The team have not long returned from a highly successful brand new addition to the PI Apparel conference world series. Back in 2013, we launched PI Apparel Europe in response to the ever-increasing number of brands attending our cross-industry event, who wanted to examine the crucial role that technology plays – especially in the fast-moving world of fashion, apparel and footwear. While over the last four years we have seen the event grow to the point it regularly sells out in New York, that didn't take away from the nerves launching an event in Asia from a small office in London. I am pleased to say however, we are back at the PI Apparel HQ with smiles all round.
Being a launch event, we started a little smaller than its western counterparts and hosted just over 170 delegates from Hong Kong and the rest of Asia, with over 30% of our attendees joining us on the recommendation of the local associations and councils we formed partnerships with in the lead up to the event.
It’s fair to say, the audience was left in awe with keynote Lauren Bowker from T H E U N S E E N and her ‘magick’al and innovative ink technology and vast applications. Lauren is familiar with the PI Apparel World Series having delivered a keynote session at our New York show in 2015, and with her most recent updates she has yet again proved herself a true pioneer of innovation.
Angie Lau, CEO of Clover Group and Chairman of the HKIAIA delivered an inspired presentation on the impacts of new technologies on supply chain siloed functions. Ultimately, it's forcing brands to explore ways to foster a new type of innovation culture that aligns with these technological adoptions. She encouraged the audience to think of what emerging technologies are around the corner and how to better prepare for new concepts.
Another impressive presentation came from Joachim Hensch, MD at Hugo Boss who discussed how factories should be working smarter by leveraging technologies like IoT as a ‘must have’. Joachim expanded upon this later in the day where he led a practical focus group on how to deploy Industrie 4.0 in an innovative and smart way. A common theme in his presentations was that it’s simply not good enough for apparel brands to remain as technologically stagnated. The mantra is ‘digitize or die’.
Feedback from attendees has been outstanding with a special nod to the networking aspects of the event, which in case you haven’t been to one of our shows really forms the heartbeat by providing pre-arranged one-to-one meetings between delegates, speakers and event partners.
For many years the industry has been comfortable going about 'business as usual' when it comes to design, development and manufacturing. The common theme at PI Apparel Hong Kong was that the times have already changed, and continue to do so rapidly. Across the board from pre-production to retail, staying innovative, sustainable and profitable requires individuals to become technological natives.
The PI Apparel Hong Kong photos are available here, and a selection of presentations will be available in the coming weeks. The best way to get access to live presentations is through signing up to the blog at the top of the page.