

Other key show speakers – whose topics ranged from working with alternative sourcing channels and overseas factories, to sustainable sourcing and business practices, to launching and building a successful brand, included:

  • Mahesh Sanil, Executive Director of the Wool and Woollens Export Promotion Council (WWEPC)
  • Sam Dentu, Director of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority
  • Antonio Ramos, Trade Advisor of Peru in Toronto
  • Avedis Seferian, President and CEO of Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)
  • Sal Khokhar, CEO of Kollective Moda
  • Analucia Beltran, Brand Ambassador for Korite Jewelry
  • Katherine Stein, Director of Business Development at SGS
  • Gabriella Smith, Founder of the UpCycle Project
  • Roger Lamoureux, Director, Fashion Merchandising of Today’s Shopping Choice
  • Pamela Bokser, Director Softgoods Direct Imports of Giant Tiger
  • Steve Tipman, Executive Director of TFO Canada

Fashion Lab draws crowds

The Fashion Lab conference series – introduced to the show for the first time – drew overflowing crowds of small businesses and up-and-coming designers looking to build their brands. Industry experts and top fashion influencers offered advice on topics such as how to successfully launch a fashion line, tips and tricks to drive website traffic and boost online sales, emerging technologies that change the way consumers interact with brands, strategies and tactics for e-commerce, new digital shopping channels, experiential retail, sustainable solutions, the critical role of social media in the world of fashion, how to successfully working with a manufacturer and best advice to cost merchandise for maximum sales success.

The show hosted representatives from 25 countries. © ATSC

The show hosted representatives from 25 countries. © ATSC

Following the Toronto show, ATSC exhibitors travelled to Montreal for the event’s second edition in the city. ATSC Montreal drew record attendance this year, delivering a key boost to the local apparel and fashion manufacturing scene as it undergoes a major revival.

Next stop is ATS Germany, which will make its debut in Berlin, from 11-13 September.

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