Blog: Leonie BarrieWaterless dyeing takes step forward

Leonie Barrie | 9 December 2013

A dyeing process that eliminates water and reduces the use of chemicals is moving towards commercial production, with Nike set to launch sportswear early next year that uses the fabric.

A water-free dyehouse that opened last week with Taiwanese contract manufacturer Far Eastern New Century Corp (FENC) is described as a "manufacturing revolution". Initial indications are said to show the ColorDry process is both more efficient and more consistent than traditional, resource-intensive dyeing methods.

Fears of a slowdown in US apparel imports from Bangladesh appear to be unfounded - with the latest trade figures showing a massive 42.5% hike in shipments during October. The numbers contrast with September's data, which saw the country's import growth stall - and suggest US retailers have instead ramped up their purchases of key holiday season merchandise from Bangladesh.

Other data showed that apparel production in the US was up in the third quarter for the first time in many years - indicating sustained economic recovery but also suggesting efforts to grow domestic manufacturing may be starting to take hold.

But steep discounts, flexible store opening times, price matching and free shipping were not enough to win US shoppers over in November, after apparel retailers delivered disappointing comparable store sales during the month.

Retailers also remain cautious going into the holiday season - the biggest selling period of the year. A combination of cold weather, promotions and price cuts saw millions of Americans shop for holiday gifts over the Thanksgiving weekend, but first figures suggest that while shopper numbers were up on last year, they're spending less.

And Italy's most powerful trade union has pledged to expose black market practices and assert workers' rights in the clothing industry after a fatal fire at a Chinese-run garment factory in Tuscany. Seven people died when the blaze swept through an illegal dormitory in the roof space of the factory.

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