Blog: Leonie BarrieMounting pressure for Xinjiang cotton ban

Leonie Barrie | 21 September 2020

As pressure mounts on the global apparel industry to ban all cotton-made goods from China's Xinjiang region over forced labour concerns, US lawmakers have been told such a move would "wreak unending havoc" on global supply chains

The comments came after five new Withhold Release Orders (WRO) were issued on products imported into the US from China – including apparel items and cotton

And Swedish clothing retailer H&M Group is cutting ties with a yarn mill in Xinjiang with which it had an "indirect relationship" after it was alleged to be engaged in forced labour.

To help brands ensure their denim items do not contain cotton from prohibited regions, Cone Denim has partnered with Oritain to provide forensic verification and traceability of the provenance of the raw material used in its products.

The Turkish clothing manufacturing sector says it is rebounding from the Covid crisis after agreeing with major brand buyers to complete and pay for orders abandoned during the first few months of the pandemic.

And Cambodian garment workers will see a minimum wage rise of US$2 from January next year – although unions had been hoping for a hike of US$12.

Anecdotal evidence suggests consumer demand for mass-market jeans has plummeted during the Covid pandemic – while demand for comfortable knitted T-shirts, shirts and sweatpants has soared. We crunch the numbers to find out more.

The second in our two-part series on the future of fashion supply chains sets out some key steps on the road to digitalisation that have the potential to take decision-making, responsiveness, customer service and profitability to another level. 

China's Alibaba Group has also set its sights on digitalisation, with a new manufacturing pilot that offers small and medium-sized businesses a digitalised end-to-end manufacturing supply chain for fully-customised, demand-driven production. It will initially focus on clothing.

And Microsoft has partnered with Internet of Things platform Eon on a project to provide millions of garments with a digital identity so brands and retailers can track their products and tap into circular business models such as resale, reuse and recycling when each item reaches its end of life.

Meanwhile, in other news, Next Plc is to acquire a majority stake in Victoria's Secret's UK business; US clothing retail sales growth waned in August; and research reveals a combination of online and physical sales channels will lead post-Covid recovery.

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