Blog: Leonie Barrie'Made in' movements gather momentum

Leonie Barrie | 23 June 2014

Less than a week after hailing plans to begin sourcing its first garments from Burma/Myanmar, US retail giant Gap Inc was on the defensive, hitting back at accusations it simply wants to get its clothes produced as cheaply as possible.

But the move towards ‘made in Myanmar' is accelerating on other fronts too, after a group of Hong Kong garment companies signed a deal to set up a 2,400 hectare apparel industrial park in the Yangon region. Operations are due to begin in mid-2015.

A growing list of differences also appears to be breaking out between groups working to improve factory and building safety for garment workers in Bangladesh.

The issues centre on the review process required for partial or full suspension of production in factories where inspections reveal serious safety concerns - with at least one factory supplying signatories of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety still making non-Accord products despite its "unsafe" condition.

Sweeping changes approved this year to China's national Environmental Protection Law could push consolidation in the textile and clothing industry as compliance costs rise. The new provisions will come into force on 1 January 2015 and include harsh punishments for polluters and compulsory public disclosure.

For Nike, efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products have finally been unveiled, after the sportswear leader launched the first garments made using fabric dyed using the ColorDry water-free process.

The ‘Made in the UK' movement is also continuing to gain momentum, with textile and apparel executives discussing the challenges and opportunities at the inaugural ‘Meet the Manufacturer' sourcing event in London.

Apparel maker Gildan Activewear is furthering its growth with plans to acquire Canadian hosiery, legwear and shapewear manufacturer Doris Inc in a deal worth US$101.4m.

And fashion retailer H&M Hennes & Mauritz says it is eyeing expansion into two new markets in the autumn after revealing a 25% hike in second quarter earnings. But analysts believe the second half will be "significantly more difficult" with continuing margin contraction, increasing competition and rising input costs.

The clothing giant is also joining forces with the ILO to launch an initiative to improve industrial relations in the Cambodian garment industry.

And in what looks like being the beginning of a long-running saga, colourful American Apparel founder Dov Charney has been ousted by the company's board of directors amid investigations into misconduct allegations.

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