Blog: Leonie BarrieHong Kong sustainability scoop

Leonie Barrie | 13 August 2018

We led on just-style last week with a world exclusive scoop on a number of new projects being unveiled in Hong Kong next month – including the first mill being set up in the territory in more than half a century to produce recycled yarn from post-consumer apparel.

All of these projects are due to open in September and will be centre stage at the upcoming 'Fashion Summit (HK) 2018,' a two-day conference being billed as the largest event on sustainable fashion and related industry issues in Asia.

The summit comes against a backdrop of ongoing tensions between the US and China – yet there is little sign the escalating trade spat is impacting China’s apparel imports into the US. Indeed, these jumped nearly 16% month-on-month in June.

Separate figures suggest retailers are rushing to bring merchandise into the country ahead of proposed new tariffs on products from China, with imports at major US retail container ports likely to set three new monthly records this summer.

Meanwhile China has threatened to impose new tariffs of up to 25% on around $60bn of US imports – bringing clothing items into the trade war for the first time.

Describing the worsening tariff situation like a bad Cold War thriller, Robert Antoshak, managing director at Olah Inc, looks at the possible next chapters and their implications on apparel sourcing.

The ramifications are also spreading wider. Less than a month after it doubled import duties on over 70 textile and apparel products, India's government has unveiled new plans to add another 328 items to the list – amid concerns that deteriorating trade relations between the US and China could aggravate the dumping of cheaper products on the Indian market.

And Kenya's government has unveiled a raft of export development and promotion initiatives that it hopes will almost double the country's apparel shipments to the United States over the next five years.

Ahead of the launch its new Volt Wearable Technology division, Matt Kolmes, CEO at Supreme Corporation, talks to just-style about how the company's Volt Smart Yarns has been gaining momentum in the smart fabrics industry – and some of the challenges still facing the sector in reaching its full potential.

Meanwhile in other news, Indian B2B e-commerce company ShopX has secured a US$35m investment from Fung Strategic Holdings; the Higg Materials Sustainability Index now lets suppliers share sustainability performance information; and UK department store retailer House of Fraser has been bought by the Sports Direct group in a GBP90m (US$115m) deal announced just hours after the chain went into administration.

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