Blog: Hannah AbdullaGarments on Hangers – Strategies for a digital world

Hannah Abdulla | 29 June 2020

"To hang or to box" is a question that has long been debated within the fashion retail supply chain. With companies now emerging from the coronavirus pandemic looking to reconfigure their supply chains to withstand future disruptions, the way garments are moved from factory to consumer is a critical consideration as the industry pivots to a digital future

Qiu Yafu, chairman of Shandong Ruyi Technology Group explains how the Chinese textile and clothing conglomerate is weathering the storm thrown up by the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US-China trade war and the high cost of an acquisition spree over the last four years that has added international luxury brands and The Lycra Company to its portfolio.  

Morocco's clothing manufacturing sector has pivoted to making personal protective equipment to cope with the flood of cancelled orders that marked the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic – and in doing so is developing textile backward linkages that could strengthen the industry for the future.

And Tunisia's garment industry is exploring a post-Covid near-shoring strategy as part of a recovery plan to rethink the country's positioning as a sourcing centre.

Vietnam's clothing industry trade bodies have partnered on an initiative aimed at addressing the impact of Covid-19 on workers and businesses.

And a series of six action-oriented guides has been developed to help garment factories in Asia navigate the Covid-19 pandemic and to build business resilience.

Meanwhile, momentum is gathering on calls for "an emergency, temporary federal commercial trade credit insurance backstop," with 22 trade organisations now urging the US government to take action ahead of the upcoming holiday season.

Department store retailer Macy's Inc is axing a further 3,900 corporate and management jobs as it tries to bring costs in line with falling sales.

On the sourcing front, European garment brands including H&M are weighing up what their future sourcing strategies in Cambodia will look like as the country looks set to be partially stripped of its Everything but Arms (EBA) trade benefit in August.

As countries and apparel brands begin to gradually find their feet after the pandemic, more sustainability goals are being realised. Innovation and transparency are key to the future of denim, according to the owner of the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands.

It it is better to have one truly sustainable product over several with singular sustainable attributes, a denim design consultant has argued, calling upon brands to place more effort in designing products that are close-to if not completely sustainably made.

The organic cotton industry needs significant investment in infrastructure and seed, and the creation of a neutral body to ensure the distribution of more credible data, according to industry experts.

The denim industry must move toward realising the long term impact of smaller changes that have sustainable intentions over ones that are "sexy" in the moment, in order to effect real change, another group of experts has suggested.

Work has begun work on a Responsible Alpaca Standard that will verify and identify alpaca fibre produced in farming systems that respect animal welfare and the environment.

Meanwhile, Myanmar has become the latest country to confirm its commitment to addressing child labour after signing up to a key international convention on minimum working age.

And US President Donald Trump has signed legislation calling for sanctions over the repression of China's Uyghurs, a move met with retaliatory threats from Beijing.

Also in China, UK fashion retailer Superdry has revealed plans to take back full control of its China business, ending its four-year joint venture with local partner Trendy International.

Elsewhere, H&M Group is to accelerate the integration of its physical store and online channels after seeing second-quarter sales of its trend-led fashions halved and profit wiped out by Covid-19 lockdowns and store closures.

While JD Sports Fashion Plc has re-acquired the Go Outdoors business in a GBP56.5m (US$70.7m) pre-pack deal after placing the specialist camping division into administration.

And shares in Gap Inc jumped 13% after the US speciality apparel retailer revealed it has inked a deal with Kanye West to design a new line of adult and kids' clothing. The new Yeezy Gap range will launch next year, and will introduce both the Gap and Yeezy brands to new audiences.

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