Blog: Beth WrightHow Myanmar coup is impacting the apparel industry

Beth Wright | 8 February 2021

Last week's military coup in Myanmar puts foreign investment at risk, poses the threat of trade sanctions, and may prompt some clothing companies to sever their sourcing ties with the country.

Tough American government sanctions against the country, and a re-evaluation of Myanmar as a stable sourcing partner are among potential repercussions.

Brands worldwide, however, are being urged to maintain their orders with Myanmar's suppliers, at least in the short term, despite the military toppling state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi from power.

With Myanmar in the spotlight, we've also taken a look at the country's clothing industry and export trends.

Elsewhere, severe and unprecedented bottlenecks in the availability of shipping containers between Asia and the rest of the world are continuing to frustrate apparel retailers in Europe and the US with logistics delays and soaring costs.

The UK fashion industry has written an open letter Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning the sector is at risk of "decimation" due to the restrictions brought in by the post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union (EU).

Skills training provider and manufacturer Fashion-Enter is gearing up for a busy year, with plans to lead a new fashion academy in Leicester, open a similar site in Wales, and explore the potential of a Foundation to help young people with mental health issues – all while continuing to navigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit. Speaking exclusively to just-style, director Jenny Holloway outlines her plans for 2021 and explains why it's so crucial to bridge the fashion skills gap in the UK.

Meanwhile, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has identified multiple areas where it needs to focus more resource and effort following a review of its Better Cotton Standard System (BCSS) by an expert task force.

A new report says the fashion industry has become "dangerously dependent" on cheap synthetic fibres which are heavily reliant on fossil fuels, and is urging the European Union to act to slow fashion consumption.

And H&M has begun a probe into allegations of harassment at one of its supplier factories in India after a female worker was killed on her way home from work and a supervisor arrested in connection with the crime.

In retail, UK online fast-fashion retailer Asos has acquired the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands out of administration from retail giant Arcadia Group in a GBP330m (US$452.2m) deal that includes existing inventory and forward orders. Industry analysts note the opportunity to grow the four brands globally and say Asos will give them the revival they need.

Shares in French Connection Group soared by more than 70% after the fashion retailer confirmed it has received two separate takeover approaches.

And sports retail giant JD Sports has raised GBP464m (US$634m) in its latest share placing to support future acquisition opportunities.

In other news, Quiksilver and Billabong owner Boardriders Inc has named former VF Corp executive Arne Arens as incoming CEO; and Nicole Rycroft, founder and executive director of environmental non-profit Canopy, is to receive a US$3m grant after being named as one of the two recipients of this year's Climate Breakthrough Award.

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