Blog: Beth WrightMyanmar workers urge brands to offer more support

Beth Wright | 6 April 2021

Myanmar's garment workers are calling on global fashion brands to condemn the country's military coup, provide meaningful support for their protests and to not order from factories that support the regime.

The move comes as the US has suspended all engagement with Myanmar under a trade and investment agreement until the return of a democratically elected government.

Elsewhere, brands are being urged not to trade their human rights principles for market access, despite facing a barrage of commercial retaliation in China over their statements against the use of forced Uyghur labour.

A giant container ship that has blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week has finally been freed – but the impact on global trade is still likely to be felt for some time to come.

While many studies have explored how the Covid-19 pandemic is shifting the sourcing strategies of Western fashion brands and retailers, its impact on apparel exporting countries is mostly unknown – until now. We take a detailed look at trade trends in the world's three largest apparel exporters – China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.

The global pandemic has done little to dampen the drive of Vietnam based ethical denim manufacturer Saitex, which has forged ahead with plans to set up a production line for people with different abilities, and set up a new model factory in Los Angeles. And its ambitions don't end here, as founder and CEO, Sanjeev Bahl, explains.

Hong Kong has been the centre of the global garment industry for the past 40 years. But rising uncertainty now means the new place to go is Singapore.

Better Work Bangladesh has renewed its strategic focus on gender equality and women's economic empowerment by integrating these principles in all aspects of its work.

The UK's fashion and textile sector has expressed its disappointment over the potential implementation of tariffs of up to 25% by the US on a raft of items, including clothing, in retaliation over a UK tax on technology firms.

While in retail, US specialty clothing retailer Gap Inc is to sell its Janie and Jack business to brand investment platform Go Global Retail as part of its bid to focus on its billion-dollar Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta labels.

Despite lockdowns and disruptions, the Covid-19 pandemic drove increased adoption and growth of multichannel retail in the 2020 holiday period, further cementing its role in retail going forward, new research shows.

In other news, the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT) is publishing a list that reveals the difference between minimum wage and living wage in the garment and textile industry in nearly 50 countries; and UK clothing and homeware retailer Next Plc saw its profits halve last year but has upped its earnings forecast thanks to strong online sales.

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