Minas Gerais’ fashion sector is starting to recover after a downturn during the pandemic

The pandemic was cold water coffee in many sectors of the economy. With very few exceptions, entrepreneurs have experienced a time of lack of sales, causing many to close their doors. In the fashion sector, the situation was no different. Since stores could not operate due to social isolation, the way out for many entrepreneurs was to resort to e-commerce. But not everyone adapted.

Opinion Box research points out that between March and June 2020 – when the pandemic was taking hold – 63% of people did not buy clothes or accessories, which had a direct impact on the fashion industry.

A survey by the Brazilian Association of the Textile and Clothing Industry (Abit), carried out in June of that year with 58 companies in the textile sector, revealed that 96% of companies had a drop in orders, and 55% of them recorded a decrease of more than 50% in the number of orders.

Two years after this turmoil, the sector is starting to recover and is betting on the return of face-to-face events to boost sales of clothing, footwear and accessories. Belo Horizonte has already hosted the Minas Trend Preview this year, which is considered the biggest event in the fashion industry in Minas Gerais.

The 27th edition, held in April at Expominas, was more modest, a reflection of the shocks suffered by the pandemic. With fewer exhibitors than in previous editions – there were 90 compared to 187 in 2019 – and without the same luxury as before, the key word was to strengthen the business chain of the sector. These events are considered key to improving the company’s performance.

In November, Belo Horizonte will host another edition of Minas Trend together with the Abita International Congress, in the premises of the Minas Center.

outdoor parade
And this weekend, merchants from Barro Preto, which is considered one of the main fashion centers in the country, are holding “Barro Preto Fashion Day”. The 13th edition of the event takes place in person this Friday and Saturday in the block of Rua Mato Grosso, between Avenida Augusto de Lima and Rua dos Guajajaras.

The collections from the spring-summer season of 23 main brands of Minas Gerais are presented. The director of Top Agency BH, one of the organizers of the show, Taciana Teodoro celebrates the continuation of the event, which, according to her, is the only outdoor fashion show in the country. “We brought the show here to Mato Grosso Street, where the biggest fashion retailers are concentrated. The event brings together merchants so that we can sell more,” he says. Taciana also reminds that the event combines fashion and gastronomy and is intended for adults and children.

Party fashion store Roberta Reis participates in the event with high expectations of launching sales. His wife’s partner in the venture, Rogério Reis, says that this is a year of optimism and that the continuation is expected to happen even in 2023.

“This is the year of the survivors where we got that recovery strength serum,” he says. According to him, the drop in sales during the pandemic reached 95 percent, and in 2022 he managed to recover from 60 percent to 70 percent of the movement.

The president of the Union of Wholesale Fabrics, Clothing and Haberdashery of Belo Horizonte (Sincateva BH), Lúcio Emílio de Faria Júnior, says the goal of the event is to “raise the confidence of the neighborhood merchant and improve performance.” “We have all kinds of clothes here. The staff is hopeful. Everyone is invited to participate. Let’s finish with Minas ao Luar with a special band. Very high expectations,” he says. It is predicted that 2000 people will visit the Fashion Day.

The fashion industry from Minas is one of the most distinctive industrial segments in the state, with more than 120 thousand workers working in 8.7 thousand companies in the sector, says Mariângela Marcon, president of the Chamber of Fashion Industry of the Federation of Industries of the States of Minas General (Fiemg). According to her, it represents 12% of the country’s industrial activity and is the second sector that absorbs the most labor force.

“Our country’s connection with fashion is very strong. Since the beginning of the 1900s, when the textile industry grew stronger here, the fashion industry has been intertwined with its own path of economic, industrial and identity development in Minas, a country internationally recognized for the creativity of its people and the quality of its work. products,” he says.

The manager points out that the pandemic had a very big impact on the sector. “We had closed companies and lost jobs. But we are resilient and knew how to overcome the difficulties of these unfavorable situations, such as the intensification of online service, production review, inventory, etc. And already in 2021, with the return of Minas Trend, the business has already started to recover”, he points out.

From last year to today, says Mariângela, the balance of business has gone from a negative to a positive position. “This shows the recovery of the market. In addition, last year the state exported more than it imported, concluding with a positive balance of more than 60 million dollars”.

And with the return of events, such as fairs, exhibitions, parades, the trend is for the breath to be even bigger. “Fairs are important tools for the functioning of the fashion cycle. In addition to predicting and confirming trends, they provide unique moments for networking and meeting new suppliers,” explains the president of the Fashion Chamber.


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