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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.

THE FLANARANT: Understand win-win or lose out

The “win-win” viewpoint - in which all participants are seen to benefit in one way or another - infects huge swathes of modern thinking and...

Fitness fashion propels Athleta towards $1bn sales

Any talk of Gap Inc's portfolio invariably focuses on its Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands. But new number crunching suggests the co...

Government giveaways stifle garment growth

Governments have a vital role to play in supporting the modern industrial economy, but in many garment-exporting countries this positive sup...

Who will conquer the sourcing world next?

The trouble with public announcements about ambitious garment industry plans is that it's not always clear anymore whether they are cynical...


COMMENT: The current state of play in world garment exports 31 Jul 2014

David Birnbaum

Data from major garment exporting countries to the EU and US shows who's winning and losing so far in 2014. David Birnbaum looks at the trends.


THE FLANARANT: Is China's dream becoming a nightmare scenario? 11 Jul 2014

Mike Flanagan

China's leader Xi Jinping last year adopted The China Dream as the theme of his presidency, combining "economic prosperity" with "national rejuvenation". But Mike Flanagan suggests the second part of this vision is starting to look troubling - as recent events have shown - with potential to impact the apparel industry.


FEEDBACK: Constructive criticism good for social compliance 17 Jun 2014

Leonie Barrie

A survey designed to gauge the current state of play when it comes to social compliance certification schemes for the apparel and footwear sector suggests some buyers appear to be increasingly sceptical about what is on offer.


VIEWPOINT: Risk-averse retailers vote with their orders 12 Jun 2014

Leonie Barrie

The international apparel supply chain faces a complex array of risks and variables, and buyers are putting a high priority on minimum disruption. Indeed, there's a stark link between the three top-ten supplier countries whose imports to the US have fallen this year so far.


THE FLANARANT: Garment growth unlikely under India's Modi 9 Jun 2014

Mike Flanagan

Will "strong man" politicians kick-start the sluggish garment industries in India and Pakistan? asks Mike Flanagan. Evidence so far, he suggests, shows progress ranges from positive to unconvincing.


COMMENT: Bangladesh's garment trend lines look pretty poor 6 Jun 2014

David Birnbaum

Bangladesh's share of the US apparel market has been in decline since February this year. But a closer look at the figures shows that while it is holding up in basic men's wear, women's wear fashion is on a downward trajectory.


COMMENT: Business process transformation and PLM - Part 2 28 May 2014

just-style guest editorial

In the second part of this two-part series, Kalypso's Traci Stapleton and Greg Adkins look at ways to maximise the value of a product lifecycle management (PLM) investment.


VIEWPOINT: The link between apparel supply chains and success 28 May 2014

Leonie Barrie

Do the biggest companies also have the best supply chains - or should it be instead that the best supply chains help grow the most successful companies? It's quite a question, but there's no doubt that there's a connection between the two, especially when it comes to Zara-owner Inditex, H&M and Nike.


COMMENT: Business process transformation and PLM - Part 1 27 May 2014

just-style guest editorial

PLM solutions are often implemented without a strategy in place - creating process and system misalignment. In part one of this two-part series, Kalypso's Traci Stapleton and Greg Adkins outline the most common symptoms of a misaligned system.


THE FLANARANT: Yue Yuen strike reflects Chinese worker concerns 9 May 2014

Mike Flanagan

The recent strike by workers at a Chinese plant operated by Taiwanese footwear manufacturer Yue Yuen was as much to do with the status of migrant workers as the firm's sharp practice, believes Mike Flanagan. And it certainly doesn't mark the start of a Guangdong Spring uprising.


THE FLANARANT: Following fashion isn't the best sourcing strategy 30 Apr 2014

Mike Flanagan

Retailers and brands are increasingly engineering their operations to make the most of changing trends affecting everything from sourcing to sales. But as Mike Flanagan points out, the model that works for one company is unlikely to work for another. Here he gives some examples.


COMMENT: Bangladesh heading for sourcing history? 28 Apr 2014

David Birnbaum

Just six months ago the major brand importers and giant transnational factories were rushing to build state-of-the-art operations in Bangladesh, despite the Rana Plaza and Tazreen mishaps. Where are they now? asks David Birnbaum.


VIEWPOINT: Bangladesh reforms must ramp up their progress 24 Apr 2014

Leonie Barrie

Among the numerous statements released today (24 April) to mark the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy, there is a depressing similarity hanging over them all: that despite a year of industry-wide action aimed at improving conditions in the country's booming garment sector, much more work still needs to be done.


PSF 2014: Shifting focus from cost to consumer is key 14 Apr 2014

Leonie Barrie

The apparel industry needs to find a better way of doing business. That's the stark message to emerge from supply chain executives who believe that instead of squeezing the supply chain on cost and efficiency, the focus should instead be on delivering products that consumers really want.


Comment: Bangladesh industry development moving backwards 14 Apr 2014

David Birnbaum

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 same time, Bangladesh's garment export market share has failed to rise.


PSF 2014: Ten sustainability takeaways 14 Apr 2014

Leonie Barrie

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.


Comment: Sourcing segmentation is at odds with the data 28 Mar 2014

David Birnbaum

The latest word is "segmentation": a trend whereby China is losing its position as a low-cost garment exporter and other countries have stepped up to claim their part of the manufacturing pie. The problem, says David Birnbaum, is that the concept is somewhat at odds with the data.


Nicaragua's footwear industry spells out advantages 28 Mar 2014

just-style guest editorial

Nearly two years after Nicaragua was hailed as a rising star on the world footwear stage, with potential to increase its position in both the US and European markets, the country is continuing to work hard in its efforts to attract and maintain footwear production. Here government promotion agency ProNicaragua spells out some of its competitive advantages.


The Flanarant: Moving forward on backward linkages 18 Mar 2014

Mike Flanagan

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.


Sourcing: More action needed to trace raw materials 3 Mar 2014

Leonie Barrie

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.


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