By: Leonie Barrie
just-style editor Leonie Barrie shares her thoughts on some of the top stories in the news.
2 May 2013
Is Bangladesh is a place where workers are safe to make clothes sold by Western retailers and brands - and is the lure of low costs a risk worth taking? Last week's collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza factory complex has brought these concerns to the fore all over again.
9 April 2013
Ron Johnson, the man hired just 18 months ago to transform US retailer JC Penney, has been unceremoniously ousted after his radical revamp plans failed to gain traction.
22 March 2013
Since 2009, active wear brand Lululemon Athletica has seen profits soar, regularly increasing its guidance after better than expected performances. But, is the recall of its black Luon pants a sign that the brand is growing too quickly?
13 February 2013
For all the talk about declining Chinese competitiveness and the likely growth in near-sourcing, official figures show China continued to dominate US apparel and textile imports last year.
1 December 2012
Since when did garment making become a matter of life and death? And why, despite the huge amounts of time, effort and resources that have gone into corporate social responsibility, factory inspections and audits, do poorly paid workers continue to toil in dangerous conditions supplying clothing to Western brands and retailers?
26 November 2012
It is almost two years to the day since 29 people perished in a fire at a garment factory in Bangladesh - and it would appear that little has been done in the intervening period to tackle the industry's safety issues.
4 October 2012
The heads of two US trade groups representing apparel and footwear retailers, brands and importers have warned of a slowdown in consumer spending unless lawmakers can reach an agreement to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" which is looming at the end of the year.
19 September 2012
Moves last week by the Indian government to open the country's multi-brand retail sector to foreign investment have been hailed as everything from a "historic decision" to a "big bang" reform. But observers also warn it is still far from certain that they will go ahead.
12 July 2012
Like a vast, slow-moving and rather unwieldy tanker, battered and lashed by stormy seas, the UK's largest clothing retailer Marks & Spencer has done much over the past decade to try to steady its business.
24 April 2012
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 could Burma - also called Myanmar - be the next frontier?
15 March 2012
Walmart created a stir back in 2009 when it announced an ambitious programme for sustainability reporting. Its goal was to develop a Sustainability Index to assess the environmental impacts of every item on its shelves and provide an easy rating system to help shoppers make greener choices.
9 February 2012
With much of the success of Cambodia's garment industry based on its well-publicised commitment to basic labour standards, it's perhaps not surprising that the sector finds itself under a spotlight when it comes to wider worker welfare issues. Indeed, several events that have taken place in recent weeks highlight some of the challenges faced by the local industry.
25 January 2012
The global clothes sourcing bandwagon is forever looking for the next hot spot, especially as nearly two decades of apparel price deflation comes to an end and worries continue to escalate about raw material and labour costs, capacity issues and the overall competitiveness of China. But is Bangladesh ready to step into the role of sourcing country of choice?
22 November 2011
The correlation between skirt lengths and economic booms and busts - the so-called hemline index - is not only well documented but even seems to have stood the test of time. In essence, short skirts are a sign of confidence and a precursor to rising stock markets; while longer lengths signify caution and a market downturn.
13 October 2011
Five years after taking the helm at Liz Claiborne Inc, it's hard to see exactly what William McComb has achieved. Sales are down, last year it could only muster a loss of $305.7m, and nearly one-quarter of its heyday brands have gone. But yesterday the company was confident it had finally reached a critical turning point.
16 September 2011
If ever there was an issue set to divide apparel brands, retailers and textile companies, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact is surely it. Described as the most significant negotiation for the US and its regional trade partners since the NAFTA agreement, the yarn forward rule of origin has emerged as one of the most divisive issues.
9 August 2011
International apparel buyers and their suppliers are being urged to take steps to put an end to the widespread use of short-term employment contracts in the Cambodian garment industry amid concerns the practice not only threatens to erode the industry's competitiveness but also violates labour laws and could lead to widespread unrest.
8 July 2011
While cold weather, storms and flooding dampened demand for spring and summer merchandise in May, US apparel retailers rebounded with a better than expected performance in June after a combination of lower gas prices, sunshine and deep discounting encouraged shoppers to hit the stores.
2 June 2011
Even though ongoing talks around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement involve nine nations, for the US textile industry Vietnam is seen as by far the biggest threat.
18 May 2011
Not only does Wal-Mart Stores' US namesake unit continue to be a drag on its bottom line, but its apparel business continues to weigh particularly heavily on its performance here as well, the world's largest retailer admitted this week.