Colombiamoda will be different, even more enthusiastic than usual. Inexmoda, which organizes the event, announced the expansion of the area devoted to footwear. Italian and Spanish brands have assured they're going to invest with power. Medellín promises to be the entry point to the desirable Latin America.
After a first test in the 2014 edition, the Portuguese footwear had a powerful comeback at the biggest professional fair of Latin America. The national companies crossed the Atlantic and ventured themselves once again on the Latin market. Among the Portuguese exhibitors stories are told about the recoveries, the adaptation on a continuously changing sector and of those who never lost track of the word success. The national committee brought along several debutants: Cloud, D.Usk, Paulo Brandão and Rufel. Cloud, the company specialized in comfort footwear, invested for the first time in this market. The brand’s manager, Ana Lima, believes Colombia can be an entry point into the Latin America market: “Our brand’s internationalization is very important to us. We’re already in Europe, Asia, USA and Canada and we’ve decided strategically to approach the Colombian market since it’s one of the main markets in Latin America”. In 2016’s edition, the brand from Felgueiras will reinforce its presence in Medellín, the “city of eternal spring”.
The brand Paulo Brandão also took its first steps into this country. Teresa Cunha, the brand’s manager, believes they can sell in Colombia. “For us it’s very important to internationalize Paulo Brandão. We have expectations of selling our brand in Colombia.”
Rufel joined the debutants group in this exhibition, however the intentions of investing in this market were thought of a long time ago. “We’re already working with a partner, who will lead us into Colombia’s market and the American continent”, stated Carina Santos.
Besides the attendance in the fair, the Portuguese footwear was a success in Colombia’s Fashion Week. A collective fashion show with the national footwear brands filled the runway with hundreds of journalists and international buyers.
As a result from the effort and investment made, the Portuguese footwear exports to Latin America doubled in the past three years. Exports to Colombia amounted to 1,9 million euros by the end of 2015, ten times more than in the beginning of this promotional campaign.
Colombiamoda’s visits increased 20%
Colombiamoda is considered the most important business platform dedicated to the fashion industry in Latin America and it’s a melting pot of brands, designers and stylists from around the world.
The 26º edition, last July, focused on the dynamics of three main areas: business; knowledge; and trends. The three days of the Fashion Week resulted in the participation of 60.741 visitors in all areas, an increase of 20% compared with 2014’s edition.
USA, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela were the countries which provided the largest part of international buyers. From 74% of these visitors resulted short-term business proposals.
Portuguese products with great potential in the Colombian market
The Portuguese companies seemed to have discovered Latin America, namely, Colombia. João Ribeiro de Almeida, the Portuguese Ambassador in Bogotá, highlights that “Colombia has been establishing itself as an attractive market, with open market practices, a business culture and an entrepreneurial DNA similar to ours”. The Ambassador also points out that in this market, “the Portuguese companies and products can establish themselves by their quality differentiation and allow, at the same time, opportunities for the Colombian companies to grow”. Therefore, “Colombian fashion won’t be a matter of transitory nature. I believe the economic relationship we’re building on the strong historical connection will be lasting and that Colombia can establish itself as a valuable platform for our companies in the Andean region (Chile, Peru, Ecuador), in Central American countries and in the indirect access to the USA”.
João Ribeiro de Almeida assumes “genuinely positive prospects for Colombia, as long as it maintains the signals of openness it has shown over the past few years”. We may see many opportunities for the footwear sector. The Portuguese Ambassador in Bogotá already begins to notice the presence of top-of-the-range Portuguese footwear models at stores in the A-B segment. “However, and I believe the Portuguese entrepreneurs already take this into account, at the present moment there will be no more than two million Colombian customers with purchasing power of the Portuguese brands and it is most likely it won't reach the 10 million to the “made in Portugal” footwear.”