Colombia has become the number one flat weave fabric exporter in South America for products such as bras, jeans, and shapewear. The Colombian fashion industry comprises 9.4% of the total industrial GDP and employs around 600,000 people. In 2019, clothing and footwear sales in the country amounted to USD 8 billion and more than 1,200 Colombian companies in this industry exported their garments to over 100 countries.
Why invest in the Colombian fashion industry?
Importance of the fashion industry in Colombia:
- The Colombian fashion industry has acquired greater specialization and recognition in the export of high value-added products. In 2019, over 1,200 companies exported their products to more than 100 countries, which were worth USD10,000 or more.
- Colombia has a robust business network with over 14,000 companies in the fashion industry, mostly MSMEs, and a qualified, specialized, and internationally renowned workforce.
What makes Colombia’s fashion industry competitive:
- The fashion industry in Colombia has a history of over 100 years and the support of an extensive network of private and public partners.
- A diversified product offering, which is well-known for its high quality dressmaking, fine jewelry and fashion jewelry, textiles and supplies, leather and leather products, and footwear and footwear materials.
- Colombia offers unique designs at the forefront of global trends, incorporating contemporary designs with artisanal techniques, ethnically inspired garments, and much more.
- The Colombian fashion industry is innovative and has made progress in the production of garments with functional features, such as high UV protection, breathability, and quick dry fabrics.
- Colombian companies offer a flexible production to adjust to customer requirements, providing a designer option and a full-package service, adjusting the order size to meet the customer’s needs and quickly responding to resupply orders.
- Presence of experienced and traditional textile companies with steady development and production capacity, which offer an ideal platform for the manufacturing process and a vertically integrated industry.
Attractive local market to develop the fashion industry:
- The Colombian fashion industry has had a trade deficit in recent years, where the textile subsectors stand out with 45.3% of the sector’s imports, followed by manufacturing with 29.4%, and footwear with 14.5% in 2019.
- There are great regional opportunities for Colombia due to its capacity to produce an ample selection of products including jeans, underwear, shapewear, bathing suits, and footwear, among others.
Important strategic location to grow operations with a regional and global scope:
- Colombia has a strategic location in Latin America to offer suitable delivery times to supply the international demand. The country is less than three days by ship from the main ports in the Americas and 12 days from Europe thanks to more than 4,500 maritime shipping routes and access to 680 ports worldwide.
The fashion industry has different incentives that seek to drive the sector’s competitiveness and development:
- Plan Vallejo enables imports of capital goods, raw materials, supplies, and spare parts to be exempt from import duties and taxes as long as the commitment to export final goods or services is fulfilled.
- Colombia has more than 16 trade agreements, which grant preferential access with zero tariffs to important consumer centers and around 1.5 billion fashion industry consumers around the world.
Investment opportunities in the Colombian fashion industry:
- Install manufacturing plants to produce supplies that are currently imported by the industry to meet national and regional demands, taking into account that textile imports have increased in recent years and, therefore, the demand for local production needs to be satisfied.
- Between 2003 and 2019, 92.8% of investment in the Colombian fashion industry was allocated to retail, followed 2.4% in manufacturing.
- Make the most of Colombia as an export platform thanks to its strategic location, industrial capacity, and over 16 trade agreements.
- Establish strategic partnerships with Colombian companies to reach regional and international markets and capitalize on the reputation, quality, and unique designs of the Colombian fashion industry.