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The 38th IAF World Fashion Convention Has Officially Begun!

The 38th World Fashion Convention organized by the IAF and Spesa in Philadelphia has officially begun on Monday afternoon, October 23rd. On the same day in the morning the IAF General Assembly unanimously accepted the IAF’s Board of Directors proposal to extend the current IAF President’s Cem Altan term with a further two years.

Mr. Altan is himself a garment manufacturer, representing the Istanbul Apparel Exporters Association (IHKIB) in the IAF. His term extension reflects the IAF’s strong focus on uniting apparel manufacturers globally and defending their interests. In his opening speech he referred to IAF’s mission to enable and promote stronger, smarter and more sustainable supply chains. He noted that the industry’s needed transition is moving too slowly. A major reason for this is that even though manufacturers often have the tools in hand to make the necessary environmental, social and financial improvements, they are mostly not sufficiently enabled in current supply chain- financially or organizationally- to use these tools.

He called on the industry to maintain a positive path forward, staying away from the low value trap, and collaborating across the supply chain using technology and process innovation to create more value. During the two-day conference, a broad range of speakers on topics ranging from digitalization, data technology, legislation, sourcing strategy, sustainability and transparency are shedding their light on industry transition. An equally broad range of sponsors, representing available solutions for our industry’s transition, make this convention possible.

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Partnership ITC and IAF: Full Supply Chain Profitability

The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Apparel Federation (IAF) announce a partnership to stimulate innovation towards “full supply chain profitability” for apparel manufacturers and brands. The first phase of collaboration is research to be previewed at the 38th IAF World Fashion Convention, Philadelphia, October 23-24. Applying learning in autos and electronics, a joint study articulates how material suppliers and garment manufacturers create ‘smart flexibility’ by postponing production commitments closer to actual demand, unlocking capital from unneeded inventory and excess production. Smart Flexibility is a new approach that uses a mix of process and data tools enabling suppliers to create additional value for brands and manufacturers alike that supersedes the benefits of lowest cost global sourcing.  

The Sustainable Terms of Trade Initiative (STTI), published and co-initiated by the IAF, placed ‘full supply chain profitability’ as a research priority in 2021. The STTI, addressing improvement of purchasing practices, sees smart flexibility, or shared risk, as a highly productive alternative to the predominant imbalance of sourcing relationships. Smart flexibility elevates purchasing practices beyond seasonal, transactional contracts to deliver mutual goals for sustainability. Conventional, often adversarial bargaining need not define industry culture as new technology with AI injects fresh insight across one of the world’s oldest, most globalized supply chains.

The 38th IAF World Fashion Convention, organised with US partner SPESA (Sewn Products Equipment Suppliers Association of the America’s) in Philadelphia, is a preview to study insights. IAF Secretary General Matthijs Crietee will moderate a panel session including the main contributor to the study, John Thorbeck; Brad Ballentine, CEO of MAS ACME, the US subsidiary of giant manufacturing group MAS Holdings; and Scott Walton, of Kornit Digital, a major supplier of digital printing equipment. Official publication, titled, “Under the Banyan Tree: Buyers and Suppliers in Fashion,” will be announced in joint timetable and events by the ITC and IAF.

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GK Global Chairman & Forbes Books Author Yusuf Amdani To Speak at Upcoming 38th World Fashion Convention

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The International Apparel Federation (IAF) and the Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) are pleased to announce the addition of Mohammed Yusuf Amdani Bai, GK Global Chairman and Forbes Books Author, to the impressive speaker line-up for the upcoming 38th World Fashion Convention being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 22-25, 2023.

Mr. Amdani is a successful businessman, visionary, entrepreneur, and investor. Originally from Pakistan, Mr. Amdani traces his roots to a background in the textile and yarn spinning industry. In the early 1990s, he expanded his family business to Honduras where he started a company called Pride Manufacturing that produced clothing to be exported to the U.S. Today, the organization, now known as GK Global, has an international presence, extending into Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the U.S., operating in the textile, lifestyle, technology, agriculture, and real estate industries. In addition to his work with GK Global, Mr. Amdani also founded GK Foundation, an organization focused on health, education, nutrition, and sustainability for low-income and vulnerable populations.”

On September 12, 2023, Mr. Amdani will be releasing his book World of Opportunity: Bringing Sustainable Business to Fragile Economies. Published by Forbes Books, “the publishing authority for the best leaders in business,” Mr. Amdani’s book provides an in-depth guide on how to create opportunities in developing countries. His methods paint a roadmap designed to grow the middle class, reduce migration, promote sustainability, improve healthcare, and provide education to all.

“To say that Mr. Amdani is dedicated to the future of our industry would be a vast understatement,” said SPESA Chairman Ed Gribbin (CEO of Gribbin Strategic LLC, IAF Executive Committee member and IAF Board member), who will join Mr. Amdani on stage for a fireside chat. “He is one of the most impressive businessmen I know, having had a pulse on major industry needs — like sustainable manufacturing practices and workforce development — before others did. He’s laid a path for industry stakeholders to follow, especially across the Western Hemisphere, and I look forward to sitting down with him to discuss where we all go from here.”

The theme of the 38th World Fashion Convention is “Our Industry in Transition: Building Stronger, Smarter and More Sustainable Supply Chains.” The event will include a series of panel discussions, case studies, and keynote addresses that touch on important topics impacting the apparel, fashion, and sewn products industries today, including circularity, sustainability, digitalization, supply chain efficiencies, and the manufacturing landscape in the U.S., the Western Hemisphere, and emerging markets around the world. In addition, there will be a golf tournament, B2B matchmaking sessions for manufacturers and brands, and a city tour highlighting industry and history in Philadelphia.

“We’re thrilled to have Mr. Amdani join us in Philadelphia for the 38th World Fashion Convention,” said SPESA President Michael McDonald. “This conference is all about bringing together thought leaders from across the globe, representing every link in the supply chain, for in-depth conversations on how the industry is transitioning and what we all can do to keep up. Having Mr. Amdani join these conversations — and sharing insights from his decades-long career in both Pakistan and Honduras — will be incredibly valuable for our group of attendees.”

An agenda for the 38th World Fashion Convention is available here. Representatives from fashion industry suppliers, manufacturers, brands, and retailers are welcome and encouraged to attend along with other industry stakeholders.

Visit to learn more and register for the event. Visit to learn more about Mr. Amdani’s book, World of Opportunity: Bringing Sustainable Business to Fragile Economies.

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IAF and SPESA Prepare Conference Agenda

IAF and SPESA Prepare Conference Agenda for 38th World Fashion Convention

The International Apparel Federation (IAF) and the Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) are preparing a very strong conference agenda for the 38th World Fashion Convention to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 23-25.

While several events cover the challenges that our industry faces, the World Fashion Convention is unique in its consistent and rigorous global supply chain perspective. Every year, the IAF brings together brands, retailers and their suppliers from across the world, to work towards joint, actionable strategies — more than just pledges and predictions. It holds the strong conviction that solutions that don’t involve collaboration across the supply chain are doomed to fail.

At this year’s World Fashion Convention in Philadelphia, brands, retailers, manufacturers and solution providers will debate the best solutions on and off the stage for a number of important industry issues, including sustainability and circularity. IAF President Cem Altan: “A greener, more profitable apparel industry that is able to take better care of this planet and of our people is very achievable. But it requires investments in change, in people, machines and processes. The heavy burden of these investments must be shared across the supply chain or they won’t happen”.

Additional topics include digitalisation, transparency, consumer market development, legislation, and sourcing models based on shared risk and reward. Educational sessions will feature major brands and retailers mostly from the U.S. and manufacturers from numerous countries including Turkey, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, as well as from Central America.

“The World Fashion Convention pulls the double duty of bringing global perspectives to the issues facing our industry, while also educating the world about the unique challenges and opportunities within each host country,” said Michael McDonald, President of SPESA. “With that in mind, the agenda for this year’s Convention will include topics that are currently top of mind for U.S. suppliers, brands, and retailers, such as regionalized supply chains and sourcing in the Western Hemisphere.”

The 38th World Fashion Convention’s education offerings will consist of panel discussion, case studies, and keynote presentations, kicked off with an address by Tom Glaser, the well-respected former VF Corporation and Tapestry executive. The event will also feature numerous networking opportunities and activities for attendees and guests.

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Global Coalition Calls for Digital Labeling

Global Coalition Calls for Digital Labeling to Reduce Waste and Increase Consumer Access to Information

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the International Apparel Federation (IAF), and 128 additional organizations from all corners of the globe, today delivered a letter to supranational, national, and local authorities around the world to modernize domestic textile, garment, footwear, and related accessories labeling requirements and legally allow more sustainable and economic, digital labels for required labeling information.

The 130 signatories represent the global fashion and sportswear industry, and its enablers and stakeholders, including those representing materials such as leather, wool, and textiles; and those working to advance sustainability, circularity, and authenticity solutions.

Industry estimates show that, collectively, labeling requirements now result in the annual production of approximately 5.7 million miles (about 9.2m km) of label tape – enough to stretch from the earth to the moon, and back, twelve times each year.

“Consumers today want more information with less waste. The opportunities are endless if digital opportunities are unlocked. Purchasers will gain access to more detailed and accurate information about the textiles, garments, footwear, and related accessories they are considering buying, such as more in-depth materials and origin information. It also unlocks more information throughout the garment’s lifecycle, including details about resale, repair, rental, upcycling, or recycling. This is one tool for a more responsible and agile global industry,” said AAFA president and CEO Steve Lamar. “We need the Federal Trade Commission, and sister agencies around the globe, to update their rules to give companies the option to meet labeling standards using digital means.”

As the letter states, “Shifting to the use of digital labels would significantly reduce labeling waste and significantly aid in decarbonization efforts, resulting in the elimination of at least 343,000 MT of CO2e from industry supply chains. … With greater demand for more traceability, transparency, and accountability from all stakeholders in the industry’s global value chain, the time for supranational, national and local authorities to act and update these outdated, inflexible, and complex labeling requirements and empower their consumers with more accessible information through greener e-labeling is now.”

“It is crystal clear we need to progress to digital labelling for apparel and footwear. The global environment needs it, the industry wants it, and consumers are expecting it. A patchwork of often very old-fashioned legislation across the world is blocking the logical path to modern garment and footwear labelling. There is no alternative to full global industry collaboration and coordination to remove these roadblocks to achieve digital labeling faster,” said IAF Secretary General Matthijs Crietee.

Access the full letter. Find more information on this initiative with #CutTheTape and this video about U.S.-based initiatives to urge the Federal Trade Commission and Congress to modernize labeling requirements.

Digital labeling will be one of the many topics covered at IAF’s 38th World Fashion Convention. The convention will be held together with the Sewn Products Equipment Suppliers Association of the Americas (SPESA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania October 22-25 of this year, the first time it has been hosted in the U.S. in more than two decades.


Click here for the full Digital Labeling Open Letter


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Announcement First Keynote Speaker Convention Philadelphia

Industry Veteran Tom Glaser To Join as Keynote Speaker at 38th World Fashion Convention this October 2023 in Philadelphia


PHILADELPHIA, PA – The International Apparel Federation (IAF) and the Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) are excited to announce today that Mr. Tom Glaser will join as a keynote speaker at the upcoming 38th World Fashion Convention being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 22-25, 2023.

Mr. Glaser brings to the table decades of industry insight and expertise. His career began at Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH), where he held sales and sourcing management positions within the company’s North America and Asia divisions. He would later serve as Vice President of Sourcing and Operations for various brands of PVH. Most recently, Mr. Glaser held the role of Chief Operations Officer of Tapestry, Inc., a leading New York-based house of modern luxury accessories and lifestyle brands including Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman.

The majority of Mr. Glaser’s career was spent at VF Corporation, one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear, and accessories companies. He joined VF in 2001 as Managing Director, VF Asia Ltd Sourcing in Hong Kong, where he played a key role in further diversifying and expanding VF’s global sourcing network in support of the company’s growing portfolio of brands. In 2006, Mr. Glaser was named President, Supply Chain, Europe/Asia. In 2010, he was promoted to Vice President, Global Operations, a role that he held until being appointed to his most recent position as President, Supply Chain, in January 2012 where he was responsible for the oversight of all of the company’s global manufacturing, sourcing, and operations.

“This is the first time the World Fashion Convention has been held in the U.S. in more than twenty years,” said Ed Gribbin, SPESA Chairman and IAF Treasurer. “Having someone like Tom Glaser join as one of the event’s keynote speakers is a great way to showcase where the industry has been and where the industry is heading here in the Americas, and also abroad. He is a notable veteran of the industry who understands end-to-end supply chains in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, and is the perfect person to kick off the Convention with insights from his decades-long career.”

The theme of the 38th World Fashion Convention is “Our Industry in Transition: Building Stronger, Smarter and More Sustainable Supply Chains.” This event will bring together leaders from across the global apparel supply chain, including U.S., Canadian, and European brands; (Latin) American, European, African, and Asian manufacturers; as well as solution and technology providers, educators, and policymakers. Many of the Convention’s expected guests are company owners and leaders of industry associations. All attendees will have the opportunity to network, learn, and engage in valuable collaboration designed to address some of the industry’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.

The Convention will take place at the historic Bellevue Hotel, an Unbound Collection by Hyatt property, that sits on Broad Street in the city center of Philadelphia. Early bird registration for the Convention is currently open. The SPESA and IAF member early bird registration rate is $545. The non-member registration rate is $895. The early bird registration deadline is Friday, July 21, at which point rates will increase by $100 per registration. Registration for both members and non-members includes all education, plus networking events on the evenings of October 23 and 24. A spouse rate of $195 is also available, which includes access to both networking events on the evenings of October 23 and 24. Additional activities include the highly-anticipated IAF Golf Tournament on October 22 and a Study Tour on October 25.

A complete agenda for the 38th World Fashion Convention will be available soon. Visit to learn more and register for the event.

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Registration for the 38th World Fashion Convention Now Open!

IAF and SPESA are proud to announce that the registration for the 38th World Fashion Convention to be held October 22-25 in Philadelphia is now open. We are hosting this 2023 edition of our annual Convention together with our US member association SPESA, the Sewn Products Equipment Suppliers of the Americas and with the support of AAFA, the American Apparel and Footwear Association.

After Conventions in Dhaka, Antwerp, Lahore, Istanbul, Maastricht, Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro, this is the first time in two decades that an IAF Conventions will again be held in North America. This edition in Philadelphia will, uniquely, bring together the full global supply chain, including US, Canadian and European brands, (Latin) American, European, African and Asian manufacturers as well as solution and technology providers, educators and policy makers. We expect to receive about 300 delegates, from over 20 countries.

The Convention will be a mix of educational and social activities, including a 1.5 day conference, an off-site festive dinner, a business matchmaking activity and the IAF Golf Tournament.  The theme and the activities of this year’s Convention are fully built around the presence of the full supply chain, bringing together brands, retailers and their suppliers. “Industry in Transition: Building stronger, smarter and more sustainable supply chains” is our theme and on all topics our speakers will represent the different components of the supply chain, showing how transition requires collaboration across this chain. We have added a business matchmaking day, allowing retailers and brands to conveniently speak on one day to a global selection of potential suppliers.

IAF and SPESA are really looking forward to host a truly global and supply chain wide gathering of our industry in the beautiful Bellevue hotel in Philadelphia. You can register at the convention website where you can also find more information about the tentative program, the theme, sponsor packages, the convention venue and the official convention hotel. We hope to meet you there!

Please visit the convention website: