Blog: Leonie BarrieFashion firms struggle on speed to market

Leonie Barrie | 6 November 2018

Fashion firms are continuing to wrestle with the challenges of taking decisions quickly and meeting deadlines – and admit they are struggling to speed their go-to-market processes to keep up with fast-moving consumer buying behaviour.

Buyer pressure to reduce costs is also weighing on garment suppliers, with hard-hitting negotiation strategies blamed for raising the risk of disruption, and environmental and human catastrophe. The tactics are revealed in the latest survey on the purchasing practices of apparel brands and retailers.

The potential for more tariffs on imports from China remains a cloud on the horizon for the largest US apparel and footwear companies – but accelerating earnings growth is giving rise to a more positive outlook for the sector's near-term future.

For the past 20 years, imports have accounted for up to 98% of all garments sold in the US. But contrary to assumptions, labour rates – high or low – have nothing to do with the trend, according to the first article in a three-part series looking at the failure of the US garment industry.

Developing informed sourcing decisions can be a laborious and time-consuming process. Here we show how re:source by just-style can be used to quickly analyse five of the biggest low cost exporter countries as a starting point to setting a future sourcing strategy – and why it's easier than you think.

Apparel majors and industry bodies are calling on the Cambodian government to start protecting fundamental human rights or risk its future business with global brands.

Likewise, the potential impact that losing preferential trade access to the European Union (EU) would have on the clothing industries in Cambodia and Myanmar has been the subject of several warnings. Weaker economic growth, higher prices and job losses could be among the consequences.

Guatemala's turbulent political climate is eroding domestic business confidence, although the impact on textile exports – which depend heavily on the United States market – remains to be seen.

While a new project is underway to improve water management and energy sustainability at textile and apparel facilities on Vietnam's Mekong and Dong Nai deltas, where more than half of the country’s apparel factories are based.

Uniqlo-owner Fast Retailing has says that by 2020, all the jeans made and sold by the group will be produced with a washing process that cuts water use by 99%.

And Burberry, H&M and Inditex are among more than 250 organisations that have signed a new global commitment to eradicate plastic packaging waste and pollution.

Meanwhile, in other news, Global Brands Group has named Rick Darling to succeed Bruce Rockowitz as CEO; Destination Maternity is restructuring its corporate product and sourcing teams; and an Italian textile chemical company is scaling-up production of dye powders made from textile waste.

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