Heading into the 26th Annual Colombiatex de las Americas, Latin America’s biggest trade fair for the fashion production industry, organizers expected to generate an impressive $150 million in potential business deals, over the course of the three-day event in Medellin. When the fair came to a close on Thursday, however, it had brought together a reported $266.9 million in business dealings, a 75% increase from the previous year.
“I think it [was] a very positive fair as much in quality as in quantity,” Carlos Botero, Executive President of Inexmoda, the group behind the event, told Colombia Reports.
“Everything worked extremely well to enrich the doing-business spirit in this 26th year of Colombiatex.
From the fair’s educational productions — such as the Textiles Forum, Denim Review, Denim Day, the Pavilion of Knowledge – to the new Fashion.Mob initiative, which aimed to combine gastronomy, fashion and music into a cross-media experience, everything went “supremely well,” according to Botero.
As a result, business was very much booming at the region’s largest “fashion system” platform, where all the fashion industry’s various aspects come together to dialogue, from raw materials manufacturers, to designers, to machinery and equipment companies.
“In total, we welcomed [...] more than 26,000 visitors, of which 1,760 were international buyers from 41 difference countries,” said Botero, pointing to a 9% rise in visitors compared to the previous year, as well as the increasingly international appeal of the Colombian trade show.
“The Colombiatex fair has been steadily establishing itself as the business center of Latin America,” Botero affirms. “[For example], we don’t only get Ecuadorians coming to do business with Colombians, they also come to make deals with Peruvians, Brazilians, Americans.”
“This confirms precisely that this [...] is the fair that kick-starts the textile year in the continent, and I believe that it’s of great value that this opportunity take place here in Colombia.”
Botero attributed almost half of the total business generated during the event to the international trade agreement passed between Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Chile.
“More or less US$120 million came from the Alianza del Pacifico,” he said.
Residents of Pacific Alliance countries reportedly comprised 87% of the foreign visitors to Colombiatex 2014. Ecuador and the United States were also well-represented.
Ultimately, Botero believes the success of the 2014 fair was a result of a combinations of factors.
“Firstly, the last trimester of 2013 was positive for Colombia’s economy. This meant that for people business was good, and therefore it instilled a certain optimism at the start of this year.”
Botero also mentioned the speeches given by Colombian government officials at the inauguration of the fair as a source of motivation, and that the healing global – and specifically US — economy played a significant role in spurring business.
“On top of this, the quality of exhibitors at a fair such as Colombiatex, the level of organization and cooperation by the city of Medellin [...] all this generates a new dynamic whose impact can be seen in the business deals, which is what we witnessed in this year’s Colombiatex,” said Botero.
The more-than-satisfactory end result of Colombiatex 2014 has organizers already looking ahead to next year’s fair, which will bring back the Pavilion of Knowledge and other popular features and is scheduled to take place between January 27 and 29, 2015.
“I think we took some risks that worked out well, such as Fashion.Mob [...] which we will run again,” Botero concluded. “We will continue to consolidate the trade fair as the heart of business in Latin America [...] and work hand-in-hand with the city of Medellin to see if we can expand, so that the show can keep on growing.”
- Colombiatex superó las expectativas de negocios (El Universal)