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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.

Using SMS to improve cotton sustainability

A key fibre in the global textile and apparel industry, cotton production is under threat from factors such as climate change, competition f...

TPP and garment industry – are there any winners?

David Birnbaum is trying very hard to understand how the garment provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) will affect US stakeholde...

How to sustain cotton's competitive advantage

Cotton has an image problem. It’s out of fashion with mills, brands, designers and consumers, and a global glut of polyester – cotton's majo...

Is UK apparel onshoring finally gaining momentum?

Despite years of denial, British garment-making showed serious signs of a revival in the second half of 2015. Mike Flanagan takes a closer l...

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

Guest author

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.

The Flanarant – Are apparel prices really rising? 12 Feb 2016

Mike Flanagan

There's hardly an apparel industry commentator on the planet who's not forever going on about rising cost prices, writes Mike Flanagan. But he also wonders how often any of them look at what buyers are paying.

How US retailers are Trumped by their customers 22 Jan 2016

Guest author

Economic inequality was a major contributor to the recent lacklustre US holiday retail sales, suggests Robert Antoshak, managing director at Olah Inc. He also believes the apparent rise of Donald Trump in the American presidential race goes hand-in-hand with the decline of America’s working class – and with it, the ability of a large segment of the public to purchase clothing.

The Flanarant – New Year forecasts begin with excess expectations 19 Jan 2016

Mike Flanagan

Don't believe those New Year forecasts, warns Mike Flanagan, as he debunks a few stories about four issues that are likely to be important in garment sourcing for some time.

Will new blood restore M&S clothing to its former glory? 14 Jan 2016

Michelle Russell

It's no secret that Marks & Spencer has struggled to stem the losses in its clothing division. And with the unit's head Steve Rowe departing to take on the role of group CEO, the gap will need to be filled relatively quickly if the UK retailer is to address this problem area.

The rise of the millennial industry requires radical change 11 Jan 2016

David Birnbaum

As he refocuses his business on the next generation, consultant David Birnbaum explains why he believes the global garment industry is breaking apart – and how competing in the internet age requires retailers and brands, the big internet players, the 'itsy-bitsy' internet industry, and the supplier factories to take an honest look at the problem and try to create realistic solutions.

Can American Apparel re-build and retain cool factor? 6 Jan 2016

Michelle Russell

Seeing in the New Year might not have been the only reason American Apparel felt like popping the champagne last week after it won a plea for an extension to its period for filing a reorganisation plan. But while now on a cautious road to recovery, the bankrupt US teen fashion retailer may have stopped short of celebrating as it considers the questions that need answering if it is to be taken seriously again as a competitor in its space. 

Are you ready for the new Garment Industry 2.0? 4 Jan 2016

Emma Birnbaum

The impact of the internet is giving rise to the individual – as opposed to the mass-market – consumer, with new needs, ethics and expectations. And not surprisingly, the 'New Global Garment Industry' is already being created by, employing and selling to this individual, explains Emma Birnbaum, who adds that companies are being defined by their innovations.

Is Cuba the missing link in the US apparel supply chain? 23 Dec 2015

Mike Flanagan

In his last comment of the year, Mike Flanagan offers a seasonal suggestion for solving several global and industry problems.

Lululemon revamps product range and pricing 21 Dec 2015

Emily Potts

Lululemon, the cult brand favoured by yoga fans, has been at the forefront of athleisure since the trend began. But despite its early mover status the brand cannot afford to rest on its laurels as the success of sportswear has brought more competition than ever to the category, writes Emily Potts, contributing analyst at Euromonitor International.

The Flanarant - Apparel sourcing strategies continue to diverge 18 Dec 2015

Mike Flanagan

Last week's announcement by Adidas that it expects its costs to rise sharply over the next five years underlines some crucial changes buyers in different countries have seen in their sourcing operations since the beginning of this century, explains Mike Flanagan.

Act vs Action – Legislation not enough to combat modern slavery 18 Dec 2015

Guest author

Leslie Johnston, executive director of the C&A Foundation and a board director at GoodWeave believes the UK's Modern Slavery Act – which obligates large companies to report and declare their steps to address slavery – can only do so much. She is instead calling on businesses to take a broader approach to abolish slavery within supply chains and engage consumers to create change.

Comment – Three ways fit data can re-shape apparel purchases 3 Dec 2015

Guest author

"Enhancing the customer journey…," "adopting a more personalised approach…," "the importance of data…," – when it comes to articulating how brands can improve their customer strategies, some phrases seem to be trotted out if not interchangeably, then generically. Best intentions abound, but specific strategies still appear thin on the ground. But "fit" offers apparel retailers and brands a clear, some would say natural, way forward. Stuart Simms, chief executive of fit preference specialist explains.

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