''The UITIC Congress is the think tank of the industry''

"Portugal has clearly become an important country in the European footwear industry."
''The UITIC Congress is the think tank of the industry''


Mr. Yves Morin, President of the UITIC and CEO of the CTC Groupe since 2008, who has also worked for the French-based Technological Centre as its General Secretary (since 1997). 

The UITIC Congress will return to Portugal in May, after the country has hosted the event in 1996. Why Portugal in 2018?
Portugal has clearly become an important country in the European footwear industry.
I absolutely wanted to highlight Portugal and the considerable progress made in recent years in the fields of production, but also in innovation and quality mainly.

But there is also a dimension that is now becoming important in the Portuguese industry which is "fashion", this is the reason why I wanted our congress to be inspired by the theme "From Fashion to Factory ".

On the one hand, purchasing power has increased in Portugal in recent years, allowing the emergence of a consumer class aspiring to more "fashionable" products.

On the other hand, the progress made by the footwear industry has also enabled Portuguese companies to subcontract for major international brands, which has resulted in improved know-how in the style and in creation.
The result was the reinforcement of Portuguese fashion brands with growing success, and beyond the country's borders. This action was also largely supported by APICCAPS and its communication campaigns.

What topics will be under discussion framed by the theme of the 20th Congress of the UITIC, From fashion to factory - A New Technological Age? How will such topics impact the industry’s future?
Behind this expression "From Fashion to Factory", I wanted to highlight the growing role of fashion in our industry, fashion determines an important part of the success of the companies in most countries of consumption.
The historic rule of our profession that says "A shoe must first put the eye on, before fitting the foot" has never been so relevant!

On the other hand, the globalization and digitization of our economy mean that productivity must increase to deliver ever more fashionable and ever faster products to consumers.
This leads to major changes for manufacturing and therefore for the organization of factories right now!
Those are the industrial transformations that we will discuss during the 20th UITIC Congress, with the innovations that will accompany them.

In your view, what are the main reasons to participate in the 20th UITIC Congress?
The congresses organized by the UITIC are the oldest congresses on the footwear industry, the idea was born in 1972 and since then, their success has only grown, reinforcing their interest.
UITIC conferences allow all actors in the profession, be they manufacturers, distributors, stylists or researchers, first to discover the new concepts and new ideas of the sector, and also to take knowledge of the latest market information.

But these UITIC congresses are also an opportunity for the various decision-makers in the sector to meet every two years and build relationships. At the time of the "all internet" these meetings face to face are very important: we can improvise an appointment, meet an expert or a personality, and even initiate new business! This is a real "Think Tank" of the profession.

Finally, apart from the oral presentations and posters presented, and apart from the interest of the network that we can build up, there are the factory visits which are a unique and exciting experience when industrials open up big their doors to showcase their success!

Based on your experience and your views, what will be the main challenges for the European footwear industry in the near future?
In my opinion, the "digital" revolution and "sustainable development" are clearly the two major issues of the profession.