Blog: Michelle RussellThe rejection of globalisation

Michelle Russell | 22 August 2016

Mike Flanagan, CEO at industry consultancy Clothesource, spent the first six months of 2016 campaigning to stay in the EU. Not once, he says, did he hear his opponents - or anyone in Britain's new, Brexit-friendly government - say they wanted to reject global integration or repudiate over 30 years of globalisation.

Flanagan discusses what Britain, and the US, are rejecting - with the latter country facing a leadership battle between two candidates both opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - why they are rejecting it, and whose job it is to deal with it.

Brexit, however, has done little to dampen shoppers' desire to spend, with the first official UK retail sales figures for the full month after the country's referendum suggesting consumer spending remains resilient. Clothing and footwear sales saw a much-needed boost thanks to the hot weather, with the weaker pound also encouraging tourists to spend.

The second-biggest shopping season of the year - Back-to-school - is also expected to provide a much-needed boost for clothing retailers thanks to several key trends and well-controlled inventory levels. Winners are expected to include less basic denim with more features and innovation; along with strong momentum in athleisure, with many retailers stepping up their presence in this category with more colours and fits.

And, there are signs the outdoor industry is feeling the effects of 2016's "winter of our discontent," along with several retail bankruptcies, stock market disruptions in China, and the Brexit uncertainty in Europe. However, this year's Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, which took place earlier this month in Salt Lake City, had an upbeat vibe, with industry leaders looking beyond outdoor's hard-core base to a broader and younger demographic.

Elsewhere, analysts discuss the way in which 3D-printing has transformed the manufacturing process in many industries. However, they suggest much more progress still needs to be made before it has the potential to impact apparel.

And, there are few things worse in the apparel business than developing and manufacturing a great product that can't find its way to the retail floor because it's stuck in customs with a labelling issue.

J Anthony Hardenburgh, VP of global content for Amber Road, looks at the importance of garment labelling, and unravels some of the rules and regulations of what needs to be said - and how.

Last week also saw the launch of the Myanmar Textiles Manufacturers Association, following years of discussion about creating an upstream textile-specific body in this fast developing southeast Asian country. Finished garment exports from Myanmar more than doubled from 2011-12 to 2014-15, according to the country's Central Statistical Organisation (CSO). Yet the local textile industry has not kept up, with backward linkages remaining weak.

In other news, Nike has formed a supply chain partnership with Apollo Global Management in a bid to speed up delivery and increase regional manufacturing capabilities; analysts discuss how H&M will continue to experience margin pressure from the rise of low-priced rivals; and JC Penney unveils a three-year turnaround plan for accelerated growth. We also rounded up the most recent second-quarter filings from US apparel and footwear brands and retailers.

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