The speaker line-up at this year’s International Apparel Federation (IAF) Convention is starting to take shape, with executives from Hugo Boss, Ahlers and McKinsey all set to take part.

The 31st IAF Convention is being held in Istanbul from 13-15 October in collaboration with the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers Association (TCMA) with support from ITKIB, the Turkish Organisation of Fashion Exporters. TCMA will combine its Istanbul Fashion Conference with the IAF Convention, giving an opportunity to showcase the best of the fashion Turkish industry.

Building on the IAF’s past track record of focusing on the positive improvements made by the industry, the theme of this year’s Convention is ‘Making it better.’

"Investments in sustainability, investments in innovative products and investments in a more efficient organisation of the value chain are strengthening the fashion industry today," explains Matthijs Crietee, IAF secretary general.

The main conference day on 14 October will include an introduction by the Turkish Minister of trade, and a keynote speech by Christoph Auhagen, the chief brand officer of Hugo Boss, looking at how brand value can be maintained through a combination of strong marketing, product quality, and investment in technical knowhow.

There will also be sessions on supply chain and sourcing developments, CSR and sustainability, the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) and trade policy, and emerging brands and emerging markets – with speakers including Jan Hilger COO of Ahlers AG, which includes the brands Pierre Cardin and Baldessarini; Kurt Cavano, chief strategy officer at GT Nexus; and Achim Berg, partner at McKinsey and Company and leader of its European Apparel, Fashion & Luxury Practice.

"Woven into the conference is the Convention’s theme ‘Making it Better’," Crietee adds. "For the industry as a whole to really improve, new value must be added and old values must be implemented."

The supply chain session will be built around the challenge of: ‘not moving production, but improving production.’ While emerging sourcing countries such as Myanmar and Ethiopia continue to draw attention, investments in software can also improve the links between supply and demand, and adding value can help manufacturers move away from the low price trap.

In the sustainability session, panellists will debate how the total textile and fashion supply chain can become a better employer with less negative impact on the environment.

"We want to show that running a more effective business and more effective supply chain are necessary conditions for becoming a more sustainable business. Just having a good CSR and sustainability policy in isolation is probably not very useful. ‘Making it better’ is obviously an integral concept," Crietee continues.

Growing consumer markets in emerging economies offer new opportunities for the local fashion industry to develop brands and retailers, as well as strengthening the local industry as a whole. So the ‘emerging brands and emerging markets’ session will look at how local Turkish brands have developed into big retail chains and how they interact with local manufacturers. The role of wearable technology will also be covered.

The day of the Conference will be preceded in the evening of 13 October by a gala dinner at the new Raffles Hotel in Istanbul, while the third day of the Convention on 15 October will be devoted to B2B meetings and workshops with the Turkish fashion industry. There is also an opportunity to join a study tour that combines factory visits with social and cultural activities.

The 31st IAF Convention takes place from 13-15 October at the Hilton Bosporus in Istanbul. Click here for more details.