Spanish fashion design faces a comeback. After the blow of Covid-19, which wiped out 36% of the sector's business, Spanish author fashion has begun to recover in 2021 with an 8% increase in business, according to data from the latest edition of the report “Spanish fashion design, in numbers”, promoted by the Asociación de Creadores de Moda de España (ACME).
In a year marked once again by restrictions due to the pandemic as well as by uncertainty, the firms that are a part of ACME generated an aggregated turnover of 763.6 million euros in 2021, still 21% below the 2019 data, the last one before the Covid-19 outbreak.
ACME’s report, which counted in this edition with the support of the Community of Madrid, Madrid City Council and the Fundación de la Academia de la Moda Española, and with the sponsorship of Holistex and the collaboration of Modaes, has the objective of being a tool that not only contributes knowledge, but also provide a basis for taking business decisions consistent with current circumstances. It also aims to contribute to the recognition of Spanish author fashion design as a generator of wealth.
This year's edition also shows the recovery of other indicators such as employment, which has recovered pre-pandemic figures. In 2021, the number of direct jobs in the sector was 7.2% higher than the figure for 2020 and 3.5% more than in 2019, up to 6,517 employees.
Production is also on the path towards growth with a rise of 8.3%, amounting to around 13.1 million garments and accessories, compared to 2019, when a historical maximum was reached, the figure is 25% lower. Regarding distribution, in the same way that the fall in the number of multi-brand points of sale of the companies associated with ACME in 2020 was not pronounced, neither was its recovery in 2021: the figure has increased by only 1.1%.
E-commerce, key during the year of the pandemic, has continued to gain strength, with a growth of 55.8%, up to 120 million euros. This is the highest growth that this data has experienced since there is a record in 2015. Compared to 2019, the increase has been of 137.2%. Additionally, author design companies have resumed their international conquest: in 2021, their sales abroad shot up to 30.9% and already contributed 40.6% of the sector’s total business.
The report also includes the qualitative opinion of companies regarding the challenges and opportunities of the sector’s future. 61% of the companies associated with ACME consider that the main future trend in the sector relies in alliances and collaborations between companies, a phenomenon that has been enhanced after two years of the pandemic. Another of the author design trends for the future is, as voted by ACME firms, global markets, which also appeared at the top of the 2020 list.
Concepción Díaz de Villegas, general director of Commerce and Hospitality of the Madrid City Council, underlined “we are the ones who have to thank the fashion sector for everything it has done for the city of Madrid. We must support the sector in all its facets, it is essential”.
Modesto Lomba, president of ACME, pointed out on occasion of the report’s presentation, that “Spanish signature fashion firms have faced this enormous challenge by making good decisions, very difficult at times; responsibility, location of production, skilled workforce and quality are the key pieces of a recovery that little by little begins to be felt”.
On the other hand, Pepa Bueno, executive director of ACME, maintains that “The data clearly demonstrates a growing demand for Spanish designer fashion from abroad; internationalization is both a challenge and an opportunity for the sector”.
"Sustainability can't just be words, you have to put data into it," stressed Xavier Bombardó, CEO of Holistex, who also stressed the need for collaboration between all the links in fashion’s supply chain.