Blog: Leonie BarrieChina coronavirus impact continues to evolve

Leonie Barrie | 10 February 2020

Top stories on just-style last week were again dominated by the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, with a look at what it means for US apparel and retail, how it could impact China's polyester production, and concerns regarding cargo capacity and delays.

The impact of the virus has also led to the cancellation of several textile trade fairs, while Nike and VF Corp have temporarily closed stores in China, and Turkey's apparel trade body expects clothing factories in the country to see a rise in orders.

Elsewhere, the trend towards digitisation and mass customisation means micro-factories close to customers will be a key component in the future of fashion manufacturing – with benefits including speed-to-market, flexibility and a lower carbon footprint.

Indian clothing and textile manufacturers have welcomed a series of policy changes announced in the central government's national budget.

And an ongoing legal case in London could provide the impetus for significant reforms to improve human rights protections for workers in the garment industry. While not related directly to clothing companies, it sounds a warning that brands and retailers should be prepared to demonstrate effective human rights due diligence.

On the sustainability front, Hong Kong-based yarn spinner Novetex Textiles is helping scale up a process to upcycle textile waste into yarns that can be reused to make garments – as chairman Ronna Chao tells just-style.

And US jeans giant Wrangler has launched its sustainable cotton programme in Europe as it looks to advance traceability in the supply chain.

We’ve also released the latest monthly round-up of updates to key free trade agreements and trade preference programmes involving the United States and European Union in January 2020.

While the US has finalised a rule that allows it to impose countervailing duties on products that benefit from countries it has determined undervalue their currencies against the dollar – including key garment producers China and Vietnam.

In other news, Under Armour has promoted chief supply chain officer Colin Browne to COO; Macy's is to close 125 stores; and the C&A Foundation is extending its activities beyond fashion as the Laudes Foundation.

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