Blog: Hannah AbdullaUK fashion retailers get green light to open from 15 June

Hannah Abdulla | 1 June 2020

Clothing stores in the UK will be allowed to reopen from 15 June in newly announced plans from the government.

While the majority of UK consumers plan to prioritise spending time with friends and family when lockdown restrictions are lifted, 16% aim to spend time shopping for non-food items – with over two-thirds looking forward to purchasing clothing items as they start to anticipate more social activities and buy into new season trends.

As the apparel retail industry prepares to open its doors again, new technology has been released to aid retailers with inventory quarantine.

And with more businesses globally being given the green light by governments to reopen their doors following the coronavirus pandemic, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has created a checklist to ensure the safe return of workers.

However, a survey of 35 fashion brands and retailers has found that despite mounting public pressure, 40% have made no public commitment to pay in full for completed orders.

A one-off payment from fashion brands and retailers could be a way of mitigating the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis on supply chain workers.

But workers' rights organisation Remake is encouraging consumers to refrain from buying new clothes for the next three months in an attempt to drive systemic change across the fashion industry.

A new initiative is offering consumers the chance to purchase clothing from cancelled apparel orders from Bangladesh in a move aimed at helping support the industry and its workers through the coronavirus pandemic.

If there's one thing the pandemic has exposed, it's that successful retailers and brands are the ones who are nimble, agile and flexible to meet customers' rapidly changing needs

Meanwhile a study has suggested the Chinese apparel market could contract by US$60bn in 2020.

In the US, more details are emerging on the proposed US-Kenya Free Trade Agreement and there are various industry views on the pact; apparel-specific provisions, a focal point of the debate.

And the latest Textile Enforcement Statistics released by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) show a 68% hike in duties collected on textile and apparel products imported into the US in the second quarter of fiscal year 2020.

On the sustainability front, Mexico's fledgling Fashion Transparency Index has picked C&A and Levi Strauss as the international brands that will anchor its sustainability survey set to launch in December.

German fashion e-tailer Zalando is making sustainability a mandatory requirement for its private labels and partner brands – and after 2023 won't work with those that don't measure up.

And the latest Material Change Insights Report from Textile Exchange shows nearly 40% of its brand participants sourced their materials from preferred sources – but investment into circularity remains limited.

In our featured interview, Nikhil Hirdaramani, the group director of Sri Lanka's Hirdaramani Group says sustainability and innovation will be a key pillar of doing business in the new, post-pandemic world.

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