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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.

TPP: now the real fight starts

On 5 October, the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) announced that their trade ministers had agreed a deal. But M...

Zalando: profit is so last season

Latest first-half results for Berlin-based fashion e-tailer Zalando highlighted revenue up 32% to EUR1.4bn (US$1.6bn), while profit margins...

Comment: Where will China’s credit axe fall?

Security bills that expand the role of Japan's military overseas could result in China ramping up investments to protect its supply routes a...

What clothing could the TPP X-basket contain?

In the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation, the United States has tabled a market access offer that seeks to protect the mos...

Comment: How to build momentum in mass-customisation 16 Sep 2015

David Birnbaum

While technology is often an important tool for innovation, new technology in itself does not necessarily result in innovation, writes David Birnbaum. But he believes the technology is available to finally help solve the mass-customisation problem.

THE FLANARANT: Chaos in the world’s trade agreements 2 Sep 2015

Mike Flanagan

The world garment trade was transformed in August, writes Mike Flanagan, with the biggest casualty likely to be India’s plans to increase textile and clothing exports by 20% a year and create an extra 35m jobs by 2024.

China devaluation: what’s the big deal? 24 Aug 2015

Mike Flanagan

Why the fuss about China’s yuan devaluation earlier this month? While pretty trivial by the standards of the past 50 years, it has managed to raise all sorts of hackles, writes Mike Flanagan.

Asian union development: is there another way? 21 Aug 2015

David Birnbaum

The efforts of multinational brands, retailers and importers to impose minimum wages and better working conditions in their supplier factories, while good in the short run, will result in greater problems in the long run, says David Birnbaum. Instead, he proposes that customers who want to raise worker standards in their supplier factories must find a third way forward.

THE FLANARANT: What will Britain’s Modern Slavery Act achieve? 10 Aug 2015

Mike Flanagan

Britain’s Modern Slavery Act (MSA), which began coming into force on 31 July, sets new disclosure standards on an extraordinary number of garment businesses. But its legal niceties won’t really determine the law’s impact, believes Mike Flanagan, noting that public opinion matters more.

Comment: Changing patterns in global garment imports 7 Aug 2015

David Birnbaum

Rising GDP and falling FOB prices have contributed to a shift in global garment imports over the past 15 years. But will these trends continue in the future? asks David Birnbaum.

COMMENT: Wearable tech – a passing fashion? 4 Aug 2015

Guest author

Is wearable technology a ‘fad’ or a passing fashion – or is it something that is here to stay? And what are the challenges faced from both a commercial and a legal perspective? Sarah Pearce, a partner in the Technology Transactions Group at law firm Cooley LLP, looks at these issues and discusses their future impact.

COMMENT: Asian union development and the Western response 29 Jul 2015

David Birnbaum

For the past three years, industrial action has been on the rise in all Asian garment exporting countries. It is a replay of similar events that occurred almost everywhere in the early stages of industrial union development, says David Birnbaum. The difference, however, is that regulations relating to workers and factory working conditions are usually imposed by Western importers.

Will Amazon take over the US apparel market? 23 Jul 2015

Mike Flanagan

A prediction this week that internet giant Amazon could take the top spot for US apparel retailing by 2017 is a gross exaggeration, according to Mike Flanagan. But it does raise intriguing questions about Amazon’s possible impact on the clothing market.

COMMENT: What sells when - and how to source ahead 20 Jul 2015

Guest author

What sells when, and how to source ahead to make the most of it, is one of the biggest challenges facing fashion brands and retailers. But modern technology has created a new information chain that gives a stronger indication of what to manufacture or stock, says Paul Watson, CEO at Volo.

THE FLANARANT: When will Bangladesh take compliance seriously? 17 Jul 2015

Mike Flanagan

Are Bangladesh’s garment factory owners about to destroy their extraordinary apparel success story? On the face of it, the question sounds absurd, writes Mike Flanagan. But neither the BGMEA nor the Bangladesh government have shown any real interest in developing a compliant garment industry.

COMMENT: Where next for US apparel imports from China? 16 Jul 2015

David Birnbaum

Every month the US Government's Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) publishes industry import data, and every month professionals pounce on this data to provide the latest information on China's import trends. Yet they all draw different conclusions, says David Birnbaum.

Petrochemicals and polyester: a new sustainability challenge? 16 Jul 2015

Guest author

Fibre, textile and apparel companies are dealing with an intense and growing pressure to deliver greater transparency across the supply chain. But where does their knowledge begin and end? When it comes to sustainability in the polyester production process, the picture is increasingly complicated according to The PCI Consulting Group, which has spent the past four years researching the issue.

COMMENT: Legacy systems leave fashion firms lagging 7 Jul 2015

Guest author

Bob McKee, industry strategy director, fashion, at Infor looks at why legacy systems are holding back manufacturers in the fast-paced fashion industry.

Birnbaum bites back: Open costings - yes or no? 7 Jul 2015

David Birnbaum

"Open book costing: for or against? As a supplier will it help to give buyers a breakdown of costs, or will buyers just use this as a means of driving cost down?" This question has been posed to garment industry expert David Birnbaum by a reader of just-style. His advice follows.

Mind the Gap: Can the brand reclaim its iconic status? 30 Jun 2015

Bernadette Kissane

The latest string of financial reports paint a very dull picture for the mid-market fashion industry in the US, writes Bernadette Kissane, apparel and footwear analyst at Euromonitor International. In particular, she asks, can the all-American Gap brand reclaim its iconic status?

THE FLANARANT: Onshoring has labour compliance challenges too 23 Jun 2015

Mike Flanagan

Can mass-market clothing be made legally - or ethically - in the UK or the US if it’s competing with low-wage production? Not according to Mike Flanagan, who calls Western labour practices "onshoring’s dirty secret."

Frustrations come to the fore over Bangladesh inspections 23 Jun 2015

Leonie Barrie

Both the Alliance and Accord have long expressed their concerns at the Bangladesh government’s lack of engagement in the process of making garment factories safer and empowering workers. But recent comments from the country's finance minister appear to be pushing their frustrations to the fore.

COMMENT: Towards an Asian sustainable development strategy 22 Jun 2015

David Birnbaum

In any discussion on social responsibility, the garment-exporting countries of South and Southeast Asia have a serious problem of credibility that nobody wants to address. Yet credibility is the single most important factor in determining the success or failure of any sustainable development strategy, writes David Birnbaum.

COMMENT: German sustainability scheme a "supersized" Accord 17 Jun 2015

Mike Flanagan

While global trade programmes have stalled this month, the German-led Partnership for Sustainable Textiles has been making quiet headway on its promise to bring about “social, ecological and economic improvements all along the textile supply chain.” Indeed, it has turned into a supersized version of the Accord, suggests Mike Flanagan.

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