Among the most-read comment articles on just-style in 2011 were China's continuing dominance of the global garment industry, rising prices, and the impact of Arab unrest.

  • COMMENT: Has China hijacked the global garment industry?
    2010 had but one country winner: China. With its share of the US market surging towards 40%, and FOB prices beginning to rise, David Birnbaum asks why, and how, the country continues to maintain its dominance. The answer, it seems, is that everyone else competes to make the easy stuff, leaving China to mop up the profits elsewhere.
  • COMMENT: Nicaragua growing as an apparel powerhouse
    The Nicaraguan textile and apparel industry is in a buoyant mood after a recovery in US demand last year helped lift the sector's exports by 14% to $1bn. Here government promotion agency ProNicaragua spells out some of the country's competitive advantages.
  • THE FLANARANT: Is a Chinese productivity revolution next?
    It's no secret that wages are rising in China; indeed, a hike of at least 80% by 2015 is official government policy. But so too is increased productivity, with plans to double apparel output over the next five years. So while buyers need to think about their sourcing portfolio as China gets pricier, the country also has plenty of room to maintain its manufacturing strengths.
  • THE FLANARANT: Arab unrest and its impact on the apparel industry
    When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 it triggered events which indirectly led to garment and textile manufacture leaving rich countries. Is the current unrest in the Middle East likely to create anything so transforming? The answer may well be "yes," but not in the same way.
  • THE FLANARANT: Is RFID in apparel finally coming of age?
    With apparel retailers and brands looking for new ways to bring down their buying-in prices, could now be the time for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to finally come into its own? Mike Flanagan certainly thinks so, pointing out that costs are coming down, suppliers are beginning to collaborate, and benefits could include better management in garment factories.
  • COMMENT: Rising garment prices: why, who, how much?
    Rising demand and higher costs both point to an increase in garment FOB prices in 2011. The key question for retailers and brands is whether they need to find new sources of production because prices are rising faster and higher in any one country. China's currency plans are at the heart of the matter.
  • THE FLANARANT: Are apparel factory owners the new Luddites?
    19th century Luddites had no way of knowing that mechanisation would ultimately lead to better productivity. But today's apparel factory owners have no excuse for failing to grasp that productivity improvements can often offset the cost of higher wages.
  • COMMENT: Overcoming the Chinese regulatory minefield
    With 1.3bn consumers, rising wages and increasing spending power, China is undoubtedly an attractive market for European and American fashion brands and retailers. But its complex and rapidly changing safety regulations and industry standards can be a daunting prospect for Western apparel sellers.
  • COMMENT: Choosing the best apparel 3D software
    In the apparel manufacturing industry where the average sample approval timeline is approximately six weeks, having a 3D system to streamline the process makes all the difference. An efficient 3D system not only saves time and money, but helps to produce a better quality product.
  • COMMENT: Manufacturing moves from Line to Lean to Live
    Efforts by the global garment export industry to achieve greater efficiency and higher productivity have limited designers to the lowest level of design, workers to producing the simplest garments, and even customers must make do with what they are given. But it doesn't have to be like this, with new technologies providing a platform were talented designers can show their wares directly to the consumer.