Blog: Leonie BarrieThe last few years have seen significant changes

Leonie Barrie | 3 March 2014

The last few years have brought significant changes to the apparel sourcing landscape in Asia. The era of Chinese low-cost apparel manufacturing is a trend from the past, and several countries have stepped up to claim their part of the manufacturing pie. Apparel industry analysts say that although China's dominance continues, a clear segmentation is now taking place in Asia.

In Africa, British retailer Tesco is making efforts to raise working conditions and ethical standards in Ethiopia's textile industry before it begins sourcing garments there. The country is also hoping to become a hub for Chinese textile investment.

But a survey has found garment workers in Bangladesh not only lack basic knowledge on fire and building safety but also feel drills and training take too much time and increase pressure on them to reach production targets. The research by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety came as it revealed Jeff Krilla is to step down as president and CEO as the group shifts its focus to Dhaka.

Denim giant Levi Strauss has developed a technology that uses 100% recycled water in the finishing process - and has so far produced 100,000 pairs of women's jeans using the new system, which it also plans to roll out at its supplier factories worldwide.

US speciality clothing retailer Gap Inc has said one of its strategic priorities in the year ahead will be to continue building a responsive supply chain in order to boost flexibility and speed.

Meanwhile, ailing US department store retailer JC Penney has set out its strategy for the final phase of its turnaround, which will include the discontinuation of some underperforming brands. The plans were revealed as the company posted its first quarterly profit since July 2011.

The names to watch in the future include Belle, Tata, Metersbonwe and Anta, new research suggests. They're among the top ten Chinese apparel brands, which are together worth US$3.87bn, according to a new report.

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