Apparel industry hot issues
just-style's highly-regarded staff of columnists have been selected to deliver the very best in apparel and textile industry opinion across a broad spectrum of disciplines from emerging markets and the environment to forecasts and finance.
Two years ago today (24 April), one of the world’s worst industrial disasters took place when the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1,134 garment workers and injuring 2,378 more. The tragedy was undoubtedly a catalyst for change in the way the apparel industry looks at its responsibility towards the entire supply chain, but new concerns and frustrations are now coming to the fore.
A bipartisan package of bills could pave the way for "fast track" negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But there are still a lot of barriers before a TPP agreement emerges – and it more than likely won’t be the deal US apparel importers have been hoping for
Sporting goods giant Adidas is evolving its factory monitoring system away from auditing to track supply chain compliance and is instead working to develop self-governance programmes for its suppliers. Part of the process has been to improve communication with workers at its supplier factories - including the launch of an SMS hotline, which will reach 250,000 workers by the end of the year.
Strikes and protests are rare in Vietnam, but recent demonstrations by thousands of footwear factory workers underscore some of the challenges facing one of the industry’s main manufacturing hubs.
In this annual management briefing, just-style canvasses the views of software experts on the challenges facing the global apparel supply chain in 2015 and the ways technology can help tackle some of these issues. We also ask where firms should be focusing their investments now if they want to remain competitive into the future.
Adidas Group has said speed to market will be a key competitive advantage for the German sporting goods giant over the next five years, as it looks to accelerate profit and sales growth. With this, the company is piloting automated production units closer to its core consumers to reduce lead times.
Pakistan's ambition to double its clothing and textile exports over five years, and its accession to the EU's GSP+ trade scheme last year, suggest it should be an exciting prospect for apparel sourcing. However, in the last year two companies have pulled production out of the country, citing risk, delays and instability. This might not yet point to a wider trend, but their concerns highlight issues worth watching.
Smart fabrics and wearable technology go hand in hand. And with strong growth forecast over the coming years, it's no wonder fashion and software companies are developing new products to tap into the market. Katie Smith reports.
Sourcing cotton more sustainably is increasingly moving up the agenda of global apparel brands and retailers as the environmental and social impacts become ever clearer. However, while many are already working to address these issues, it seems there is much more still to be done.
There’s no ‘quick fix’ to solving problems with size and fit - but getting it right can save time, money and build customer loyalty, according to executives at a recent conference on the issue.
Labour rights abuses are still rife in Cambodia’s garment factories, thanks to an inadequate and corrupt inspection system and widespread subcontracting by suppliers, a new report says.
The recent move by the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) to establish a voluntary Code of Conduct for its members is seen as a sign of its commitment to becoming a responsible sourcing destination. The next question is what more needs to be done in order for the Code to be implemented and become effective?
Gap CEO Art Peck has only been in the job for a matter of weeks, but his early “to do” list is already assuming somewhat alarming proportions.
International fashion brands and retailers are being urged to help build a more resilient cotton supply chain in China if they want to secure supplies of the raw material for the future. But can they really make a difference, and why should they care?
New eco-friendly fibre and fabric concepts that not only offer more sustainable choices for sportswear and outdoor apparel, but in many cases give improved functionality too, were on show at this month’s ISPO Münich trade fair. The natural performance of wool, plant-based laminates, ultra lightweight insulation and advanced temperature regulation were among the highlights.
An increasing amount of hype in recent years has focused on the business of reshoring, including two separate reports in the last week alone. Yet, while industry observers are keen to highlight the opportunities offered by a return of apparel manufacturing to the UK, it seems reshoring is far from a done deal.
As the threat of a US West Coast port shutdown looms, analysts already estimate the ongoing disruption could add an eye-watering US$36.9bn to costs over the next 24 months. As the congestion continues to cause headwinds for apparel businesses, retailers are being told they must investigate new supply chain options, including more near- and on-shoring.
There is growing pressure from activists and governments to make Western laws apply to alleged non-compliance in developing country garment factories. But the most likely outcome is that countries will be blacklisted with no effort to improve standards.
US apparel retailers got off to a good start in January, with the majority posting comparable store sales gains, helped by post holiday clearance sales and stronger comparisons with last year, when severe weather hampered results.
Despite continued disruption at US West Coast ports, apparel imports into the country bounced back in December, with Bangladesh seeing its first rise since January last year. Four of the top-ten supplier countries saw strong double-digit growth, including Bangladesh, with China and Vietnam remaining top of the table.
Transparency among apparel brands and retailers appears to be mixed when it comes to sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan. New research has revealed that while a number of companies have made improvements to address the issue of forced labour within the sector, many are reluctant to disclose the policies they are implementing or detail information about their suppliers.
As new outdoor performance apparel brands enter the market in record numbers, retailers are introducing new innovations and technologies to stand out from the crowd and win over consumers.
Ten days into her new role as American Apparel CEO, industry veteran Paula Schneider sounded a confident note as she told investors and analysts this week that she is ready to build on the solid foundations of the business.
Myanmar's garment sector is in the midst of significant growth and exciting changes - and a brand new and exclusive report produced by the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) offers essential reading for retailers, brands and importers looking to source from the country.
For our annual briefing on apparel industry issues to watch in the year ahead, just-style has again asked leading executives for their feedback on the challenges and opportunities likely to emerge in 2015. Expect a continuing focus on compliance and factory safety, ongoing challenges in omni-channel and the need for new supply chain solutions - and much more besides.
With most holiday merchandise brought into the US early as retailers rushed to beat a possible shutdown of West Coast ports, it is perhaps not surprising that apparel imports fell in November. But with shipments plunging from eight of the top-ten suppliers, Vietnam alone was the stand-out performer during the month.
Deep discounts, lower fuel prices and an improved employment market all helped to drive better-than-expected comparable store sales gains for apparel retailers in the crucial month of December.
Two industry groups have welcomed federal mediation intervention to try to help resolve the ongoing labour dispute at 29 West Coast ports ahead of the import peak for spring season clothing and shoes.
Instead of our regular roundup of the most-read stories on just-style during the week, we thought a fitting end to the year would be to take a look at the top news stories, analysis pieces, comment articles and interviews on just-style in 2014.
The Bangladesh ready-made garment industry has set out an ambitious goal to double its exports to $50bn over the next seven years as it works to rebuild its reputation in the wake of recent tragedies.
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