by Jan Appel


The apparel industry faces huge challenges that require it to transition to a more effective, more sustainable model. It is our conviction that the solutions to escape from the deflationary spiral the industry has ended up in can largely be found upstream. The apparel industry is making a transition to a sourcing model based on respect for people and planet, on flexibility and the reduction of uncertainty. The current predominant adversarial relations in the supply chain are a barrier to this transition. Sustainability and flexibility require investments in processes that stretch across the supply chain and so these processes can only be carried out when buyers and their suppliers work together.

The theme of the convention is:

‘Our industry in transition: Building stronger, smarter and more sustainable supply chains’. 

When speaking of transition, what do we mean?

We are transitioning to:

  • an industry emitting less CO2
  • a more circular industry
  • a more transparent industry
  • a more digitalized, data intensive industry
  • a more localized industry
  • a more attractive industry
  • a new generation

IAF’s mission is to unite all stakeholders of the fashion and apparel industry, including brands, retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and country associations from around the world to enable and promote smarter, stronger, more sustainable supply chains. On and off the stage of our annual conventions we strive to carry out our mission.

So in this convention we want to address and discuss the big, overarching issues that affect the entire apparel industry and that also require collaboration within the supply chain to solve. IAF’s unique position within the market for global industry conferences is that we represent through the associations a major part of the world’s manufacturers and SME brands and that we are able to connect these to large brands and retailers, solution providers, experts and academics in our network. Partnering with Spesa, a tight and strong US network of solution and equipment suppliers to the global apparel industry allow us to bring together the entire apparel ecosystem in the US.

Key message

This convention is a unique fashion industry event bringing together the entire global industry ecosystem to hear high level industry insights and to jointly discuss concrete actions involving the entire industry ecosystem to create faster industry transition.