Cashmere World
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APLF focusing on the future: new expansion plans for APLF Fairs in Hong Kong in 2020

Coinciding with the beginning of the cashmere harvest season in China, this year Cashmere World was held concurrently with APLF 2019 in Hong Kong from 13th to 15th of March. Similarly to other events held during APLF, sustainability was an essential component of the Cashmere World  exhibition. “Cashmere as a luxury fibre deserves to be promoted in a sustainable and professional way,” insists Perrine Ardouin, Director of APLF. The consolidation of the supply chain and the demand for more creative designs are the other two major trends that marked the event.

Sustainability first
Recently, the governments of China and Mongolia, two of the industry’s main cashmere producing countries, issued and enforced very strict environmental protection rules, intensifying scrutiny on cashmere production operations, and subsequently decreasing the number of breeding goats and cashmere output. This situation resulted in a spike in prices that was reflected at Cashmere World. Another factor affecting cashmere prices was the increasing demand for lamb in China; with higher prices for lamb meat, goats reared for fibres were supplanted by sheep, reducing cashmere production, according to the Schneider Group’s recently released annual cashmere market.

Sustainability is on everybody’s mind and is of particular significance to millennials, who are concerned about the transparency of the products they purchase. This has led manufacturers to increasingly buy cashmere directly from nomad families without involving middle men, allowing them to trace the cashmere in terms of location as well as quality. The result of this is a consolidation of the supply chain. 

Quality, verifiability, land misuse and circularity are all pressure points that the industry should take into serious consideration.  “There is growing pressure to meet new standards here and it may be wise for the cashmere industry to create an internationally acceptable industry body which sets standards and fights its corner,” suggests Ralph Goodstone, one of the founders of the Ethical Fashion Forum.

Design, design, design…
Another clear trend is the need for more creative and diverse designs along with increased fabric blends and mixes that sell in summer and thus extend the sales season.  “In the past, brands used to provide their own design to their suppliers,” recalls Mohsin Sheikh of Le Cashmere, a leading manufacturer of high quality cashmere knitwear and accessories. “Today, brands expect their suppliers to suggest new creative designs and to provide them in smaller quantities.” This presents a challenge to manufacturers who henceforth need to become more fashion oriented and flexible in terms of quantity. 


As a business platform that forms an integral part of the global leather industry, APLF has always strived to improve its services to exhibitors and visitors alike since its inception in 1984. 


Now, as we approach APLF’s 35th Anniversary, we can announce that the exhibition space dedicated to the leather industry on Level 1 of the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) has been sold out for some time. 


For years, APLF-Leather has been considered by the industry as the No.1 exhibition to attend and the space in Hall 1 has been inadequate to meet exhibitors’ needs. 


In response to the changing fashion landscape and consumer demand, APLF’s goal is to serve the business community and connect it to new buyers with the 4 shows in 1 concept (the concurrent APLF-Leather, APLF-Materials+, Fashion Access and Cashmere World events) that covers the whole leather and fashion supply chains as well as the all year round programmes ( Online Sourcing Platform, Understanding Leather courses, Leather Naturally, Sustainability Programme). 


In view of this, the Organisers have decided to expand the fairs in 2020 to offer more opportunities for buyers to see a wider range of products and services. 


How will this be done? 


To facilitate this expansion, APLF-Leather will be relocated from Level 1 to Level 3. The fairs that occupy Level 3 – Materials+, Fashion Access and Cashmere World will move to Level 1. 


This decision has been made for two reasons. 


Firstly, by relocating the leather sector to Level 3 of the HKCEC, the total exhibition area will be enlarged. 


The extra exhibition space will offer more prime stand locations to the current exhibitors at APLF-Leather. The configuration will also offer an opportunity for the Organisers to re-segment and re-group product zones and in this way facilitate buyers’ easier navigation of the fair according to their sourcing purposes, in particular for sustainable materials. 


The second reason is that moving Materials+, Fashion Access & Cashmere World to Level 1 will fundamentally shift the fairs from a focus on leather to a fashion oriented group of fairs which will attract not only leather buyers but also new fashion and interior designers from the Generations Y and Z, reconnecting them all to the leather supply chain. 


APLF-Leather, APLF-Materials+, Fashion Access and Cashmere World will be held at HKCEC on 13-15 March 2019.