Blog: Hannah AbdullaHow TAL Apparel is raising the bar on face masks

Hannah Abdulla | 30 November 2020

Having built its reputation as an 'Innofacturer' of added value clothing, it was a logical next step for Hong Kong-based garment giant TAL Apparel to apply this same approach to reinventing the face mask – as CEO Roger Lee tells just-style.

Just under two-thirds of participants to a recent survey said their supply chain strategy will need to change significantly in order to adapt to the "new normal" following the Covid-19 pandemic – with a focus on flexiblility and agilility so they can react and adapt quickly to potential disruption.

For Hong Kong, developments such as globally distributed production and the rise of e-commerce are important as its role evolves into a leading sourcing and digital supply-chain services hub.

Plans by the US to place new tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions on imports from Vietnam could be imposed as early as January 2021.

While Jordanian garment manufacturers are hoping a newly formed government will help the country's clothing sector rebound from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A no-deal Brexit would have a detrimental impact on Europe's textile and clothing sector, with job losses of over 100,000 across the bloc.

And the UK government has said it is launching an investigation into claims it sourced PPE from a factory in China using North Korean slave labour.

Boohoo has appointed retired judge Sir Brian Leveson to provide independent oversight of the UK online fashion retailer's Agenda for Change programme as the company looks to drive improvement in its supply chain and business practices.

In the US, speciality apparel retailer Gap Inc has appointed a new head for its Banana Republic brand and created a new chief growth officer role to help execute its strategic agenda.

And L Brands has outlined a leadership shakeup at its Victoria's Secret business, including the promotion of Martin Waters to CEO of Victoria's Secret Lingerie.

While J.Crew has appointed Libby Wadle, the head of its Madewell brand, to the role of group chief executive officer.

Struggling Arcadia retail group – owner of the Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Burton and Dorothy Perkins brands – is reported to be on the brink of collapse, putting around 13,000 jobs at risk.

And Adidas has refused to be drawn into speculation it has appointed investment firm JP Morgan to weigh a sale of Reebok.

Meanwhile, department store group Debenhams is reportedly in exclusive talks with JD Sports Fashion, Britain's largest sportswear retailer, about a rescue deal that could secure the jobs of thousands of retail workers.

On the sustainability front, fashion purchases are still and always will be driven by the desire to look good – but in order to feel good, shoppers are increasingly aligning with brands and actions that have a higher purpose to do good.

And the European Union is pumping EUR6.75m (US$8.01m) into a new project that aims to offer a valuable solution for textile waste and an alternative to the fashion and textile sectors' reliance on virgin materials like cotton.

'Buy Now, Pay Later' (BNPL) payment plans such as Klarna, Clearpay, and PayPal Credit have grown increasingly attractive over the past few years, with over one-fifth (21.0%) of UK shoppers using them to make online clothing and footwear purchases during the last 12 months.

Permanent store closures were already rife in the retail sector prior to Covid-19 due to spend shifting online, but this has been further intensified by the pandemic. But as retailers continue to close stores, they must have a strategy for ensuring their customers continue to shop with them online.

Though its 'Luxury Stores' designer platform launched in the US in September 2020, Amazon will struggle to cement its place within the luxury fashion market while the service lacks the presence of key brands, only provides access to Prime members, and does not guarantee product authenticity. 

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