Colombia’s second-largest city, Medellin, has become the center of the country’s textile and apparel industry and is gaining a growing international reputation.
With two major fashion events taking place each year, Medellin has consolidated its position as the place to be for fashion. It is now home to both local designers and multinational companies, with Levi’s and Ralph Lauren just two of the brands who have set up production lines there.
The first event, which kicks off the year for the fashion industry, is Colombiatex. This annual exhibition allows the nation’s thread, fabric and clothing makers to show off their wares to foreign buyers. Meanwhile, Colombiamoda, held every July, focuses on finished apparel. The latter’s 2014 edition generated a record $308 million in business orders, demonstrating just how important the industry has become.
“With the concept that Colombia has today of having a value-added product, there are very valuable opportunities in niche markets in the U.S.”
Carlos Eduardo Botero Executive President of InexmodaTweet This
Such staggering figures now make Colombia, without exaggeration, “one of the biggest textile industries in the world,” according to Carlos Eduardo Botero, executive president of Inexmoda, the non-profit entity which organizes the two events. Tasked with boosting the textile sector, Botero explains that Inexmoda now plans to create links with the rest of Latin America to ensure Medellin’s status as the region’s center for fashion.
Eye on Lafayette
Managing partner of Colombia garment and textiles firm Lafayette
“Colombia is very well located and has a similar culture to the U.S.; Colombia has very agile processes, so that helps us to be very competitive and we really feel that the textile and garment sector going into the States is very competitive. The United States is currently our second export country after Ecuador and we feel that there are a lot of growth opportunities there.”