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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.

China devaluation: what’s the big deal?

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 t...

Asian union development: is there another way?

The efforts of multinational brands, retailers and importers to impose minimum wages and better working conditions in their supplier factori...

What will Britain’s Modern Slavery Act achieve?

Britain’s Modern Slavery Act (MSA), which began coming into force on 31 July, sets new disclosure standards on an extraordinary number of ga...

Changing patterns in global garment imports

Rising GDP and falling FOB prices have contributed to a shift in global garment imports over the past 15 years. But will these trends contin...

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.

COMMENT: Myanmar - the road forward? 16 Jun 2015

David Birnbaum

Everyone wants to see a successful Myanmar garment industry. Governments in garment importing countries, importers, the international institutions and development banks are all on board. But by far the greatest obstacle is compliance, writes David Birnbaum.

TECHNOLOGY: Advanced RFID spurs move to integrated apparel tags 11 Jun 2015

Guest author

Fully integrated RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags, which combine RFID inlays with all critical printed data and graphics into a single ticket, are sparking a surge of interest from apparel retailers, brand owners, manufacturers and their global suppliers, according to George Hoffman, CEO at FineLine Technologies.

COMMENT: Will a stable AGOA help Africa's apparel industry? 9 Jun 2015

Mike Flanagan

Re-energising US apparel imports from Africa has been among the recent concerns of US brands and retailers. But Mike Flanagan wonders if they’re missing the real problem: finding alternative apparel sources – in Africa or anywhere else – is a lot tougher than it looks.

COMMENT: US ports dispute skews sourcing shifts 13 May 2015

David Birnbaum

The US West Coast ports dispute is having a lingering impact on US apparel import figures, with the latest data showing year-on-year trends skewed by logistical bottle-necks. Perhaps the one clear trend, according to David Birnbaum, is that the big winner was China.

THE FLANARANT: What’s really changed in Bangladesh? 7 May 2015

Mike Flanagan

There’s a huge gap in Bangladesh between two business philosophies: those with realistic profit expectations, and those who are obsessed with controlling costs. And recent events have highlighted just how wide this gulf is, according to Mike Flanagan.

COMMENT: Capacity building key to Myanmar momentum 30 Apr 2015

David Birnbaum

A focus on the development of locally-owned factories is an impediment to the development of the garment industry in Myanmar, David Birnbaum believes. Instead, he suggests the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) must take a leading role in moving the industry forward.

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