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09 de Febrero de 2023

Textiles and apparel industry in Colombia and its growth through innovation and competitiveness

Learn more about why innovation, quality, creativity, and diversification are some of the key factors that explain the growth and consolidation of the Colombia's textiles and apparel industry.

The growth of the Colombian textiles and apparel industry has been due to factors such as innovation, quality, creativity, and diversification, among others. Learn more about the domestic industry, the factors that make it internationally competitive, and why it is attractive for foreign clients and international markets.

Colorful yarn plates used in the textile and weaving industry

The growth of the Colombian textile industry, thanks to factors such as its experience, tradition, innovation, and commitment to sustainability, has positioned the country at a regional level, making it a reference for fashion design, production, and distribution. The industry, which represents 9.4% of the industrial GDP and generates jobs for nearly 600 thousand people in the country, has not only grown in terms of numbers but also, local companies and designers are at the forefront of global trends, taking the local offer, diverse and of the highest quality, to conquer new markets and audiences at the international level

Status and growth of the textiles and apparel industry in Colombia

The Colombian textiles and apparel industry has overcome the blow caused by the past global situation and, subsequently, has recovered with a positive dynamic reflected in performance and figures, with strategies like strengthening e-commerce sales channels or cluster initiatives. According to figures from PROCOLOMBIA and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, between January and November 2022, the sector recorded exports worth US$962.6 million, an increase of 6.5% over the same period last year, with the United States, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, Brazil, Panama, and Venezuela being the main buyers. In addition, foreign textile sales increased by 14.2%, according to DANE figures analyzed by PROCOLOMBIA.

Similarly, the dynamic of the local market strengthens the industry, as the figures for accumulated spending on fashion in the country reached US$1,479 million as of March, which represents a growth of 7.2%. Among the main challenges facing the sector worldwide is the need to adopt circular economy practices and implement sustainable raw materials in production cycles to mitigate the impact of textile operations on the environment, with Colombia leading the region in terms of sustainable innovation and progress in circular economy and responsible waste management.

Five competitive factors of the Colombian textiles and apparel industry

Fashion designer working in her atelier

Innovation and diversification:The constant search for innovation in the local industry is reflected not only in terms of raw materials, having outstanding examples such as Fibretex, who recycle textile waste and turn it into a fiber, but also in the digital incursion, with brands like Offcorss making a presence in the metaverse with a completely functional store. The innovation goes hand in hand with the wide and diversified offer, which is recognized internationally for the quality in the manufacture of textiles, jewelry, costume jewelry, leather, or footwear, among others, and for its avant-garde designs that preserve the essence of the local culture and bring to the table significant advances in terms of functionality, protection against ultraviolet rays or quick drying. 

  • Experience and reliability:The country has a consolidated and growing industry with more than 100 years of tradition and an extensive support network made up of public and private partners, and with a portfolio of internationally recognized brands such as Silvia Tcherassi, Olga Piedrahita, Mario Hernández, Flor Amazona, Touché or Nancy González. In addition, in 2021 alone, and according to data from RUES, Colombia had more than 35,000 companies dedicated to apparel, more than 200 to yarn, and more than 7,000 to textile production. In 2021, more than 1,200 Colombian apparel manufacturers exported garments to nearly 100 countries. 
  • Strategic location and commercial advantage:The country's strategic location and its favorable conditions for being an export platform allow it, for example, to supply foreign demand with competitive delivery times, reaching the main ports of America in less than three days and twelve days to the ports of Europe thanks to its access to 680 ports internationally and to having more than 4,500 maritime routes. In addition, the fact that the country has more than 16 trade agreements in force and that its capital, according to data from the EAE Business School, is the second city in Latin America with the highest investment in fashion are, without a doubt, competitive factors that make the difference.
  • Competitive prices and quality raw materials:The Colombian industry's marketing and production costs are highly competitive. Also, the production employs top-quality raw materials and the fusion of artisanal techniques with state-of-the-art technology in its processes.
  • Commitment to sustainability:The Colombian industry has focused on the intended use and optimization of natural resources, producing sustainable raw materials that help mitigate the impact that traditional production had on the environment with the very high carbon dioxide emissions or water consumption and betting on working models based on the principles of the circular economy. 


Among the country's strategies for the promotion of the sector is the development of events such as Colombiatex, a showcase for national entrepreneurs and businesspeople to make themselves known to international buyers which, in its 2023 version and according to information from PROCOLOMBIA, brought together 324 companies from 21 countries, of which 13 currently have trade agreements in force with Colombia.


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