By: Leonie Barrie

just-style editor Leonie Barrie shares her thoughts on some of the top stories in the news.

VIEWPOINT: US apparel imports fall from eight of top-ten suppliers 9 Jan 2015

With most holiday merchandise brought into the US early as retailers rushed to beat a possible shutdown of West Coast ports, it is perhaps not surprising that apparel imports fell in November. But with shipments plunging from eight of the top-ten suppliers, Vietnam alone was the stand-out performer during the month.

VIEWPOINT: Is Black Friday losing its lustre? 1 Dec 2014

Early holiday promotions, the continued growth of online shopping, and an improving economy appear to be changing the way US consumers approach what has traditionally been the biggest shopping weekend of the year.

VIEWPOINT: Port shutdown fears add to US apparel headwinds 7 Nov 2014

US businesses are urging the government to intervene in the ongoing dispute at US west coast ports, amid worsening delays on shipments of holiday merchandise and fears a total shutdown may be imminent.

VIEWPOINT: Government delays weigh on Bangladesh reforms 28 Oct 2014

The over-riding message from a review last week to look at ongoing efforts to improve worker rights and factory safety in Bangladesh's ready-made garment and knitwear industry seems to be that "a lot of work still remains to be done."

VIEWPOINT: Cotton price decline unlikely to help clothing costs 30 Sep 2014

With global cotton prices sitting at a five-year low, apparel firms should be benefitting from lower unit costs. That's the theory at least. The reality, however, is that any gains are unlikely to show up until the second half of next year - and more likely than not will be offset by rising labour and compliance costs.

VIEWPOINT: Fitness fashion propels Athleta towards $1bn sales 27 Aug 2014

Any talk of Gap Inc's portfolio invariably focuses on its Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands. But new number crunching suggests the company's Athleta women's athletic wear line is also gaining momentum.

VIEWPOINT: Risk-averse retailers vote with their orders 12 Jun 2014

The international apparel supply chain faces a complex array of risks and variables, and buyers are putting a high priority on minimum disruption. Indeed, there's a stark link between the three top-ten supplier countries whose imports to the US have fallen this year so far.

VIEWPOINT: The link between apparel supply chains and success 28 May 2014

Do the biggest companies also have the best supply chains - or should it be instead that the best supply chains help grow the most successful companies? It's quite a question, but there's no doubt that there's a connection between the two, especially when it comes to Zara-owner Inditex, H&M and Nike.

VIEWPOINT: Bangladesh reforms must ramp up their progress 24 Apr 2014

Among the numerous statements released today (24 April) to mark the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy, there is a depressing similarity hanging over them all: that despite a year of industry-wide action aimed at improving conditions in the country's booming garment sector, much more work still needs to be done.

Viewpoint: US apparel industry data sheds light on sector shifts 3 Jan 2014

An annual update of US apparel industry trends might use data that is more than a year old, but it offers an interesting snapshot of the state of play in the US textile and apparel trade, from domestic production trends to import costs.

Viewpoint: Chinese cotton auction unlikely to dent stockpile 28 Nov 2013

Having spent the past two years building up massive cotton stockpiles that now account for an estimated half of the world's supply, the Chinese government is selling off some of its reserves.

Viewpoint: Collaboration key to tackling supply chain issues 17 Oct 2013

Efforts to increase supply chain transparency should include closer collaboration and partnerships with suppliers, an industry event has heard.

Viewpoint: Rupee fall a mixed bag for Indian garment industry 11 Sep 2013

The falling value of the Indian rupee is proving to be something of a mixed bag for the country's clothing industry.

Viewpoint: China changes drive global sourcing search 15 Aug 2013

In its constant search for cheaper and cheaper production bases around the world, there are few places the apparel and textile industry has left untouched. But still the search goes on. From Africa to the Americas, Burma to Bangladesh, there seems to be a never-ending debate as to the next sourcing hotspot.

Viewpoint: Can trade benefits be taken for granted? 9 Jul 2013

The US decision last month to suspend trade benefits for Bangladesh was a symbolic gesture intended to emphasise its frustrations over factory safety in the country's garment sector. But could the European Union's repeated threats to cut access to its own GSP system prove more of a wake-up call?

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