The fashion and footwear trade stepped out in record numbers at Australia’s leading sourcing expo for apparel, accessories and textiles last week, reflecting the industry’s endurance in a changing and competitive sector. Registration numbers at the International Sourcing Expo Australia and co-located Footwear & Leather Show Australia were up 10 per cent on last year, with more than 4000 visits from large fashion retailers to niche fashion brands, start-up labels, online outlets and fashion designers looking to make valuable connections with potential and existing suppliers.
Buyers and production managers toured the world’s apparel, accessories, texiles and footwear suppliers at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre over three days (20-22 November) without the need to travel overseas. Visitors met with more than 720 manufacturers and agents exhibiting at the expo from 19 countries – China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, United States, Fiji, Australia, Turkey, South Africa, Taiwan, Nepal, Serbia, Italy, and Thailand.
A highlight of the event was the launch of Global Runway, where emerging and established designers from Indonesia, China and Australia showcased their collections on the runway. Positioned on the show floor, the runway shows were supported by Australian Fashion Council and enjoyed by strong crowds across two days. “Global Runway was an energetic addition to our successful and established program. The designers brought their collections to life on the runway and feedback from our visitors has been very positive. We are always looking for new ways to showcase the incredible breadth of the expo’s exhibitors and we are delighted to have introduced Global Runway to highlight some of the vast talent and craftsmanship on the show floor,” Marie Kinsella, CEO, IEC Group Pty Ltd said.
The expo’s Global Sourcing Seminar series was well-attended by exhibitors and visitors to the show and proved to be a major drawcard. The comprehensive three-day program led by industry experts and facilitated by fashion commentator and journalist, Patty Huntington, provided valuable market insights and business tips. From international denim trends, expert sourcing tips, legal information, ethical sourcing advice, help for fashion start-ups, international fashion and footwear insights and more, the seminar series had something for all industry professionals. Among the most popular seminars was ‘Source for Success’ presented by fashion business consultant and Fashion Equipped founder, Elizabeth Formosa and ‘The Changing Nature of the
Garment and Textile Industry in China’ presented by China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles (CCCT). Strong attendance was also seen at the seminar presented by Hong Kong-based sourcing expert Brian Garvin who shared his ten biggest sourcing lessons to find and manage the right supplier among the thousands on offer. “We know from the feedback that the Global Sourcing Seminars are also a highly valued feature of the event and we look forward to bringing another insightful series to the show next year,” Ms Kinsella said.
Inaugural participation by MATRADE, Taiwan Made Footwear Developing Association and SMESCO Indonesia attracted significant interest from visitors, with related exhibitors reporting solid results. India’s participation across both the International Sourcing Expo and Footwear & Leather Expo was the largest of all national representations with a total participation of 130 companies across the two events. Led by key export organisations including substantial involvement from Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), as well as Apparel Export Promotion Council, Wool and Woollen Export Promotion Council, and Handloom Export Promotion Council, the strong presence supported India’s continued focus on the Australian market. Council for Leather Exports India led their industry contingent at the Footwear and Leather Show with 30 suppliers joining their pavilion, the largest at the Footwear & Leather Show for the third consecutive year.
“This year’s International Sourcing Expo Australia and the co-located Footwear & Leather Show Australia was the strongest we’ve seen with record visitation numbers. We are thrilled to see this event embraced by the Australian fashion trade and proud to offer this opportunity for Australian companies to review or rationalise their supply chain and expand their product offer, compare production supplier capability and costs, or even consider developing their own label. This show offers something for everyone, for both exhibitors and visitors alike, with access to vertically integrated multinational suppliers and SMEs in attendance. Equally the breadth of visitor participation spans companies looking to review offshore production to emerging companies looking to produce their own label or import established brands,” Julie Holt, Exhibition Director, IEC Group Pty Ltd said.
“It’s especially heartening to receive incredibly positive feedback from our exhibitors. This is a unique sourcing event that they tell us provides an exceptional platform for their businesses to meet face to face with Australian buyers and effectively market their product and services,” Ms Holt said.
Show organisers set out to provide opportunities for exhibitors to make valuable connections while they were in Melbourne and introduced an online recommendation engine to match buyers and sellers in an efficient and effective manner. Global Business Matching did just that, and exhibitors embraced the portal to connect with relevant buyers to set up private networking opportunities and meetings at their stand or at a business matching lounge sponsored by MATRADE.
• 63 percent of visitors were from Victoria; 31 percent from other cities in Australia; and 6 percent from overseas
• 89 percent of visitors discovered new products/suppliers at the event
• 76 percent of visitors had final decision-making authority, with an additional 21 percent making recommendations to influence the final decision
• 56 percent of visitors cited their business import activities would increase as a result of attending the International Sourcing Expo Australia