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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.

How US retailers are Trumped by their customers

Economic inequality was a major contributor to the recent lacklustre US holiday retail sales, suggests Robert Antoshak, managing director at...

New Year forecasts begin with excess expectations

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 i...

Will new blood restore M&S clothing glory?

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...

The millennial industry requires radical change

As he refocuses his business on the next generation, consultant David Birnbaum explains why he believes the global garment industry is break...


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.


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 Fits.me explains.


US apparel import countries – the winners 2 Dec 2015

David Birnbaum

US garment imports have not only reached record levels but, based on recent data, growth is accelerating. David Birnbaum has used this as an opportunity to take a snapshot of the global garment industry: the current position of exporting countries and more importantly the direction in which they are moving. This article, the first of three, looks at the success stories.


US apparel import countries – stuck in the middle 2 Dec 2015

David Birnbaum

US garment imports have not only reached record levels but, based on recent data, growth is accelerating. David Birnbaum has used this as an opportunity to take a snapshot of the global garment industry: the current position of exporting countries and more importantly the direction in which they are moving. This article, the second of three, looks at the less successful.


US apparel import countries – the losers 2 Dec 2015

David Birnbaum

US garment imports have not only reached record levels but, based on recent data, growth is accelerating. David Birnbaum has used this as an opportunity to take a snapshot of the global garment industry: the current position of exporting countries and more importantly the direction in which they are moving. This article, the third of three, looks at the losers.


Comment – Five ways to tackle market and demand volatility 27 Nov 2015

Guest author

Volatility and complexity are endemic in today's business environments, which makes planning extremely difficult. Along with streamlining process and supply chain steps to run as fast as the pace of change, Bob McKee, industry strategy director for fashion at Infor, sets out five further recommendations for dealing with market and demand volatility.


Comment – ‘Fixing Fashion’ one stitch at a time 25 Nov 2015

Guest author

A spate of books written over the past few years explores various aspects of the global garment business. But for Robert Antoshak, managing director at Olah Inc, the newly-published "Fixing Fashion" should be required reading.


Why China’s 5-year plan won't change garment-making 24 Nov 2015

Mike Flanagan

China is using a catchy English-language TV ad to promote its 13th Five-Year Plan for the five years to 2020. But does the Plan really tell us how garment-making in China will be affected? asks Mike Flanagan.


The Flanarant - Will the TPP pass into law? 12 Nov 2015

Mike Flanagan

The Flanarant - Will the TPP pass into law? Last week, on 5 November, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) published the detailed text of the agreement that its 12 potential members had reached exactly a month earlier. Publication coincided with a number of events illustrating just how unpredictable the deal’s approval by those countries’ legislatures is likely to be. They raise a number of questions:


What a ‘Brexit’ might mean for world apparel trade 29 Oct 2015

Mike Flanagan

A promised referendum on Britain’s continuing membership of the EU – and the possibility of a Brexit in two years’ time – would have massive implications for world apparel trade, according to Mike Flanagan.


Comment: TPP winners and losers 13 Oct 2015

David Birnbaum

Now that it appears the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may actually come to pass, which apparel and textile producing countries are most likely to benefit and which will not? David Birnbaum agrees that Vietnam will be the big winner — but believes the greatest loser will almost certainly be the US textile manufacturers.


The Flanarant: TPP – now the real fight starts 6 Oct 2015

Mike Flanagan

On 5 October, the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) announced that their trade ministers had agreed a deal. But Mike Flanagan still doubts it will come into action this decade.


Focus: Zalando - profit is so last season 30 Sep 2015

Bernadette Kissane

Latest first-half results for Berlin-based fashion e-tailer Zalando highlighted revenue up 32% to EUR1.4bn (US$1.6bn), while profit margins dipped to 3.5% from 6% the previous year. In order to maintain growth momentum, where should the business focus its attention? asks Bernadette Kissane, apparel and footwear analyst at Euromonitor International.


Comment: Where will China’s credit axe fall? 25 Sep 2015

Mike Flanagan

Security bills that expand the role of Japan's military overseas could result in China ramping up investments to protect its supply routes and domestic growth. But Mike Flanagan suggests this is also likely to have ramifications for the funding of garment projects overseas.


What clothing could the TPP X-basket contain? 18 Sep 2015

Guest author

In the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation, the United States has tabled a market access offer that seeks to protect the most “import sensitive” textile and apparel (T&A) products - also known as the “X-basket”. But what is this likely to include? Dr Sheng Lu, assistant professor at the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware, takes a guess.


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