Blog: Michelle RussellThe winners and losers of 2015

Michelle Russell | 21 December 2015

From retailing to manufacturing, sourcing and sustainability, winners and losers were not hard to find in the apparel industry in 2015. As the year draws to a close, just-style's annual review tracks those for whom 2015 will be memorable in more ways than one.

We've also taken a look back at the top news stories on just-style in 2015. Free trade agreements, cutting-edge innovations, sandblasting in Chinese jeans factories, new minimum wages, and retail job cuts were just a few of the issues that made the headlines.

This year will also be remembered for the striking of a crucial agreement at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (or COP21).

Industry experts are calling on the global clothing industry to engage with the new deal, warning that a warming planet imperils not only the raw materials the industry needs but also poses an existential threat to the sector's prevailing business model. Unions hailed the inclusion of the 'just transition' worker protection provision in the agreement as a "considerable achievement", but warned that pressure will continue to be placed on governments to deliver on that commitment.

Elsewhere, US apparel giant VF Corp has revealed plans to extend its Third Way manufacturing programme to strategic suppliers in sub-Saharan Africa as it continues to build long-term relationships with key partners.

And, industry expert Mike Flanagan looks at how Adidas' announcement - that it expects its costs to rise sharply over the next five years - underlines some crucial changes buyers in different countries have seen in their sourcing operations since the beginning of this century.

With diplomatic tensions mounting between Turkey and Russia over the downing of the Russian Su-24 jet fighter plane last month, there are rising concerns that the important Turkish clothing sector could struggle as a result of these geopolitical troubles.

Also facing challenges is Myanmar, a new report suggests, despite the country's booming garment industry. This growth, authors say, is failing garment workers, who work up to 11 hours a day, six days a week, on very low wages and often in dangerous conditions.

Meanwhile, in other news, one industry expert warns that legislation may not be enough to combat modern slavery, Patagonia voices opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, US apparel prices continue on a downward trajectory, a US rate rise may hit consumer spending, and the Bangladesh Alliance and Accord will receive "no extension" on their inspection periods.

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