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The best views and opinions in apparel and textile industry publishing, all in one place, from apparel and textile's monthly columnists and in-house experts.

Britain votes for Brexit – what happens next?

Britain’s vote in favour of leaving the European Union (EU) after more than four decades marks the start of a very long process to unravel i...

How apparel retailers should react to Brexit

The UK yesterday (23 June) voted in favour of ‘Brexit,’ a decision that means the country will leave the European Union (EU) – well, soon. M...

Trump’s China tariff a self-serving sound-bite

Taking a closer look at threats by Donald Trump to slap steep tariffs on US imports from China, Robert Antoshak, managing director at Olah I...

Data and transparency can encourage better buying

A new Better Buying initiative is being planned to eliminate the barriers to code of conduct compliance caused by apparel buyers' purchasing...

Lies, damned lies, and statistics – the sustainability version 22 Jun 2016

David Birnbaum

Garment making is to a large degree a model for sustainability, says David Birnbaum, adding that those working towards greater sustainability have an obligation to be transparent and accurate. What is not needed is input from those who lack the experience and knowledge to help.

The Flanarant – Why no other countries will step into China’s shoes 7 Jun 2016

Mike Flanagan

There's no doubt China faces a number of challenges, ranging from slowing economic growth to growing retail competition and – in March at least – a massive drop in year-on-year exports to the US. Continuing to expect the Chinese to rise to the challenge, Mike Flanagan takes a closer look at why nowhere else is ready to exploit the opportunities.

Vietnam – Are we too late to the party? 31 May 2016

Guest author

Will the EU FTA and TPP trade agreements truly make Vietnam the replacement solution to the higher labour cost challenges in China? Gary Barraco, director of global product marketing for Amber Road, suggests that when it comes to sourcing in Vietnam, whoever gets on the floor first, wins – and that the time to act is now.

What's the difference between compliance and safety? 26 May 2016

Emma Birnbaum and David Birnbaum

Swedish fashion retailer H&M is one of the leaders of the move to change compliance, and is at the forefront of sustainability. However, at the same time H&M appears to show no interest in the safety of workers making its products, write Emma Birnbaum and David Birnbaum. What is the difference between compliance and worker safety? they ask.

The Flanarant – Is China really going through a slump? 19 May 2016

Mike Flanagan

Slowing economic growth and growing competition are hitting the profits of Chinese retailers, while the country's clothing exports to the US dropped 39% year-on-year in March. Mike Flanagan takes a closer look at what this might mean for the apparel industry.

Can supplier ratings reform apparel purchasing practices? 18 May 2016

Leonie Barrie

A new initiative has been launched to try to improve the purchasing practices of apparel retailers and brands by asking suppliers to rate their performance – with the results listed and shared publicly.

The decline and fall of the supply chain manager 11 May 2016

David Birnbaum

The role of the middleman has become far greater and more important than ever before, with responsibility beginning before the onset of the supply chain and continuing long after its end – as David Birnbaum explains.

How software contributes to cleaner supply chains 6 May 2016

Guest author

Implementing new technology and software solutions is the key to improving quality, compliance and oversight throughout the supply network. Peter Needle, CEO and co-founder of supply chain visibility software company Segura, explains.

How mobile technology can improve cotton sustainability 20 Apr 2016

Guest author

A key fibre in the global textile and apparel industry, cotton production is under threat from factors such as climate change, competition from new crops, and the migration of workers to more lucrative jobs. But a new social network has found that implementing SMS technology at the farmer level helps improve farming practices as well as engaging young people in agriculture – as Amy Barthorpe, head of business development at WeFarm, explains.

TPP and the garment industry – are there any winners? 15 Apr 2016

David Birnbaum

David Birnbaum is trying very hard to understand how the garment provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) will affect US stakeholders. I can understand just who will fall into the loser column, he writes. The problem is finding anyone to place in the winner column.

How to sustain cotton's competitive advantage 12 Apr 2016

Robert P Antoshak

Cotton has an image problem. It’s out of fashion with mills, brands, designers and consumers, and a global glut of polyester – cotton's major competing fibre – is encouraging low prices. So how does cotton compete in such a market? Robert Antoshak, managing director at Olah Inc, believes sustainability is cotton's competitive advantage.

Is UK apparel onshoring finally gaining momentum? 6 Apr 2016

Mike Flanagan

Despite years of denial, British garment-making showed serious signs of a revival in the second half of 2015. Mike Flanagan takes a closer look, and asks: Is the long-anticipated UK onshoring boom finally coming into sight?

Something’s not right about ‘see now, buy now’ 1 Apr 2016

Guest author

Brands need to respond to consumer needs for instant gratification with a strategy for speed – where speed and efficiency in the product development cycle are crucial, warns Alvanon president Ed Gribbin.

Assessing Africa as an alternative apparel source 31 Mar 2016

Guest author

Africa has undeniable advantages that make it attractive as a potential destination for large volume, low cost, commodity garments, according to Chris Wynne-Potts, CEO at African Merchandising Services.

Trading company or factory direct – what's best? 30 Mar 2016

Philip Worrall

As margins continue to be squeezed, one question often asked by sourcing managers is whether or not to use a trading company. Surely, the argument goes, dealing direct with a factory is the best route to better prices and quality. Sourcing consultant Philip Worrall explains why this is not always the case.

Beyond globalisation – a changing textile and apparel industry 3 Mar 2016

Robert P Antoshak

Thanks to globalisation, challenges face apparel and textile manufacturers around the world as never before. Here Robert Antoshak, managing director at Olah Inc, reviews a few of the major forces affecting the industry – and argues that the sector is now moving into a new stage of development where cost remains a prerequisite for some types of production while quality, low unit production increasingly carves out space elsewhere.

Is Primark pioneering a new wave of retail efficiency? 26 Feb 2016

Mike Flanagan

In a Rant published on just-style earlier this month, Mike Flanagan stressed the importance of finding new sources of retail efficiency rather than worrying about rising prices. He now asks whether Primark has identified where apparel retailers should be looking – or whether US commentators are right when they claim the business is fundamentally flawed?

Reputational risks concealed in supply chains 23 Feb 2016

Guest author

With an ever-increasing slice of a company's value linked to its reputation, most brands and retailers require a new set of disciplines and procedures to really understand what is going on in their global supply chains. Tim Wilson, co-founder and director of value chain mapping firm Historic Futures, explains.

Sub-brands and stores key to M&S gross margin gains 18 Feb 2016

Michelle Russell

There is a limit to long-term margin improvement for Marks & Spencer's general merchandise division, and earnings will be difficult to achieve unless the UK retail group transforms its selling space, one analyst suggests. This should include a review of its store portfolio, and a close look at the relevance of M&S's many sub-brands.

Bright outlook for Haiti's apparel industry in 2016 17 Feb 2016

Guest author

The prospects look bright for Haiti's apparel industry in 2016 after a number of important milestones were reached last year, says Mark D'Sa, senior advisor for industrial development in Haiti at the US Department of State.

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