he ITMF 2019 Convention, which took place in Porto from October 20th to the 22nd, gathered more than 370 congressmen and congresswomen from more than 30 countries, setting an attendance record for the Convention – just the Portuguese delegation alone counted more than six dozen people – that is already considered, by many, as the best edition so far.
For its programme and contents. For the quality of the speakers. For the brilliance of the “key speaker”, Paulo Portas, who painted an uncertain and volatile picture of our world and its immediate future, drawing us into reflection. For the pristine organization, attentive to details, concerned about providing the best possible image of an industry and a country that, nowadays, wish to be differentiated through quality and value, in all its manifestations.
Portugal does not have the biggest textile industry in the world. Far from it. We barely constitute 1% of the overall total, whereas China and India make up more than 65%. Amongst the ITMF congressmen were entrepreneurs that have 80 thousand employees and one of them, in particular, owned a company that has a consolidated business volume three times that of the entire Portuguese rank put together.
Unable to compete in the scale game, we are left with the quality, trend and innovation championship, where price is less important than value. In this championship we are rising. We are considered the last textile stronghold in Europe, which acts as a “cluster” that manages and applies technological innovation and creativity, that guarantees production as a qualified art, and that aligns itself more and more with sustainability and circular economy, effectively showing this reality instead of invoking it for communication’s sake alone.
We do not compete to be the biggest, we compete to be the best; and the world acknowledges us for it.
In the last seven years, ATP has done the extraordinary effort of bringing to Portugal the world’s three biggest congresses of the sector, through a programme destined to give the “Made in Portugal” more visibility and entitled “Fashion From Portugal”: in 2012 it brought IAF (International Apparel Federation), in 2017 it was Euratex’s annual conference, and now in 2019 with the ITMF (International Textile Manufacturers Federation).
Not everybody will be able to grasp the outreach of this strategic initiative and of the investments made towards it, although those who underestimate or even disregard it may already be reaping its fruits. And very much so.
Unbeknown to us is what the future may bring, though the next few years will almost certainly be harder and a new purge in the sector will occur, especially for those who keep insisting on old solutions to new problems.
All that is left to know is if all the efforts carried out to promote ourselves were sufficient, both in our country and abroad, to ensure that a positive future continues to roll out for the companies and the sector in general.
From our end, we have accomplished our mission. Now, the rest must also accomplish theirs.