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Promoexport Takes Local Fashion Companies To Vegas

Wants A Piece Of U.S. Hispanic Apparel Market, Worth $6.5 Billion Annually


July 31, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Various local apparel companies will be joining Promoexport and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co.’s Design & Technology Council on an August trip to Women’s Wear Daily’s Magic event, one of the leading fashion trade expos in the world, in Las Vegas. Promoexport Executive Director Antonio Sosa Pascual said he expects participating companies’ sales at the expo to surpass the $500,000 achieved last year by 15%.

"Last year, we took seven local apparel companies to the expo, and it turned out to be a hit as they were able to sell half a million dollars," said Sosa Pascual. The group accompanying Promoexport this year includes clothing manufacturers, distributors, and designers such as Amarilys Manufacturing, Patricia Rivera, Melanie Dress, Modafini, Lermaj Manufacturing, Vazquez & Santiago, Daisymar Fabrics, and Fashion Group Inc.

Sosa Pascual explained that the companies will be selling their collections to international distributors, but especially to those on the U.S. West Coast, which has a large Hispanic population. He said the group aims to become a major supplier of apparel to the U.S. Hispanic and African-American markets.

"Anglo-American women don’t dress the same as Hispanics; the styles they prefer are different and their body types are also different," said Sosa Pascual. "Puerto Rico’s apparel companies can serve U.S. Hispanic women’s fashion needs because we know what those needs are. In fact, we can also serve the African-American market because they have body types and tastes similar to those of Hispanic women."

Rita Cerame, a designer and member of the Design & Technology Council, said U.S. Hispanics spend about $6.5 billion on apparel each year, even during a slow economy. "If we consider all types of purchases, we see that Hispanics poured about $350 billion into the U.S. economy last year," she said. "By 2007, this number is expected to reach about $900 billion. The amount spent on apparel should grow at the same rate."

When asked about Puerto Rico’s fashion industry, Sosa Pascual likened it to the local movie industry. "It has a lot of potential for growth, but is still taking its first steps as an industry," he said. "It is still in the process of establishing its foundations."

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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