Speaking with style
Exclusive interviews with some of the apparel and footwear industry’s leading movers and shakers. Companies already featured include Marks & Spencer, H&M, Timberland, Adidas, New Look and Li & Fung.
"We're best when we're leading and pioneering," is Michael Kobori's take on denim giant Levi Strauss & Co's responsibility in ensuring it has an ethical supply chain. But it is competition, believes the company's VP of sustainability, more so than collaboration, that really raises the bar when it comes to sustainability.
Jason Denham has a relentless enthusiasm and passion for denim. He has been raising the bar on jeans innovation since he started out 20 years ago designing for Irish rock band U2, and his vision for growing his namesake brand includes using the most advanced washing techniques, high end fabrics, and sustainable mills.
Outdoor wear behemoth The North Face has secured its position as a leader in the field since its inception 50 years ago. While "ahead of the game" on sustainability, the US2$bn brand is also just "scratching the surface," according to Adam Mott, the group's director of sustainability. Here he tells just-style how the company is re-evaluating and rethinking everything it does based on what's right for the worker, the environment, and the consumer.
A "constant run to keep up" with consumer demands is keeping multi-channel retailer N Brown on it toes as it adapts its sourcing model, its systems and international growth to keep apace. Paul Kendrick, customer, financial services and international director, explains.
“You cannot solve the sustainability agenda overnight,” explains Frank Henke, global director of social and environmental affairs at German sporting goods giant Adidas Group. Indeed, as he tells just-style, the company has faced a moving target since it launched its first sustainability programmes some 15 to 20 years ago – and that target is today moving faster than ever.
The global apparel industry is expected to grow 3.5% to over $500bn this year, matching a similar gain in 2014 and consolidating a three-year recovery, according to the International Apparel Federation's (IAF) new president Rahul Mehta.
UK supermarket brand George at Asda is on a journey to a more sustainable supply chain through its Responsible Retail programme. Lynne Tooms, senior director of quality and sourcing, explains why retailers need to understand more about where their products come from and the challenges faced by suppliers.
Levi Strauss & Co is returning to its roots. The denim stalwart, which has been battling sluggish traffic trends, international challenges and a revolution in activewear, is looking to re-establish leadership in its sector. A touch of nostalgia, plenty of innovation, adjustments in sourcing strategy, and global expansion are all part of the plan. just-style talks with Seth Ellison, the group's president for Europe.
UK retailer Marks & Spencer is on something of a mission: To become the world's most sustainable retailer through its ambitious Plan A environmental and ethical programme. The person in charge of implementing this globally is Adam Elman, head of Plan A delivery, who discusses the initiative's challenging targets and the need for wider industry collaboration.
Spanish fashion retailer Mango might have its roots firmly in Europe, but is on a growth trajectory globally, making its presence felt in most major countries. just-style spoke with managing director Enric Casi and Jose Gomez, VP of international business development, about what the future holds and the challenges of operating in today's changing retail environment.
Adriano Goldschmied, Diesel's co-founder, is working to promote a new stretch fabric he hopes will turn around the fortunes of the $50bn denim industry.
Building the business for long-term growth, but also ensuring that the company has a strong local supply chain in place to deliver on its goals, are among the challenges faced by Andrew Lo, CEO of Hong Kong based Crystal Group, as he continues to build the capacity and competitiveness of one of Asia's largest garment manufacturers.
Garment supplier Echo Sourcing has been building its business in Bangladesh since 2005 and is confident of continued growth in a country that has been rocked by a number of safety issues. The company, however, is keen to broaden its horizons and is eyeing potential new markets such as Ethiopia. Mark Bannister, head of sustainability and projects, talks to just-style.
Hot on the heels of expanding its Dockers brand license agreement with Levi Strauss & Co for the third time in four months, Hampshire Group CEO Paul Buxbaum is optimistic the company turnaround is starting to take hold. Here he talks to just-style about new opportunities and on-going efforts to leverage the firm's supply chain.
With a global vendor base of around 6,000 factories working with leading retailers and brands, sourcing specialist William E. Connor & Associates Ltd. has an enviable view into worldwide sourcing shifts. In the second instalment of a two-part interview with just-style, company chairman and CEO William E. (Chip) Connor discusses opportunities, challenges and concerns.
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