The (denim) sourcing world is kind of in an uproar: political turbulences, currency losses, pressure on prices and margins and last but not least the need to create shorter lead times to bring the product on the floor quicker than before make brands and buyers look out for sourcing alternatives.
While North Africa and especially Morocco have long been known as sourcing places they might be in the focus more than ever. Bringing production closer to Europe, making things logistically easier and thus creating these shorter lead times is the advantage of North African sourcing.
This aspect, among others, was once more pointed out at trade show Maroc in Mode/Maroc Sourcing held in Marrakech on October 11 and 12.
All in all the trade show hosted about 90 companies divided into segments such as Fast Fashion, Knits and Tailoring. About 25 companies were part of the Denim Cluster, mostly from Morocco’s main denim hub, Casablanca, and therefore, of course, mostly apparel manufacturers: Paris Texas, Madness, Sodecasa, Blue Fingers, just to name a few. Still, some (non-Moroccan) denim weavers found their way to Marrakech as well, among them Evlox (former Tavex), Kilimdenim, Soorty, Vicunha and Atlas Denim.
Among visitors one could mostly spot representatives of big names such as Kik, Diesel, Marc O’Polo, Pimkie or Monoprix-which makes sense since the great part of the exhibitors serves mass market chains/brands such as Zara or S.Oliver. Visitors of smaller brands were rather the exception, but for sure would be a benefit for a trade show such as Maroc in Mode in terms of creative ambitions. Among the smaller players was German denim brand Herrlicher. “We have been at Maroc in Mode before and not only look for denim suppliers but also for producers in other product categories such as knits,” Christine Lambrecht, head designer at Herrlicher, says.
As for the general perception of the show, especially the denim segment, some visitors seemed indecisive: “You can find interesting and good products at the booths. But I have to say I am just not sure about the trade show itself. I question the meaning of trade shows today in general.” That’s what a visitor who works for a denim brand said. And it certainly sums up the kind of doubts about trade shows that many business players have these days. On the one hand visiting showrooms offers a better way for the companies to present themselves and a more intimate order situation for the buyer, but on the other hand being at a trade show meeting everyone at the same time to exchange information and compare products still underlines the relevance of trade shows. This is a discrepancy that also Maroc in Mode could not dissolve.
Among exhibitors the date was a matter of discussion. “It would be better to run the show around mid-November in between Kingpins and Denim PV,” a sales representative of Evlox says. At the same time manufacturers such as CCF would prefer an earlier date, meaning in September. So far AMITH (Association Marocaine des Industries du Textile et de l’Habillement/Moroccan textile and apparel industry association), organizer of the show, voted for a later timing and announced October 25 and 26 as the date for the 2019 edition.
In his introduction speech, Mohamed Tazi, general manager, AMITH, additionally addressed the future production opportunities in Morocco by emphasizing its meaning in the fast fashion sector, particularly due to the possibility of shorter lead times. Without becoming too specific he also underlined AMITH’s support for its home based companies in pushing digitization and sustainability-more of which shall become visible in the next years and certainly gives good reason to have an eye on Morocco as a production hub.
SIDE NOTE: The author was invited by AMITH to visit this edition of Maroc in Mode/Maroc Sourcing in Marrakech.