VietNam recently became the sixth member of the Asian Fashion Federation. Le Quoc An, chairman of Viet Nam Textiles Association, talked about the event.
Could you outline the significance of Viet Nam’s joining the AFF?
I think this is a turning point for Viet Nam’s fashion sector. The AFF’s decision to admit Viet Nam to the grouping is based on deep consideration of Viet Nam’s ability to make a contribution to Asian fashion as well as the possibility that the country could become one of Asia’s fashion hubs. It means that the AFF realises Viet Nam’s potential as a productive and creative force, with a group of designers who meet international standards.
Membership offers a big opportunity for Viet Nam’s fashion sector to improve co-operation, production and development.
How do you think Viet Nam’s fashion sector will benefit from AFF member status?
Established in 2002, the AFF offers information and career exchanges. It aims to utilise fashion resources from within Asia as a means of adding-value to exports globally.
I think Vietnamese fashion workers will face more challenges from now on. The sector needs to catch up with partners in Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore and Thailand, who are decades ahead in the field.
Viet Nam’s fashion sector should realise that the entire purpose of fashion, textiles and footwear is for exporting to foreign markets. It should enhance the quality of products and make the designs more fashionable. The sector should at first care of the “fashion” factor before trying to develop brand names.
Are you confident in Viet Nam’s capability?
Sure. We have more than 300 textile and footwear enterprises throughout the country, who have tried to maintain traditional markets while opening up new markets. In the first nine months of this year, US imported textile turnover reduced by 12.71 per cent resulting in reduced exports from major textile exporters. Yet Viet Nam’s continued to export products, and marked an increase of 18 per cent in amount, and minor reduction of only 4.5 per cent in turnover.
During the same period, Vietnamese textile exports to Europe declined around 3 per cent against the average cut of 11 per cent turnover among other exporters.
However, Viet Nam’s textile exports to Japan increased 15.3 per cent; South Korea, 50 per cent; Saudi Arabia, 23 per cent; Switzerland, 12.7 per cent and ASEAN countries, 7.8 per cent.
An annual survey among 360 enterprises earlier this year revealed that most of them had achieved fairly good trading results.
Popular brand names and chain stores have developed throughout the country such as Viet Tien, Nha Be, Viet Thang, Thai Tuan, An Phuoc, Sanding, Foci, Vera, Wow, F House and Nino Maxx. Many high quality brand names like Sanciaro, Mattana, M10, N&M have appeared together with internationally famous names like Louis Vuitton, Mango, Espirit, and Burberry and in Ha Noi and HCM City.
Textile and footwear enterprises have been preparing for an investment development period with a targeted export value of US$10.5 billion in 2010, and $16-18 billion in 2015, with more fashionable and better quality products made from increasing use of domestic materials.
It’s encouraging that beside differences in design, enterprises have paid much attention to specific utility. For example, Co Mo’s inflammable cloth, anti-virus masks and clothes; Viet Thang’s crease-resistant cloth; Thanh Cong Textile’s anti-UV cloth; Dong Nai Garment’s anti-magnetic clothes.
Some other enterprises have used environmentally-friendly materials like bamboo-fibre scarves by Phong Phu Houseware; and silk dyed using natural colours by Toan Thinh.