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Morocco Makes Greater Inroads as an Apparel Manufacturer

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Morocco leads the way in terms of apparel exports from Africa and the country looks set to hold firm in that position as more markets look for shorter delivery times.

Benefitting largely from business with Inditex, the parent company of brands like Zara and Massimo Dutti, Morocco exported more than $3.5 billion worth of apparel in 2015, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

And at Maroc in Mode—Sourcing in Maroc in Marrakesh last month, interest in manufacturing apparel there was up.

“Morocco has invested a lot in this sector and there is a deep know-how in producing for many famous brands,” Mohamed Tazi, general director of the Moroccan Textile and Apparel Manufacturers Association (AMITH). “Inditex group doubled their production in Morocco. But also the aspect referring to speediness is an important reason to choose Morocco for productions. Fast fashion is a major domain and it fulfills the demand of retailers and brands who have to serve very quickly the clients.”

Nearly 1,500 visitors attended the show this year and almost half of them for from countries other than Morocco—35 percent of visitors were from neighboring Spain. There were 115 exhibitors featuring fast fashion, knitwear, denim and sportswear. Power stretch denim, jersey stretch denim and destroyed jeans were big trends at the October show.

Demand for fast fashion is growing considerably and Morocco is well positioned to accommodate.

Abderrahman Atfi from MedSourcing and a member of the board at AMITH said, “The Inditex Group has doubled their productions in Morocco. For that reason our company has now installed an office in La Coruna thus being able to serve them best with short deliveries. Moroccan producers have experience in quick response.”

According to the French Fashion Institute, demand for fast fashion now covers 25 percent of total purchases and short-term deliveries (less than six months) account for 35 percent of order volume.

“Within the recent two years an immense input has been given to this topic of fast fashion,” Tazi said. “Morocco has reached the position seven of the world’s ranking list of fashion exporters. We have high ambitions to foster this industrial sector in terms of quality, sustainability, technology and logistics.”

Visitors from brands like Zadig & Voltaire, Desigual, Mango, Bershka and Ted Baker attended the show to see what Morocco had on offer, and show organizers said more and more international brands and private label retailers are working with agents in Morocco to handle their sourcing, dealing and buying.

“The offer at the fair starts to get more diversified compared with the past editions,” Ghislaine Cambon, head of sourcing for Teddy Smith in France, told the Sourcing in Maroc show organizers. “It is clear to see who the Moroccan companies have been developed and that thanks to the nearness to Europe they can very well compete with the Far East.”

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