Blog: Leonie BarrieLong-term look at Vietnam sourcing post-TPP

Leonie Barrie | 18 July 2016

Now that both the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and official trade statistics for 2015 have been released, we take another look at the likely impact of TPP's tariff phase-out schedule on US textile and apparel imports from Vietnam.

The results can help guide retailers, fashion brands and importers on their sourcing decisions and investment strategies in the years ahead.

A new research report by just-style also takes a look at how El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras measure up as sourcing destinations – and considers whether they will remain competitive against Vietnam for access to the US once the TPP takes effect.

Environmental action group Greenpeace hit out at outdoor brands last week, with claims the concentrations of volatile PFCs in Mammut, The North Face, Norrona and Haglöfs stores are up to 1,000 times higher than in the outside air.

But it also praised German brand Valude for joining its global Detox Outdoor campaign. The company has not only pledged to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by 2020 – but says all of its apparel will be PFC-free by 2018.

And after being commended by Greenpeace for its "exemplary" approach to transparency, Inditex, owner of the Zara fashion brand,has published a list of its global direct and indirect wet processing suppliers.

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety says it will stay the course in the south Asian country despite two recent terrorist attacks – and that apparel brands and retailers remain committed to sourcing garments there.

Separately, however, inspection results show progress in improving the structural safety of apparel supply chains in Bangladesh remains slow, with more than half of structural audits in the second quarter requiring action.

For the uninitiated, 3D design and prototyping software is hailed as a disruptive technology with the potential to boost efficiency and product development workflow, speed decision-making, fuel creativity, and save time and cost. For US retail giant Walmart, it has been fraught with unexpected challenges.

While the fashion industry still grapples to find the best ways to leverage the business benefits of 3D design and virtual prototyping tools, some of the tips for building buy-in include inspiring trust in the technology, and identifying quick and obvious wins.

And as well as offering new opportunities for apparel design and prototyping, 3D tools also have the potential to change the way retailers and brands interact with their customers.

Faced with demand for constant newness and reasonable quality at the lowest possible price, apparel manufacturers could learn from the lean production techniques that have proved effective in the automotive industry, a new white paper says.

Meanwhile, in other news, Sears Holdings is shuttering its Manhattan apparel and design office; Target hopes to generate more than US$1bn in first-year sales from a new children's line; Teijin has developed two new nylon-based fibres for athleisure; and Adidas has created its first T-shirt using reclaimed ocean waste.

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