Blog: Leonie BarrieSpotlight shines on Ethiopia sourcing

Leonie Barrie | 11 March 2014

just-style turned the spotlight on Ethiopia last week, marking the release of a new research report looking at the country's emerging apparel and textile industry with additional insights into its rising potential for sourcing garments.

With several government incentives in place to encourage investment, a focus on developing the whole textile and clothing value chain, a viable business environment, and duty-free market access to both US and EU, Ethiopia is already attracting international buyers and investors.

But in Cambodia, garment workers are pressing ahead with their demands for higher wages. They recently staged a four-day overtime boycott, and are now ready for a four-day nationwide stay-at-home strike starting this week.

It's one thing for apparel brands and retailers to talk about sustainability and traceability across their supply chains, but another altogether to put it into practice. Indeed, new research reveals that despite the well-documented risk of sourcing forced-labour Uzbek cotton, many firms are still not taking enough steps to prevent its use in their products.

Members of the group working to eliminate hazardous substances throughout their apparel and footwear supply chains say they are "forging solidly" towards their 2020 goals, but need the collective help of industry and other stakeholders.

The idea of bringing mass-market garment production back to the UK is finally gaining momentum. But according to industry experts speaking at a recent conference 'Making it in the UK - Ready or not?' there are still challenges to overcome if the 'Made in Britain' movement is to be successful once again.

Over in the US, apparel retailers reported mixed comparable store sales in February, with some severely impacted by adverse weather conditions but others benefiting from a pick-up in traffic in the latter part of the month.

And perhaps the most intriguing story last week centred on reports that Japanese retail group Fast Retailing is in talks to acquire US apparel and accessories retailer J Crew in a deal worth up to $5bn.

We'd also like to thank everyone who has taken part in this year's just-style Confidence Survey. If you haven't yet shared your views, we're trying to gauge the industry mood for 2014 - and are keen to hear what you see as the big issues facing you, your company and the apparel industry in the year ahead. Click on this link to participate.

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