Blog: Leonie BarrieGuatemala: fast fashion?

Leonie Barrie | 5 May 2004

With more than 2000 visitors pre-registered for the 2004 Apparel Sourcing Show here in Guatemala City, exhibitors are obviously optimistic about the region's capacity for growth and its ability to remain competitive post-2005. With exhibitors coming from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and the Dominican Republic - as well as more further afield places like Taiwan - it's clear that there's still room for business discussions even while CAFTA negotiations are ongoing. Yes a lot of investment in on hold until a decision on the trade agreement is reached, but many people also believe it will go through eventually.

One phrase I've heard repeatedly from talking to fibre, fabric and garment suppliers here is that buyers won't put all their eggs in one basket when it comes to sourcing from China. And a fascinating and frank discussion this-afternoon on the merits of speed to market (see news link below) seems to confirm that there is indeed a key role to be played by fast turn fashion manufacturers in the CBI region - providing they make the necessary investments in their technology and sourcing infrastructure and accelerate the move to full package production.

One note of caution though: none of the panellists would be drawn on the question of the likely winners and losers among the CBI countries post-2005. This is a question that's been on my mind too. Speaking with companies across the globe from Sri Lanka to Colombia, it seems everyone who's not into long lead time commodities is trying to reposition as a fast replenishment, short lead time supplier. And while there's definitely a need for this switch, it certainly isn't going to be a guarantee of future success. The fact there will be losers must be a given; let's just hope that the high level of optimism in the region isn't misplaced too.

GUATEMALA: Speed To Market Key To Industry's Future


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