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May 16, 2022

The week in review: High inflation, low carbon?  

The Ukraine-Russia war continues to affect the apparel industry due to high inflation levels and rising costs, meanwhile more apparel brands than ever focus on improving their green credentials.

By Fi Forrest

Finland and Sweden are now declaring their wish to join NATO due to fears of continued aggression by Russia, in a situation that many fear will get worse before it gets better. This challenging situation which sits alongside reports that Covid infections are rising again, notably in North Korea, means one cannot help but feel the planet and its population deserve better.  

In the US, rising costs, high inflation and supply chain issues, exacerbated by both Covid lockdowns in China and the war in Europe, have seen US retail container ports set new records this spring, as retailers and shoppers rush to stock up, ahead of looming price increases.  

The Biden Harris administration is addressing trade with debates raging over whether to reverse some of the tariffs first set in place by the Trump administration that favoured US home-grown products.  

Meanwhile, the most recent Office of Textiles and Apparel data shows Myanmar continues to lose its attractiveness as an apparel sourcing destination due to US sanctions, instigated after its military coup last February. Sri Lanka on the other hand, is trying to keep its successful apparel sector on-track amidst extreme inflation levels and power cuts.

In the UK, hopes of a post-pandemic surge on the high street have been muted. Expectations of shoppers rushing back to stores and spending ahead of the European summer were crushed as increases in the cost of living soared due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict. However, clothing did make a modest increase, recording 4.2% year-on-year growth in April.  

It wasn’t all bad news for the apparel sector this week. The wellness and fitness market is booming, and more brands than ever are looking to increase their sustainability credentials.  

Closed loop waste textile recovery operations are slowly making inroads into one of the planet’s biggest waste issues, and with Asia one of the largest cotton waste producing regions, new solutions here are especially welcome.   

Other solutions include vegan leather alternatives, more accurate tracing of country of origin for cotton products, and big brands like Spain’s Inditex making commitments to use more fibre made from waste.  

In an exclusive interview with Just Style, Higg’s director of analytics, Cashion East, said we can’t wait until governments and policymakers agree on the best path forward – we must use the tools that exist today. He said: “The planet doesn’t have time to wait for perfection.”  

US ports set new record for imports   

Imports at US major retail container ports set a new record this spring and are expected to see near-record volume this month as retailers bring in merchandise ahead of high inflation, costs, and further supply chain issues.   

Myanmar loses appeal for US apparel imports in March   

The March 2022 figures from the Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) suggest Myanmar is becoming less attractive as an apparel sourcing destination, explains Dr Sheng Lu.   

April online sales suggest UK digital retail boom is over    

Online retail sales fell by 12% year-on-year in April while high inflation continued and consumers prioritised wallet spend on apparel, with clothing sales up 4.2% against a tough comparative.   

Recover closes the loop with new Bangaladesh facility   

Recycled cotton fibre producer Recover has unveiled its new facility in Bangladesh which it says enables it to provide a fully closed loop solution.   

Top stories on Just Style this week…    

Nanollose, von Holzhausen team on vegan leather    

Overpopulation versus falling birth rates for the apparel industry  

Mango merges physical, digital and virtual with latest metaverse move  

How long can Sri Lanka apparel sector protect itself from national crisis?  

Bangladesh apparel stakeholders outline green commitments  

Inditex inks EUR100m three-year Infinna supply deal with Infinited Fiber Company   

INTERVIEW: Higg director says climate change won’t wait for perfect eco measuring tool   

How textile brands are responding to shifting consumer priorities   

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