Blog: Leonie BarrieTPP continues to garner industry attention

Leonie Barrie | 19 April 2016

The US footwear industry has voiced its disappointment that athletic brand New Balance has come out in opposition of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. The company sees the potential tariff reductions on imported footwear, particularly from Vietnam, as bad for US footwear manufacturing and jobs, as well as threatening its position as a top domestic athletic-shoe manufacturer.

And an op-ed on just-style asks if it possible that the US Trade Representative (USTR) has spent over eight years negotiating an agreement where the US enjoys no benefit whatsoever.

Cotton also has an image problem. It's out of fashion with mills, brands, designers and consumers, and a global glut of polyester – cotton's major rival fibre – is encouraging low prices. So how does cotton compete in such a market?

Jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co is expanding its worker wellbeing programme to key suppliers in more countries, with plans to reach 140,000 workers by 2020 – and is partnering with other brands and retailers to make the initiative 'open source'.

And the denim division of Hong Kong based garment-making giant Crystal Group – the largest denim jeans producer in Asia – managed to cut its carbon footprint per garment by almost 20% last year across its subsidiary factories in China and Cambodia.

Meanwhile, H&M is to place its first volume orders for shoes made with water-based PU material this year as part of new sustainability goals set out by the Swedish fashion retailer. It is also targeting a full phase-out of solvent-based PU in the future.

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety says it hopes the suspension of factories for lack of progress on remediation will be a final wake-up call to owners to step up their efforts as the third anniversary of Rana Plaza nears. But it has also revealed just 3% of all factories used by Alliance member companies in Bangladesh are deemed fully safe.

Bangladesh is also taking steps to upgrade security screening procedures and equipment at Dhaka International Airport after the British government last month imposed a ban on air cargo from the country.

As retailers work to merge the digital world with the physical retail experience they're likely to be in for a big shock, according to a new report, which reveals outdated technologies such as phone, fax and email are still the most common ways to interact with supply chain partners.

Working more closely and smartly with data across the entire supply chain is also crucial if brands are to improve everything from product innovation to keeping track of shipments,'testing and trashing' new ideas, and tailoring their offerings to individual consumers.

Sports brand Puma has launched a new programme to provide low cost loans to help its overseas suppliers in emerging markets improve their environmental performance.

American Apparel is to cut more jobs as part of plans by the troubled US retailer to redesign its production processes and potentially outsource the manufacture of more complicated garments.

Japanese retailer and Uniqlo casual clothing parent Fast Retailing has cut its full-year profit guidance by almost a half after posting a 55.1% drop in first-half profit.

And US retail giant Gap Inc has promoted veteran global sourcing executive Sonia Syngal as global president of its Old Navy brand.

In other news, US apparel giant PVH Corp has completed its acquisition of Tommy Hilfiger China; US retail sales saw mixed results in March; and four companies in the denim supply chain are working on a roadmap towards more sustainable jeans production.

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