Blog: Beth WrightChina clothing factories struggling to get back on track

Beth Wright | 24 February 2020

China's clothing and textile makers are struggling to get back on track amid the continuing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic – telling just-style that quarantined workers, travel restrictions and material delays are disrupting production and causing ongoing uncertainty.

The outbreak is also raising concerns about potential US supply chain vulnerabilities in a range of sectors, including strategic raw materials, a new report warns – and also casts a question mark over the Phase One trade deal between the two countries.

Elsewhere, the organisation representing garment manufacturers in Cambodia (GMAC) has urged the European Commission to reconsider its decision to partially suspend the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade benefit under which it exports goods duty-free to the EU.

The country's footwear industry has expressed "disappointment" over the EU's decision, describing the decision as a "dramatic setback" for the sector.

And the fire at a denim manufacturing facility in Gujarat earlier this month that resulted in seven deaths has led to calls for concerted preventive safety measures throughout India's garment industry.

Set up to test and scale the game-changing concepts that will help drive the fashion industry towards a more sustainable and circular future, H&M Group's The Laboratory innovation hub also aims to challenge the way of thinking within the company – as Laura Coppen, circular and sustainable business developer, explains.

Staying with sustainability, textile reuse and recycling will be a priority under a new plan from the EU, which aims to halve waste by 2030.

Apparel giant VF Corp is offering EUR500m (US$540m) in unsecured notes to investors, with plans to use the proceeds to fund a number of sustainability projects.

Denim conference Kingpins Transformers has transitioned into Transformers Foundation, a non-profit entity focused on actively addressing and facilitating change in key areas of the denim supply chain.

And a global fur strategy has launched aimed at offering the industry and wider supply chain "clearer direction" when it comes to animal welfare and environmental protection and will include the roll-out of a global welfare certification and traceability scheme.

The integration of blockchain technology has an important role in helping fashion brands reshape supply chain sustainability and enhance transparency across their businesses, says Dr Florian Heubrandner, vice president, global business management textiles at Lenzing.

Meanwhile, the UK Home Office has launched a new points-based immigration system aimed at ending the reliance on cheap, low-skilled labour coming into the country - a move that could limit the growth of the fashion sector, an industry trade body has warned. 

L Brands has sold a majority stake in its Victoria's Secret business to private equity firm Sycamore Partners, in a deal worth $525m.

And Forever 21 is to be acquired by Authentic Brands Group (ABG), Simon Property Group, and Brookfield Property Partners, with the trio forging a strategic partnership to purchase the US teen fashion retailer.


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