Last week just-style attended the fourth edition of The Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong for a meeting of minds from the apparel industry. Key themes included the financial crisis, sourcing, social compliance, product safety and sustainability, and here is a collection of comments from the event.

"The apparel industry is facing up to probably the worst financial crisis since the great depression" - Derek Binns, director of DBL Consulting.

"The key to transparency is social compliance. Our biggest equity is our brand and the worst thing that could ever happen to us is a 12-year-old girl sewing stitching on our product. We take social compliance and corporate social resposibility very seriously" - Jeff Streader, SVP, global sourcing for Guess.

"It's not a surge it's just a shift away from those who couldn't make compliance. Planet low cost is not the answer anymore" - Walter Archie, VP, global sourcing for US sportswear retailer Dick's Sporting Goods.

"There is still room for improvement and these times are the times to change the rules" - Thomas Ruthekolck, MD, Corporate Service Group.

"Our traditional model is very inefficient, and the market we're in at the moment is a bit like driving a Formula One racing car into the fog - kind of dangerous" - Industry Forum Consultants and Services' MD Ken Watson.

"The supply chain has to work together in partnership to tackle this issue of unpredictability" - Pat-nie Woo, director of Central Textiles.

"Stay informed and stay involved, I was talking to somebody at the USA-ITA who described the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) in two words - "constantly changing" - and the requirements, definitions and regulations are constantly changing. What was true yesterday may not be true tomorrow and you have to be paying attention to this on a daily basis.

"You really have to know what's in your product, companies with a really good chemical management system understand exactly what's in their product, what materials are going into it and the chemicals they're working with are in a much better position to understand whether these new regulations may impact them" - Steve Lamar, executive VP, American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA).

"For apparel industries it's about process safety, and knowing what processes are done to transform a natural fibre into a retail or industrial product" - Ben Lyons, CSR manager, Ausrtalian Wool Innovation.

"Fragmentation in my mind in the current climate is a good thing. There is a belief that the more you consolidate the better you become, but there is an element to be stressed that the retail and fashion sector needs to be entrepreneurial" - Devangshu Dutta, chief executive Third Eyesight.

By Joe Ayling, news editor.