The 20th UITIC Congress in PortoThe latest edition of the International Technical Footwear Congress to be held from 16 to 18 May 2018 at the Sheraton Hotel in Porto will be based on the theme “From fashion to factory: a new technological age”.

Oct 11, 2017
Posted in: , Associations , Events , News

During the last edition of Lineapelle in Milan, the Executive Committee of UITIC – the International Union of Shoe Industry Technicians -, in collaboration with CTCP – the Portuguese Footwear Technological Centre – and APICCAPS – the Portuguese Footwear, Components, and Leather Goods Manufacturers’ Association – announced the dates for the next International Technical Footwear Congress to be held in the city of Porto, in Portugal, from 16 to 18 May 2018 at the Sheraton Hotel. In addition to the Congress, two extra days on 14 and 15 May will be reserved for visits to selected factories.

The event forecasts more than 500 participants and around fifty speakers, who will present the latest technologies, new materials, as well as prototypes, devices, and live demonstrations capable of giving both start-ups and established names in the footwear industry an extra advantage over the competition.

After the last three editions – organized respectively in India (Chennai, 2016), China (Guangzhou, 2013), and Mexico (Léon, 2010) -, the UITIC Congress will now return to Europe for an in-depth analysis of one of the footwear industry’s main issues: “From fashion to factory: a new technological age”.

In fact, this theme reflects the current moment of constant technological change and its impact on the worldwide industries, including especially the footwear industry. Modern digital technology is transforming consumer behaviour, which increasingly sees even footwear purchased online, with a direct impact on the way shopping and retailing are organized. New consumer trends are constantly emerging and fashion becomes increasingly important in every market segment. All this, united with the increased demand for customization now dominating the industry, will require new production tools, along with greater flexibility and a quicker response time by businesses to the market’s changes and needs. Thus, businesses will need to become increasingly agile, innovative, and technologically proficient, while strengthening their rapport with constantly evolving consumers.

In complete agreement with the UITIC mission that is aimed at developing technical knowledge in the footwear industry, the Congress will bring together experts and decisions makers who all play an important role in the worldwide business of footwear, including brands, retailers, footwear and components manufacturers and technology providers. Moreover, two days of visits to some of the most technologically advanced businesses in the area will be arranged, offering participants innovative and interesting solutions for facing the future needs of consumers, while preparing themselves for the new technological age.

As far as the location that will host this edition of the Congress is concerned, the choice naturally fell on Porto, which is considered a World Heritage Site and one of the Best European Destinations for 2017. However, it is also the city at the centre of the entire Portuguese footwear supply chain, with 90% of the Portuguese shoe industry located within a fifty-kilometre radius. The Portuguese footwear industry counts 1,473 companies, employing 38,661 people, while exporting more than 95% of its production. As an industry increasingly characterized by exports, in 2016, Portugal exported 81 million pairs of shoes to 152 countries across the 5 continents, for a total value of 1,923 million euros, in what is its seventh consecutive year of growth in sales to foreign markets.

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