“Building bridges across continents, the iaf wants to maximize the value its members can gain from global cooperation”
- for the betterment of business practices
- for the promotion of the international image of the apparel business
- for the advancement of technology and the promotion of its’ use
- for the encouragement of innovation and new ways of thinking
- for the growth of apparel trade worldwide
- for the improvement of social, health and safety, and environmental conditions relating to the apparel chain worldwide
- for the advancement of apparel related education and training
The apparel industry feeds a retail market of 1.3 trillion US Dollars according to Euromonitor. Including sales figures not officially recorded the apparel industry feeds a retail market in the vicinity of 2 billion US Dollars. It employs tens of millions of people worldwide.
Apparel has a relatively large impact on our lives because it’s production is labour intensive, because apparel is worn by everybody and because clothing is so much woven into the expression of our personal identities and our position in society.
The industry often is a positive force in the industrial development of a country. It is often a first step into industrialization and, later, a first step in the development of a more design oriented economy. In all phases of its development, the industry has a large impact on economies and on societies. In some countries the industry is the largest employer, in others it is the most visible component of a growing creative industry.
However, the industry in 2014 also faces grave challenges, the greatest of which are labour conditions and sustainability (global responsibility), the need to become a more knowledge intensive industry, the mismatch of supply and demand and the need to prevent governments to overregulate our industry, trying to solve the industry’s challenges in fragmented, costly but ineffective ways.
Solutions to these problems are interrelated. A best case scenario sees an industry that has invested in its people, in its equipment and in its relations leading to a more sustainable, transparent and effective industry. In this scenario, the industry can support the industrial development of countries with rising wages supported by rising productivity. It can support the creation of new jobs in high cost economies through the emergence of new fashion brands.
Meeting these challenges and creating the best case scenario requires global corporations, which is what the IAF offers. Many retailers, brands, manufacturers, solution providers and industry associations are already working hard to further improve the industry. By building bridges across continents and helping to link national or regional solutions to form international ones, the IAF is supporting the industry’s positive growth.