Blog: Leonie BarrieSpeed-to-market can be slow to achieve

Leonie Barrie | 29 August 2017

It's easy for brands and retailers to see how they can potentially benefit from a successful speed-to-market program – but the irony is that without the support of strategic suppliers, it can be a long and difficult task to achieve alone.

Such a strategy appears to be paying off for Hong Kong-based global sourcing specialist Li & Fung, which has reported a positive first-half as the company's new supply chain model starts to gain traction.

Separately, the company has announced a partnership with South Ocean Knitters Holdings that will create one of the largest knitwear suppliers globally.

Thousands of workers in Myanmar have been taking part in marches calling for an increase in their pay, as discussions on setting the second minimum wage in the country are about to get underway.

But Cambodian garment and footwear manufacturers are worried a new pay and benefits package pledged by the country’s Prime Minister could hurt the industry as the cost for factories will increase.

Cambodia's government has also been urged to engage in talks with employers and workers to iron out issues with a draft new minimum wage law, including clauses that would restrict the debate on minimum wage issues.

The wage talks come as unions say they must look beyond the minimum wage for the global garment industry and push for a new wage fixing mechanism that takes account of the way brands contract with suppliers and the prices they pay.

Bosses at fashion retailers Asos and New Look have called on British factories to improve factory and worker safety so they can consider sourcing more clothing in the UK rather than offshore.

With increasing attention on forced labour, trafficking, and modern slavery issues throughout supply chains, new guidance has been put together to help companies define, uncover, report and mitigate these problems

When President Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord three months ago, there was concern the move would undermine international resolve behind the global push on climate change. Nevertheless, the reaction of major US-based clothing companies speaks to the importance the sector attaches to addressing climate change.

The off-price clothing and footwear industry offers an important channel through which brands can liquidate their excess inventory. But why is it far less developed in the EU than it is in the US? And how can the EU off-price industry be developed into a stand-alone entity?

High prices and lower import levels suggest the market, for now at least, is moving away from cotton.

Retailer Marks & Spencer has launched a range of more sustainable selvedge denim jeans as part of its commitment to address the social, ethical and environmental impacts of its products.

Meanwhile, in other news, an Indian factory has been shuttered after dyestuffs released into the air and water turned dogs blue; the first molecularly tagged organic cotton fibres are due to debut at retail next spring; and Donald Trump has revived threats to pull the US out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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