MEDELLIN, Colombia — Colombian fashion and sourcing fair Colombiamoda should “aspire” to double its size by 2020 as it draws more international buyers and boosts its exhibition space, said Medellín Mayor Aníbal Gaviria Correa.
“Colombiamoda has more than doubled in the past five years,” Gaviria said, from about 40,000 square feet to more than 80,000 square feet. He added that the show has become a big economic growth driver for Colombia’s second-largest city. “Our aspiration should be to redouble our size.”
Gaviria, whose four-year term ends in December, said the event should also help Medellín double tourist visits to 1 million in five years.
With its “City of Life” marketing slogan, Medellín is rushing to pursue a string of renovations and social inclusion projects to boost tourism and purge its past image of drug violence.
“We hope to attract 250 national and international events from around 200 currently,” Gaviria told WWD, adding that Colombiamoda (which City Hall has spent $342 million to publicize since 2012) will be an integral part of that effort. Officials said the event could help account for a third of Colombia’s goal to ramp up textile and apparel exports to $1 billion a year in 2018.
Carlos Eduardo Botero, president of fair organizer Inexmoda, said sourcing-contract revenues for the three-in-one show (which features sourcing, runway shows and conference activities) should near $500 million in 2020 from $308 million last year, when potential sourcing opportunities grew 23 percent.
He would not disclose ticketing and other revenues. Exhibition capacity should leap 20 percent annually to roughly 15,000 square feet.
“We don’t have more space here and are literally moving to the street,” Botero said of the Plaza Mayor venue, adding that Inexmoda might move beyond the Plaza Mayor convention center, where it also hosts the Colombiatex sourcing fair.
Inexmoda and exports promotion agency Procolombia are stepping up their presence abroad, with a growing pavilion in Intermoda, a Guadalajara, Mexico, textiles fair that has recently drawn acquisition interest from UBM, Messe Frankfurt and Reed Exhibitions.
Quashing speculation the Colombians could also be buyers, Botero said Inexmoda is not involved.
“It is not our business focus,” he said. “However, we are interested in increasing our [sales or marketing] alliances and cooperation. Everything we can do together is good for the Latin American market.”
In its 26th edition that ended July 30, Colombiamoda saw revenues from potential sourcing contracts rise 11 percent to $341 million as it drew 20 percent more buyers to 13,271.
More than 1,700 international buyers (notably newcomer Spain’s El Corte Inglés, CK Calvin Klein and Zara Men) visited the show, up 10 percent, while domestic numbers rose 22 percent to 11,568.
Most foreign buyers came from the U.S., Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, with C&A Mexico making a return to the fair after a long absence, executives of export promotion agency ProColombia said. Other buyers sought beach and sportswear, shapewear and jeanswear, full-package opportunities and value-added and intelligent fabrics. In that department, suppliers Lafayette and Protela introduced new fabric lines made from coffee grain and featuring weight-loss properties, respectively.
The show added new wedding and kidswear exhibition spaces to its Textiles 2 and Moda Para el Mundo sourcing events. There were more than 30 runway shows featuring established and emerging designers from promotion platforms El Cubo, Non-Stop and Vogue Talents Corner.
A new designer commercial wing called Epica was added while the Knowledge Pavilion conference center attracted nearly 13,000 visitors, as 33,000 watched it online.
U.S. buyers were pleased with the fair. Daphne O’Donnell, president of women’s apparel brand Iridium, said she was impressed by the fabrics and fashion on display.
“Colombians have an incredible sense of fashion,” she said, adding that the fair has a young and entrepreneurial vibe, drawing more boutique buyers than U.S. trade shows. “Everything is very well turned-out and tasteful. Very impressive.”
O’Donnell, looking for suppliers to move sourcing from Ecuador (where new import duties have increased her costs), said the country “has great natural and technology fabrics with improving prints and probably the best bathing suits in the world.”
As it grows its fashion industry, Inexmoda is set to launch its B Capital fashion trade show in Bogota in late September that will come after Bogota Fashion Week launches a week earlier.