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38th World Fashion Convention

October 22-25, 2023 | Philadelphia, PA 

About the 38th World Fashion Convention

In lieu of a traditional SPESA Executive Conference this fall, SPESA has joined forces with the International Apparel Federation (IAF) to host the 38th World Fashion Convention, October 22-25, 2023 in Philadelphia.

In many ways, the World Fashion Convention will resemble a typical SPESA Executive Conference. We will have 1.5 days of education for sewn products industry suppliers and their customers, featuring individual presentations, panel discussions, and lots of audience engagement. We will also have two evening receptions: one early-evening cocktail reception and one grander off-site dinner. SPESA’s unofficial mandate is to always provide open dialogue, open minds, and an open bar, and we are sticking to that in Philadelphia.

However, there will be some differences.

It Will Be Bigger

We typically have 75-100 attendees at the SPESA Executive Conference. But we are expecting 2-3x that number for this event. Obviously, this means SPESA members will be able to connect with more customers and colleagues. It also has given us the cool opportunity to do a full hotel buyout of the Bellevue Hotel, meaning every guest at the hotel will be a convention attendee, and every elevator ride, breakfast buffet, and trip to the hotel bar will be a chance to network.

International Perspective

This event is usually held in Asia or Europe. In fact, this will be the first time in more than 20 years that the World Fashion Convention will be held in the United States. So, it will be a great chance for us to both highlight the U.S. sewn products industry and bring the global industry to us. We are already expecting attendees from Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Portugal, Indonesia, and Taiwan, and quite likely will also receive manufacturers from Jordan, Uzbekistan, Egypt, and Central America. 

More Brands and Retailers

In teaming up with IAF, we will be attracting more international manufacturers, brands, and retailers to the event. We are also working with the U.S. apparel industry to help promote the event widely to U.S. manufacturers and brands. 

New Activities

The bulk of the convention will be similar to the SPESA Executive Conference with 1.5 days of education paired with two evening receptions. In addition, there will be a golf tournament, B2B matchmaking sessions for manufacturers and brands, and a city tour highlighting industry and history in Philadelphia.

Lower Cost for Members

SPESA members almost always receive a discounted rate for our events, but, this time, there is a significant difference between member and non-member rates ($645 vs. $995). We are happy to be able to offer such a steep discount to our members, and, because of everything mentioned above, we are not worried about the non-member rate deterring your customers from joining you in Philadelphia.

What To Expect

Event Details

  • Event Name: The 38th World Fashion Convention, hosted by SPESA and IAF.

  • Date: October 22-25, 2023

    • Golf is on the 22nd - For more information, please email

    • Educational sessions will begin on the 23rd

  • Location: The Bellevue Hotel - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Attendees: Anyone and everyone interested in learning more about the global sewn products industry and building stronger, smarter, and more sustainable supply chains is welcome to attend.

    • Industry suppliers

    • Manufacturers

    • Brands

    • Retailers

    • Service providers

    • Academia, government, associations​

  • Registration: SPESA and IAF members are eligible for a discounted member rate of $645.​

    • Spouses/Partners are welcome to join for the evening receptions, registration required.​ Spouse rate: $195

    • Non-member rate: $995.

    • Government/Faculty rate: $545.

    • Are you a brand, manufacturer, or retailer? Email or to learn about possible discounts.

    • For more information about the golf tournament on October 22nd, please email

    • Participation in the Philadelphia Industry & History Tour on October 25th will require an additional registration fee to cover the cost of lunch and transportation. Those who would like to attend can add a ticket for the tour to their cart when registering for the convention. If you need assistance, please email or

    • Click here to register!

  • Sponsorship: A variety of sponsorship levels and opportunities are available. 

  • Dress Code: Business Casual

  • Additional Info: If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the SPESA team or check out the convention website.


Sunday, October 22, 2023


08:00 | World Fashion Convention Golf Tournament
Please contact for more information.

14:00-17:30 | SPESA Board Meeting
Board members only

14:00-17:30 | IAF Board Meeting
Board members only

18:30 - 22:00 | Joint SPESA & IAF Board Dinner
Board members and invited guests only; Transportation will be provided

​Monday, October 23, 2023

09:00-12:30 | B2B Meetings

Participating manufacturers from around the world will have the opportunity to display products and production capabilities. All attendees are welcome to attend. Please contact for more information.

14:00 | Educational Sessions Begin

14:00-14:30 | Welcome and Inauguration Speeches

  • Ed Gribbin, Spesa Board Chairman

  • Cem Altan, IAF President


14:30-15:00 | Keynote: Tom Glaser

Well-known and respected industry veteran Tom Glaser, former VF Corporation and Tapestry executive, will kick us off with a brand perspective, sharing his vision for the global apparel industry.

15:00-15:15 | U.S. Textiles and Apparel Industry Update

  • Jennifer Knight, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, Materials Industries, Critical Minerals and Metals Industry and Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce


15:15-16:00 | Panel Discussion: Made in America Manufacturing
The World Fashion Convention has brought the global industry to the United States! We are excited to share a bit about the current capabilities of and opportunities for growth in the domestic market. On this panel, U.S. manufacturers will share their experiences working within the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere.

  • Cindy DiPietrantonio, Boathouse Sports

  • Moderated by Michael McDonald, SPESA


16:00-16:15 | Coffee Break


16:15-17:00 | Panel Discussion: Manufacturing in Emerging Markets
Emerging sourcing destinations for brands equate to emerging markets for suppliers. Panelists will discuss the investment and manufacturing growth in burgeoning regions like Türkiye, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America.

  • Jessica Ramey, Mercantilia Consulting; lemlem

  • Karin De León, VESTEX

17:00-17:10 | Conclusions and Reflections


17:10-17:30 | SPESA Business Meeting
In the association’s annual Business Meeting, SPESA members will vote on candidates for the SPESA Board of Directors, hear updates on the state of the association, and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the association and sewn products industry. 


All convention attendees are welcome to attend. SPESA members will be provided additional information on Board election voting.


17:00-17:10 | Day 1 Closing Remarks


17:30-19:00 | Welcome Reception



Tuesday, October 24, 2023


08:00-09:15 | Breakfast


09:15-09:30 | Day 2 Opening Remarks


9:30-10:00 | Fireside Chat: Bringing Sustainable Business to Fragile Economies
SPESA Board Chairman Ed Gribbin, sits down for an exclusive and intimate fireside chat with successful businessman, entrepreneur, and investor, Yusuf Amdani. Mr. Amdani’s experience in Pakistan, Central America, and around the world spans textiles, real estate, lifestyle, technology, and agriculture. 

  • Yusuf Amdani, GK Foundation, with Ed Gribbin, SPESA Board Chairman


10:00-10:45 | Panel Discussion: Creating More Effective, Productive, and Resilient Supply Chains
Bringing together investor, manufacturer, brand, and technology partners, this panel will explore how to change sourcing models for a changing world. The speakers will pitch a new type of industry collaboration allowing brands and their suppliers to jointly achieve better results by sharing risks and rewards.

  • Brad Ballentine, MAS

  • Miran Ali, Bitopi, BGMEA, STTI

  • John Thorbeck, Chainge Capital


10:45-11:00 | Coffee Break


11:00-11:45 | Panel Discussion: Digitalization in the Global Fashion Industry
Why is a more digitalized supply chain so important for creating a better industry? What practical barriers do we face? And what do we need to do as an industry to move forward? Panelists will discuss these questions and more as they relate to our collective future as an industry.

  • Sandra Gagnon, Target

  • Mehmet Kaya, TYH

  • Dominic Sluiter, 3D Adoption Partner at EnhanceThat


11:45-12:30 | Panel Discussion: Legislating Good Behavior
Everyone can agree that eliminating forced labor, improving workforce conditions, and decreasing environmental impact are good things for our industry, our planet, and future generations. Speakers on this panel will address matching these industry goals with imposed regulatory requirements, touching on the due diligence laws popping up on both sides of the Atlantic and the impact they may have on supply chain processes.

  • Sarah Dadush, Rutgers University

  • Avedis Seferian, WRAP

  • Alexander Kohnstamm, Fair Wear Foundation 

  • Moderated by Steve Lamar, American Apparel & Footwear Association


12:30-13:45 | Lunch


13:45-14:00 | Industry Insight: Global Market Perspectives


14:00-14:45 | Panel Discussion: Accountability and Transparency — Putting Words into Actions
Creating a more transparent supply chain takes joint efforts from brands, retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers. Serving as brief case studies, our panelists will share how they are each “making it work” — how brands and retailers are implementing strategies to increase transparency in supply chains to meet regulations and improve overall accountability.


14:45-15:15 | Coffee Break


15:15-16:00 | Panel Discussion: Climate Action and Circularity — What Really Works?
The challenge of actually cutting GHG emissions comes with questions: Who is paying for it? What is the role of circular textiles? How can we make progress through supply chain collaboration? With a focus on the U.S. market and the financial aspect of getting started, speakers will share what they believe is needed to find success. 

  • Bryant LaPres, Aii

  • Han Hamers, Circularity Works 

  • Julie Willoughby, Circ 


16:00-16:15 | Conclusions and Reflections


16:15-16:45 | Presentation: 39th IAF World Fashion Convention


16:45-17:00 | Closing of the 38th IAF World Fashion Convention


18:30-22:00 | Closing Reception & Dinner



Wednesday, October 25, 2023


09:00 | Philadelphia History & Industry Tour

More details below!

History & Industry Tour

Join us on Wednesday, October 25th, for a tour of Philadelphia that aims to blend history, fashion, food, and fun. The tour will take approximately 6 hours and include the following:


Industry Stops | The day will begin with a visit to Thomas Jefferson University’s new state-of-the-art Fashion & Textiles Futures Center, where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the exciting work being done to shape the future of the industry and the industry’s next generation of leaders.


The second industry stop will be at Boathouse Sports, an American-made, hand-crafted outerwear brand brought to life in the 1970s by Olympic rower John Strotbeck. Here you’ll get to see how a one-stop-shop manufacturing facility operates in the U.S. From the beginning, Boathouse Sports has been committed to producing quality outerwear and owning the entire supply chain process — from sourcing its own raw materials, to producing products, to shipping directly to consumers. 


Lunch at Reading Terminal | Dating back to 1893, Reading Terminal Market is one of the largest and oldest public markets in the U.S. and was voted the best public market in the nation in 2022 by USA Today. The market features more than 80 merchants offering culinary treats from all over the world, including, of course, the famous Philly Cheesesteak. Although the best bet for sandwich lovers may be Tommy DiNic’s famous roast pork, voted “Best Sandwich in America” by the Travel Channel. You will be given a food voucher for lunch which will allow you the opportunity to try whatever food best suits your palette!  


City History | Philadelphia is home to a unique collection of historic sites and stories that have shaped U.S. history. In addition to seeing the industry landscape in Philadelphia, you’ll also have the opportunity to see and learn more about some of Philadelphia’s most famous sites, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Old City of Philadelphia.


Please note, the tour is an add-on to your event registration ($200 + $6.05 fee).


If you have already registered for the convention, simply use the registration link below to purchase the tour as a separate ticket. If you need assistance, please email or

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