Blog: Beth WrightTexOps restructure and the quest to get ahead

Beth Wright | 28 January 2019

Salvadoran sportswear maquila TexOps is navigating a painful restructuring, with owner David Ha putting the brakes on expansion. "We are going back to basics,” the Korean entrepreneur tells just-style in an exclusive interview, revealing how the firm is strategising ahead to get ready for what is coming. This, he says, includes an increase in US labels shifting sourcing south of the border as Trump's trade war with China escalates.

Indeed, as the spat rumbles on, new data shows the dangers in such a sourcing shift away from China to other less mature markets where ethical and quality control compliance issues in manufacturing are more prevalent.

Morocco's clothing and textile industry association, however, is optimistic about growth in the country's apparel sector in the year ahead, with fast fashion sales to Europe driving expansion.

While in the US, industry heavyweights Nike, Levi Strauss and Walmart are among those joining the move towards "net positive" supply chains – taking concrete steps to not only reduce their environmental footprint but to restore and rebuild the resources they need to thrive in the long term.

And there's more change ahead. While predictions for the new year take different courses, they invariably at some point all claim the coming year will bring revolutionary change to the global garment industry, says David Birnbaum. Internet startups are now the fastest growing clothing retail sector in an industry run by a new generation of consumers and a new generation of suppliers.

Indeed, as the internet grows in importance, the balance of power is shifting between fashion buyers and their vendors. Apparel brands and retailers could benefit from advice by Jo Byrne, head of buying at UK fast-fashion retailer New Look, on how best to leverage the relationship to improve lead times and efficiencies.

Meanwhile, Retail's 'Big Show', the National Retail Federation's Annual Convention & Expo in New York, provided its annual opportunity for retailers to tap into the latest technologies for improving every step of the supply chain from customer analysis to inventory management.

And it may not be much longer until the industry is introduced to a new supply chain altogether as Hong-Kong based sourcing giant Li & Fung takes another step to building "the supply chain of the future" - hiring Darren Palfrey to the new role of chief digital officer (CDO). 

One company working to share its latest technologies with the wider industry is apparel size and fit specialist Alvanon. The firm has launched a new cloud database offering 3D fit standards for the global apparel industry, in a move that will enable apparel design and development teams to access its 6,000 avatars for the first time.

Another business working to better the industry through collaboration is Levi Strauss & Co. Three factories in Mexico producing goods for the US denim giant are to become the first locations to use a new blockchain-based worker well-being system, which is being hailed as a "crucial first step" in a transparent evaluation of working conditions.

While in other news, Foot Locker invests $2m in footwear design academy, Express CEO David Kornberg steps down, new guidance to help fashion CEOs decide where to focus their sustainability efforts in 2019 pinpoints climate change as a core priority, and Tommy Hilfiger develops 100% recycled cotton jeans.

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