Closing the PCIAW® Summit, Exhibition & Awards 2023

The Professional Clothing Industry Association Worldwide (PCIAW®) recently hosted its world-famous Summit, Exhibition and Awards in the iconic city of Porto, featuring educational talks from the brightest minds in the industry and providing numerous opportunities for networking with international partners.

Welcoming over 500 people from 24 countries across 3 days, the event was a resounding success and has opened the door for another year of collaboration, cooperation and support on the key issues in professional clothing from sustainability regulations to supporting diverse wearers in their place of work.

The PCIAW® would first and foremost like to thank the event sponsors who enabled PCIAW® to host this event, with Carrington Textiles as the Premier Sponsor, ANIVEC (The Portuguese Association for Textiles) as a key sponsor, Gresham Blake and Stuncroft as suit sponsors, and other sponsors including Bodi.Me, Milliken & Co., and Westex: A Milliken Brand. PCIAW® would additionally like to thank César Araújo and the team at ANIVEC for helping to host the event for the first time outside of the UK, and the PCIAW® team are immensely grateful for your support in helping with the logistical challenges of running an event far from our London roots.

PCIAW® is proud to have taken this step into Europe, and the association hopes to continue representing our European and global partners in future events outside the UK in the years to come.

The event began on the 7th of November with a PCIAW® first, a series of factory tours hosted by ANIVEC, with some factories receiving 70+ visitors. The tours provided delegates with an excellent opportunity to network and learn more about textile manufacturing opportunities in Europe, featuring some of the largest garment and textile manufacturers in the region such as Carrington Textiles-MGC, Calvelex, Carité, Lameirinho, Polopiqué, Riopele, Triple Marfel, and Trotinete.

The feedback from the tours was overwhelmingly positive, from both the delegates and the host factories, and we are delighted to have created an opportunity for those within our network to explore new partnerships and collaborations.

Next morning on the 8th of November the education-focused PCIAW® Summit began, chaired by Elena Lai, Secretary General of ETSA. The Summit lasted two days between the 8th and 9th of November, and the PCIAW® is grateful to all the speakers who participated. There were a host of brilliant keynotes and panel topics, with some highlights including discussions on the implications of EU eco regulations, supporting wearers with inclusive design, managing supply chain disruption, and mitigating health risks to firefighters reliant on contaminated gear.

In addition to the Summit, PCIAW® hosted the Exhibition which saw 15 companies from across the supply chain presenting the value they add to the industry. With partners from Asia, Tunisia, Europe and other global destinations, delegates opened communication lines with testing houses, manufacturers and digital technology companies worldwide.

On the night of the 9th we closed the 3-day event with the PCIAW® Awards, celebrating the innovators who drive our industry forwards and compel us to do better for the people we clothe, the partners we work with in the supply chain, and the health of the planet.

The Awards featured inspiring speeches from many honoured guests of the event, including César Araújo, President of ANIVEC and CEO of Calvelex, Bernardo Ivo Cruz, Portuguese Secretary of State for Internationalisation, and Fernanda Dias, Director General of Economic Activities at the Portuguese Ministry of Economy and Maritime Trade.

After introductory speeches, guests enjoyed a 3-course dinner featuring locally sourced seabass, veal cheeks, and a selection of delicate dessert items, with vegan options available including a Red Quinoa Tornado main course. Accompanying the meal and throughout the evening guests enjoyed free-flowing wine, making for a night of leisure and celebration.

Nisha Muire, Uniform Program Manager at Air Canada, presented the awards night, with 15 companies receiving awards in the categories of sustainability, product design, supply & distribution, and manufacturing. The evening also saw Sophie Woodliffe from Manchester Metropolitan University winning the student design contest PCA VISION with her hi-vis design for Air Traffic Control Ground Crew, and in a surprise twist PCIAW® honoured its chairman John Miln with the lifetime achievement award for his five decades of work in the industry and the valuable leadership he has given to PCIAW®.

Having concluded another year’s event, the PCIAW® would again like to thank all the delegates, exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors for helping to bring together the important figures in the professional clothing industry. Their support enables the association to educate and guide the industry as we assess the new trajectory of professional clothing. The PCIAW® sincerely hopes to see guests return again for the next event in the UK in October 2024, and there is no doubt that when delegates meet again there will be more to learn from the forefront of professional clothing.

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