By SPESA for JSN International
SPESA President Michael McDonald recently penned the following address for JSN International's annual New Year's Greeting. See the full January issue from JSN International here.
Welcome to the New Year! I write this on the day the world celebrates Lunar New Year. Today we bid farewell to the Year of the Tiger — an animal that traditionally symbolizes positivity and energy — and we welcome the Year of the Rabbit. We’re told the shift from Tiger to Rabbit is significant, with the Rabbit’s energy being more relaxed, restful, and contemplative.
As we look ahead to the next several months, it’s hard to imagine we’ll have much time for rest and relaxation. We welcome, however, the opportunity for contemplation and reflection. First, we reflect on the year just closed, and second, we explore and contemplate ways to better support the sewn products industry in 2023.
As we reflect on 2022, it’s easy to compare our year to that of the Tiger. Twelve months, packed with meetings, events, and trade shows presented a new normal for the SPESA team. For the first time since 2018, we gathered with thousands of industry professionals in Atlanta for the Texprocess Americas trade show. For the first time since 2019, we saw back-to-back events across the globe, allowing our team the opportunity to reunite with colleagues and partners from Europe, Asia, and Latin America. In many ways, 2022 represented a rebirth for SPESA, and it has energized us for the year to come.
Now we welcome 2023, a significant year for the sewn products industry as it reflects on the past three years of disruption amid pandemic living, while focusing on continued efforts of rebuilding. At SPESA, we hope to hone in on the theme of rebuilding our industry — whether that’s through stronger supply chains, more efficient manufacturing processes, or the introduction of new technologies. We will work with leaders across the industry to showcase this growth (and renewal of sorts) during three major events this year. Each event is different. But each event offers the unique opportunity to gather and learn as a community of professionals with the common goal of propelling the industry into its next chapter.
First, the 2023 SPESA Executive Conference will take place March 30-31 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. SPESA events are all about engagement, engaging our audience and our host community, and allowing event attendees to learn from one another as well as the expert speakers we invite. The San Juan conference will provide a good opportunity for attendees to explore a different side of U.S. manufacturing, and to discuss topics like sustainability and nearshoring, with a focus on Latin America.
In May, we will once again be traveling to Atlanta for Texprocess Americas. The 2023 show will build on the success of previous years by bringing together technical textiles, nonwovens, and sewn product sectors, amassing exhibitors from across the globe to showcase the latest, most innovative technologies from all industry sectors. The platform presents an amazing opportunity for visitors to gain essential industry insight, reinforce B2B connections, and become equipped with solutions needed to optimize their production.
Finally, in October, SPESA will be teaming up with the International Apparel Federation to bring the World Fashion Convention to the United States for the first time in more than twenty years. Attracting a global audience, the World Fashion Convention provides attendees from across the global fashion, apparel, and sewn products industries an opportunity to better understand the industry and outlook of that year’s host country and, for local attendees, an opportunity to network internationally and to learn about global developments. The 2023 event will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, multiple networking opportunities, B2B matchmaking, and many fun and exciting activities around our host city of Philadelphia.
We aren’t slowing down this year, and that’s OK. We look forward to seeing the industry continue to be energized in a post-pandemic world, and we look forward to being a part of its rebuild. On this Lunar New Year, we wish everyone a productive and happy Year of the Rabbit. Here’s to you, and your year of renewal, reflection (and hopefully a little rest and relaxation).