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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 on just-style in 2016. Cutting edge innovations, Africa growth, Brexit, worker safety, key apparel and footwear trends, and minimum wages were just some of the issues that made the headlines.

1: Ethiopia opens flagship textile and apparel park

Ethiopia’s flagship industrial park in Hawassa city, south of the capital Addis Ababa, opened last week, with facilities dedicated solely to the textile and apparel sector.

2: Southeast Asia – a strategic sourcing review

Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar continue to attract huge interest as apparel supply bases – and a new report from just-style aims to make it easier for retailers, brands and importers to evaluate the key advantages and challenges of sourcing and manufacturing in each country.

3: Gap accused of rights violations in supply chain – update?

US speciality fashion giant Gap Inc has told just-style it is collaborating with unions, governments and industry associations to improve working conditions in the factories that make its clothes after a study found violations at suppliers in India, Indonesia and Cambodia.

4: Will Brexit trigger rise in UK manufacturing?

Brexit and its likely implications for UK manufacturing were a key talking point at this year’s Fashion SVP event, held just days after the UK voted to withdraw from the European Union (EU).

5: First robot-sewn T-shirt a “manufacturing milestone”

In what is being claimed as a major breakthrough in clothing manufacturing, a Seattle-based start-up has used an industrial robot to sew together an entire T-shirt for the first time.

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6: Update – Bangladesh factory fire renews fears for worker safety

Labour rights groups say they are “disturbed” after a fire that broke out at a Bangladesh garment factory supplying fashion retailers H&M and JC Penney that was “on track” with remedial action following an inspection by the US-based Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

7: M&S publishes human rights report and supply chain map

Marks & Spencer has published its first supply chain map for clothing and its first human rights report as part of the retailer’s ethical commitments detailed in its first Plan A update under new CEO Steve Rowe.

8: Ten key trends in apparel and footwear markets

The global apparel and footwear industry grew by 5% in value last year, according to new research, with the internet, sportswear and fast fashion players contributing to the gains.

9: Gap reveals list of factory names and locations

US apparel giant Gap Inc has published the names and locations of the factories which manufacture garments for its namesake, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta brands.

10: PVH prepares for Ethiopia production

US clothing giant PVH Corp, owner of the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands, will begin manufacturing its clothing products in Ethiopia this summer, just-style has learnt.

11: Syrian refugee children found in Turkish clothing factories

Fashion retailers Next Plc and H&M have admitted to finding Syrian refugee children working in their supplier factories in Turkey, prompting calls for other brands to take a closer look at their supply chains to take action to ensure minors are not being exploited.

12: Primark continues US expansion with third store

British value fashion retailer Primark has opened its third US store in the north east of the country as the fashion retail giant looks to build its presence stateside. 

13: G20 clean-up to disrupt China textile supply chain

China’s clothing manufacturing sector is bracing itself for interruptions in fibre, dyed fabric and finishing supplies as regulators temporarily close textile mills to reduce pollution during the upcoming G20 Summit.

14: Ethiopia unrest triggers US travel warning

The United States has joined governments in the UK, Australia, Canada to advise against all non-essential travel to Ethiopia due to ongoing unrest the country.

15: H&M and Primark price rivalry reaches equilibrium

Price competition between fast fashion retailers Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) and Primark has now reached an equilibrium in the UK, according to an analyst evaluation, with Primark’s prices now consistently around 60% lower than that of its rival. 

16: Bagir exports first trousers for H&M from Ethiopia – Update

Israel-based tailored clothing manufacturer Bagir Group has shipped the first trouser exports from its new manufacturing site in Ethiopia, completing a test order for fast fashion giant H&M.

17: Revealed – The 10 steps to perfect sourcing negotiation

Price negotiation is a critical, and often stressful, aspect of sourcing. It is also integral to the health of any brand’s bottom line, so getting this right is crucial, according to a new market research report from just-style.

18: Marks & Spencer top for modern slavery reporting

Retailer Marks & Spencer has been named as the highest performing FTSE 100 company for monitoring and reporting on modern slavery in its supply chain, with luxury brand Burberry scoring third, in a report that also highlights a deficit in action by many UK-listed firms.

19: Vietnam minimum wage to rise 7.3% in 2017

Vietnam labour groups and businesses have agreed on a 7.3% increase in the national minimum wage – just a week after proposing a freeze on salaries for the country’s garment workers. But the rise is the smallest rise since a minimum wage system was first introduced in 1997.

20: Nike uses recycled polyester for all Flyknit shoes

US sporting giant NIKE says it has completed the transition of all core yarn for its Flyknit shoes to recycled polyester as it revealed a number of sustainable performance milestones achieved since the performance-engineered footwear was launched four years ago.

Click on the links below to read more of just-style’s Top 20 lists…

Top 20 analysis articles on just-style in 2016…

Top 20 comment pieces on just-style in 2016…

Top interviews on just-style in 2016…

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