APPAREL TEXTILE SOURCING
Second Apparel Textile Sourcing Show in Miami Attracts Larger Crowd
Now celebrating its second year in Miami, the Apparel Textile Sourcing trade show ran at the Mana Wynwood Convention Center May 28–30 with a surge in new visitors and exhibitors.
With an opportunity to learn about innovative technology equipment and software, production and storefront accessories, textiles and ready-to-wear garments, ATS is gaining traction after it launched similar trade shows in Canada and Germany.
“We have more than triple the attendees since last year. I think there are about 1,500 people in this room right now,” said Jason Prescott, chief executive of Manufacturer.com, which organizes the ATS Miami trade show. “On the exhibitor floor, we’re seeing the emergence of the Americas as a major player in the apparel space, with Haitian and Colombian exhibitors. This is also the first trade show ever with a Ghana pavilion.”
According to Darrell Botts, sales director of Manufacturer.com, an influx in Ghanaian, Indian and Bangladeshi exhibitors may be related to the current trade war between the U.S. and China. “While China’s strong manufacturing industry has certainly absorbed the effects of U.S. policy toward China, it’s also presented a lot of benefits to businesses in other countries,” he said.
Notably, the vast majority of exhibitors at ATS Miami were from China, signaling the continued health of its industry.
The trade show is positioned to attract buyers from Central and South America and the Caribbean. Connecting with this demographic of buyers was the primary motivator for attending the ATS Miami show.
Guiseppe Cianci, chief operating officer of Bierrebi International, exhibited an enormous cutting machine called Crystal, which rapidly cuts fabric with a patented energy-saving technology. “I decided to attend the show because it’s the best opportunity to showcase our technology before sourcing companies that provide prototype and sampling services,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of buyers from Latin America, which is an area I was really targeting.”
However, Saif Rahman, chief executive of the New York–based T & S Apparel, was underwhelmed by the foot traffic and didn’t connect with buyers and manufacturers from the Americas. “I thought I would be able to meet more Latin American companies, but I’m a little disappointed,” he said. “This is quite a small show—nothing compared to those I’ve attended in Las Vegas.”
Greg Thompson, a vice president at Nanchang Steadfast Garments Co. Ltd., was also disappointed that the majority of attendees appeared to be small to startup-sized companies. “There’s been a fair amount of traffic, but I’m finding that most people here are startups from Miami,” he said. “I was curious to see whether they would be able to attract Central and South American buyers to the show. Regardless, I’m pleased with the exposure and marketing they’ve put into it.”
Other exhibitors and attendees, however, remained optimistic about the show and what it can bring to the area’s local fashion scene.
“This year’s show is definitely better because of the size and variety,” said Jill Odermann, chief executive of sourcing firm Miafashi LLC and a 20-year veteran of the apparel industry. “I think last year was more focused on the global supply chain; this year you have a lot of exhibitors willing to do small minimums.”
Philomena Appiah, chief executive of Global Garments & Textiles Ltd., a ready-to-wear garment manufacturer in Ghana, was pleased with both the sales-floor activity and the types of buyers she was encountering. “I wanted to connect with Latin American buyers, and I’ve written a few orders so far,” she said. “I usually go to Las Vegas but thought this would be a good change, and my sales have already offset the costs of being here.”