August 28, 2023
The 8th Edition of Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada (ATSC) took place August 21-23 in Toronto at the Toronto Congress Centre. ATSC 2023 welcomed over 200 manufacturers to Canada from more than a dozen countries and regions. Over 2,000 visitors joined, made up of sourcing professionals, domestic and international government officials, buyers, business owners, CEO’s, designers & more.
More than 120 factories came direct from China, marking their first significant return to Canada in four years, since pre-pandemic 2019. The China Chamber of Commerce for Export of Textiles (CCCT), based in Beijing, led this significant group to Toronto for the event. The most notable Chinese group – Brand China – attended via a large pavilion and sponsored the ATSC 2023 Fashion Show directed by Alabania Rosario, President of Fashion Designers of Latin Amercia (FDLA) who also bring her own collection “Nothing to wear” which enriched the show.
The Canadian Apparel Federation, and their Executive Director Bob Kirke, partnered with ATSC for the 8th year in a row and helped attract their members and other Canadians to the show. “There’s no other event where the Canadian market can meet so extensively, and so conveniently with so many factories and sources all at once,” Mr. Kirke said.
While China remains the top production destination for the largest portion of importers, the fast, efficient supply chain and innovation still help Chinese market share in advanced, the new supply chain demand after Covid and rising costs are making deleveraging and near-shoring an industry priority. This diversification was a key focus for the sourcing professionals attending.
Notable Canadian companies including Canada Knitwear, Canada Sportswear, Canadian Tire, Gertex, Giant Tiger, Hudson Bay, Jammers, Joe Fresh, Kotn, Loblaws, Unisync, Walmart Canada, and internationally based companies like Dillard’s and Li & Fung were nearly all seeking to diversify and find new supplier opportunities in emerging regions.
Featured exhibits this year on the show floor came from the following countries and regions: Bangladesh, Canada, China, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Latin America, Pakistan, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States, Ukraine, Vietnam, and more.
Over the three-day show, the uniquely Canadian event provided more than 15 seminars, panel discussions, and keynotes from domestic and international industry leaders, directed to the Canadian audience.
Sustainability and compliance took center stage as companies TESTEX and WRAP lead industry discussions. TESTEX CEO Rainer Roten flew in from Zurich Switzerland to discuss “, WRAP CEO Avedis Seferian came from Washington, DC to speak on “.
Closer to home, Bob Kirke, Executive Director of the Canadian Apparel Federation based in Ottawa, spoke at ATSC for the eighth consecutive year, providing his annual “State of the Industry” speech focused on where the industry is headed in 2024, to the audience of buyers.
One of the most popular countries’ exhibits at this year’s event was Ukraine. Five companies from Ukraine exhibited with the help of the Ukraine Embassy to Canada as well as the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce. Through joint efforts, the Event was able subsidize the costs to ensure the Ukrainian companies participation. The Ukraine pavilion was amongst the most popular areas on the trade show floor; and the spotlight was on Ukraine on the seminar stage as well.
Ukrainian Vadim Rogovskiy, CEO and Co-Founder of 3DLOOK provided the opening day Keynote speech “Rebels in Tech and Battlefield — How Ukrainian Companies Keep Conquering the Global Tech Scene” where he talked about technology and innovation and his team working out of bomb shelters along the way to creating the next big innovation in the apparel industry.
The show also featured Brands For Canada, the tradeshow’s Charity of Choice since the show’s inception, and their Executive Director Helen Harakas presenting on “The #1 Solution for Surplus Goods” – donations. Brands for Canada has collected and distributed over $50 million worth of surplus goods to Canadian families in needs. “We met so many great brands at this show,” Ms. Harakas said, “Hudson Bay, Walmart Canada, Unisync, and on…our booth was always busy, and now more Canadian families will be warm this winter thanks to this year’s show”.
ATSC will return to Canada again in Summer/Fall 2024 and next year’s calendar will also feature ATS events in Montreal, Miami, Africa and Asia.