Blog: Leonie BarrieGlobal apparel prices on the rise

Leonie Barrie | 23 December 2019

One effect of the US-China trade war on the price of apparel imports into the US. Not only have those from China gone up – the cost of apparel sold to American importers from countries other than China has also risen

The US-China trade war has hit the Chinese clothing and textile export sector severely. But companies that have invested in manufacturing sites outside China have been better protected, Esquel Group vice chairman and CEO John Cheh has told just-style.

The comments come as the US and China reached an agreement on a ‘Phase One’ trade deal. The move suspended new tariffs that had been due to take effect last weekend – and reduces the rates currently imposed on most apparel and textile products.

Uncertainties around Brexit are also causing mounting anxieties for UK brands and retailers, who fear their sourcing costs will go up – especially in the case of a no-deal Brexit – and that it will be more difficult to access raw materials and workers, as well as move products across UK/EU borders. Here we assess current sourcing patterns – and what might change.

Mostafiz Uddin, founder and CEO of the Bangladesh Denim Expo and the managing director of the Denim Expert factory, is a fierce advocate of the Bangladesh apparel industry. He also believes the onus is on factory owners to talk about their successes, improvements and developments if the country is to retain custom and grow garment exports into the future.

The basic garment cost sheet is a breakdown of costs for each material and step. But retailers and brand customers do not care about supplier costs – and the factories have nothing to learn from them, says David Birnbaum. Instead, he suggests data is the tool to make the best decision.

A number of fashion firms and ocean carriers are taking a stand against the potential opening up of trans-Arctic shipping – but just-style has been told these routes are unlikely to ever become economically viable for the textile or apparel industry.

Clothing and footwear brands and retailers have "dramatically" improved transparency in their supply chains, a new report has found, but suggests more can be done – including the introduction of legislation and going beyond tier-1 suppliers.

Over 40% of global viscose supply is now verified as low risk of coming from ancient and endangered forests thanks to Canopy’s Hot Button ranking of global viscose producers.

And fashion retailer H&M Group is partnering with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to ensure ethical recruitment and protection of migrant workers in global supply chains.

Meanwhile, in other news, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has taken another step forward; a project is underway to help boost the sustainability of Sri Lanka’s garment sector; and Li & Fung is using digital consumer testing to help make better product decisions.


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