Top stories on just-style in April include interviews with Carol Shu, senior manager of global sustainability at The North Face, and Edwin Keh, CEO of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA), in addition to a look at trade trends in the world's three largest apparel exporters – China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. Elsewhere, we explore why sustainability must drive the fashion industry's Covid reset, the impact of the Ever Given blockage of the Suez Canal, and what's next for the Bangladesh Accord and garment worker safety.

1. Sourcing's new order – Covid's impact on world's top three apparel exporters
While many studies have explored how the Covid-19 pandemic is shifting the sourcing strategies of Western fashion brands and retailers, its impact on apparel exporting countries is mostly unknown – until now. Here, Victoria Langro and Sheng Lu from the University of Delaware take a detailed look at trade trends in the world's three largest apparel exporters – China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.

2. Why sustainability must drive fashion's Covid reset
The Covid-19 pandemic has presented the apparel industry with an opportunity to pause, reflect and rethink its future. Winners in this new post-Covid world will be those that reset with sustainability in mind – shifting to more circular business models that move away from the traditional 'take-make-waste' system and allow for more transparency along the supply chain with greater cohesion between brands and suppliers.

3. Fast-tracking apparel technology uptake post-pandemic
In the year since the Covid-19 pandemic began its spread across the world, the textile and apparel industry has undergone some monumental transformations that would previously have taken decades. One of which is the innovation and adoption of technology.

4. US apparel imports continued to recover in February
In February 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic triggered the closure of textile and clothing factories in China as the country looked to curb the spread of the outbreak. This had a knock-on effect at apparel suppliers around the world, with material delays and shortages disrupting production. One year on, an increase in total apparel shipment volumes to the US comes as no surprise, with China and Pakistan booking the largest increases.

5. Suez Canal crisis will lead to lingering logistics disruption
The European garment sector is increasingly concerned about how the six-day stranding of the 400-metre-long Ever Given cargo ship in the Suez Canal will affect its supply chain. It has also been assessing the lessons for future contingency plans regarding such cargo transport pinch-points.

6. Boohoo misses a trick with focus on one model factory
Plans by UK-based online fast-fashion retailer Boohoo to open a model factory in the city of Leicester will do little to drive change in garment supply chains. A better solution would be for UK brands and retailers to join forces in a 'super factory' that would take manufacturing cost and living wages out of competition, say Doug Miller and Nikolaus Hammer.

7. How e-commerce can benefit from outsourcing fulfilment
Over the last 12 months e-commerce has skyrocketed. This trend is not going to go away any time soon. But unfortunately, many fashion brands and retailers are missing out because they do not have a fully integrated, value-added outsourced fulfilment service in place.

8. What next for the Bangladesh Accord and garment worker safety? 
In the aftermath of the Bangladesh Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013, two initiatives were set up to oversee the country's clothing factories for fire, electrical and structural issues – the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The Accord's tenure comes to an end next month, and there are serious concerns for garment workers if another agreement is not signed soon.

9. From Field to Shelf – A boat got stuck and other calamities 
A boat blocked the Suez Canal. Global trade ground to a halt. Accidents will happen; that's nothing new. But the Suez Canal disruption had a ripple effect throughout global supply chains. And perhaps that's the point, says industry consultant Robert Antoshak: What to do when the unpredictable disrupts supply chains built on just-in-time predictability?

10. Boohoo mulls linking bonuses to sustainability progress 
UK online fast fashion retailer Boohoo Group says its board is looking into whether it can link senior executive remuneration incentives to Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) improvements.

11. Myanmar workers up pressure on brands to offer more support 
Myanmar's garment workers are calling on global fashion brands to condemn the country's military coup, provide meaningful support for their protests and to not order from factories that support the regime.

12. Fashion must recognise links between human rights and respect for nature 
The global fashion industry must recognise the inextricable links between human rights and respect for nature if it is to effectively contribute to the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed a panel of industry experts at Fashion Revolution's annual Question Time event.

13. The North Face sees regenerative cotton as biggest opportunity 
The North Face is waking up to the practice of regenerative farming in its cotton supply chain. As Carol Shu, senior manager of global sustainability, explains, it not only has a positive impact on nature and resources, but is another critical step in addressing climate change impacts.

14. Global shipping container shortage – the story so far 
The global shortage of shipping containers, primarily caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, has led to drastic inflation in shipping and container prices and increased delay times for companies. We ask why shipping is facing this container shortage and investigate the global impact. 

15. Opinion: We must care more about forced labour in China and beyond 
The world has responded slowly to China's human rights abuses in Xinjiang, but at least they are receiving attention, unlike similar issues in less high-profile countries.

16. US, UK, EU – Comparing the new 2030 climate targets 
The world has seen a flurry of new emissions reduction targets for the next decade this month, thanks to the climate leaders summit organised by US President Joe Biden. The most head-spinning was the UK's announcement of a 78% cut to carbon emissions by 2035, compared with 1990 levels.

17. Being less bad is no longer good enough for HKRITA CEO 
With light finally starting to appear at the end of the pandemic tunnel, Edwin Keh, CEO of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA), is in a philosophical mood. The industry must move away from doing less bad things and refocus on doing more good things, he tells just-style, with solutions lying further upstream and downstream than ever before.

18. Asos fashion crown remains firmly in place - What the analysts say 
UK online fast fashion retailer Asos has continued to reap the benefits of the pandemic lockdown, as consumers choose to shop online. The company saw its customer base soar by 1.5m in the first six months of the year, with sales growth recorded at home and across all its international channels. Analysts offer their thoughts on the retailer's first-half performance.

19. Pandemic and shifts in sourcing threaten Bangladesh's position
Rapid growth, modernisation and improved working conditions have all helped to make Bangladesh one of the world's largest garment exporters. Yet the industry will need to innovate, upgrade and diversify if it is to overcome the challenges brought on by the pandemic and shifts in global markets, a new report has found.

20. Primark hails record sales as stores in England and Wales reopen
Primark parent company Associated British Foods (ABF) has announced it will repay the GBP121m (US$168.91m) for which it was eligible under government job retention schemes and says stores in England and Wales have delivered record sales in the first week after reopening.