Latest apparel and textile comment
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.
The apparel industry needs to find a better way of doing business. That's the stark message to emerge from supply chain executives who belie...
Despite the many claims to the contrary, it would appear that China's share of the US garment export market has failed to decline - while at...
The latest word is "segmentation": a trend whereby China is losing its position as a low-cost garment exporter and other countries have step...
Nearly two years after Nicaragua was hailed as a rising star on the world footwear stage, with potential to increase its position in both th...
Being sustainable might be "the right thing to do," but it impacts each and every stage of the apparel industry and its supply chain. Here some of the participants at this year's Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong share their thoughts on the issue.
The term 'backward linkages' - used by commentators a decade ago to describe clothing factories with spinning, weaving and dyeing facilities nearby - seems to be coming back into fashion. But far from being the key to success for garment makers, says Mike Flanagan, neither the commercial nor the environmental case stands up.
It's one thing for apparel brands and retailers to talk about sustainability and traceability across their supply chains, but another altogether to put it into practice. Indeed, new research reveals that despite the well-documented risk of sourcing forced-labour Uzbek cotton, many firms are still not taking enough steps to prevent its use in their products.
The hot topic of "reshoring" or "nearshoring" - returning the sourcing of fashion and textile products to the western hemisphere - continues to generate a buzz. But what's in it for brands and retailers looking to make the move?
The pressure for higher wages and better working conditions looks unstoppable – and is being accompanied by a wave of new initiatives aimed at making it easier for factories to compete while making these changes. But will they work? asks Mike Flanagan.
While it may be too early to state with any degree of certainty that the Bangladesh bubble has burst, most sourcing professionals now accept that the bubble has developed sizeable leaks. These same sourcing professionals are also taking fast action not be caught in an increasingly probable implosion. The question, David Birnbaum asks, is where to move the Bangladesh business?
News Wal-Mart has lowered its full-year earnings forecast reflects more than the drag of store closures as it adjusts its international portfolio. The US retail giant is struggling to grow its top-line at home and lower fourth-quarter comparable domestic sales suggest it failed to capitalise on the data breach scandal that hit key competitor Target Corp., Katy Askew suggests.
Against the backdrop of a month of fierce protests, the worst state violence in Cambodia for 15 years, and an escalating crackdown on protesting workers, the United Nations this week launched its second Universal Periodical Review (UPR) of the country's human rights record.
Sainsbury's this morning (29 January) announced commercial director Mike Coupe will replace Justin King as the supermarket retailer's chief executive from July. While speculation will inevitably centre on what King will do next, the focus will also be on whether Coupe is a safe pair of hands for Sainsbury's and whether his focus will turn to the fast-growing area of clothing.
Successful garment exporters are taking a more academic approach to sourcing product. Instead of moving to the latest cheap labour country, their strategy is to reduce overhead by increasing worker productivity, training, and capital investment in cutting edge machinery. David Birnbaum explains why.
From the rise of the billion dollar transnational factory giants to the bursting of the Bangladesh bubble and the decline of the retail store, David Birnbaum offers his take on the key apparel industry issues to watch in 2014.
The last two weeks of December threw up three huge issues that overturned most of the current wisdom about the garment industry. In this month's Flanarant, Mike Flanagan looks at why it is so difficult to forecast long-term trends in garment making.
Trade Facilitation is the new industry buzzword, but can anyone get excited about it? asks Mike Flanagan. They should, he says, highlighting here the potential of the WTO's Bali Package to enhance clothing supply chains. He also urges the industry to push for fast implementation, noting that garment workers would be the biggest beneficiaries.
Despite a decision eight years ago by Japanese brands and retailers to cut the amount of clothing sourced from China, garment imports from the country are on the rise. Mike Flanagan believes the reasons should resonate with buyers in the US and EU too.
A huge change has come over the clothing industry since the decision by around 120 fashion retailers and brands to sign the Bangladesh Accord or Alliance. But while buyers are becoming more relaxed about seeing factory audits published, trade associations seem to be increasingly out of touch.
Despite compliance issues, Bangladesh remains number one alternative Bangladesh's advantages in low cost and convenience will help to ensure the continued growth of its clothing sector keeps growing, Dr Achim Berg, a partner at consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, has reiterated.
The issue of productivity in garment making countries around the world refuses to go away. But as Mike Flanagan writes here, there's no point in asking where the most productive workers will be in five years' time. It's the environment they're working in, and how that compares with other locations, he explains.
In his previous article David Birnbaum suggested that the availability of local fibre appears to be a handicap for garment-making countries. Here he adds evidence that countries producing cotton fibre and textiles pay a price for their failure – while those without the benefit of local cotton fibre and textiles benefit.
For most industries, the availability of local raw materials is a decided advantage. Not so for the garment industry, says David Birnbaum, as he charts the relationship between a country's access to local fibre and its ability to follow changes in customer demand.
Turning the issue of compliance on its head, David Birnbaum believes that responsibility for improving working conditions and raising the garment export industry to higher level lies with the better factories, both in Bangladesh and elsewhere.
- PSF 2014: No one size fits all in apparel sourcing
- PSF 2014: Shifting focus from cost to consumer
- Garment manufacturers eye Myanmar outsourcing
- Teen retail being rocked by fast fashion headwinds
- Bangladesh industry development moving backwards
- Adidas China supplier in discussions over strike
- Gap issues mirror widespread industry challenges
- Bangladesh PM asks clothing buyers to pay more
- H&M "pushing the process" on sustainable fashion
- Adidas plans mobile phone hotline at all suppliers
- Ethiopia – the emerging textile and clothing industry
- Antimicrobial fibres, fabrics and apparel: innovative weapons against infection
- Trade and trade policy: clothing imports, consumer expenditure and trends in five emerging markets: Brazil, Colombia, India, Kazakhstan and Peru, 4th quarter 2013
- Sustainable Textiles for Apparel: Fact, Fiction and Future Prospects
- Jeans in Italy