Blog: Leonie BarrieWhat caused the biggest stir on just-style in 2017?

Leonie Barrie | 2 January 2018

Welcome back, and Happy New Year to you all.

Hitting the ground running, this week we’ll be publishing the first of our Outlook 2018 reports – bringing together the views of a panel of executives on key issues likely to face the global apparel industry and its supply chain in the year ahead.

To kick off, however, we’ve also compiled the results of just-style's annual State of Sourcing readership survey, which suggests rising costs and increased pressure for faster deliveries, smaller quantities and more styles will continue to be challenges – and opportunities – in 2018.

The responses note executives are planning for this by reallocating some of their sourcing in the year ahead, and investing in productivity and process improvements. Many also lament that the fashion industry is stuck in a rut, caught in a cycle of short-term planning, a focus on cheap sourcing and a lack of integrity.

In the run-up to the end of last year, we also reflected on President Trump’s simple if sometimes poorly executed plan to restrict trade. While nothing new, the implications do have cause for concern.

And if there was one word that summed up the direction of travel for the apparel industry in 2017, it was “digitalisation.”

With increasing pressure to deliver on speed, customisation and transparency, the sector is finally waking up to the importance of embracing digitalisation as an integral part of its business strategy and operations. We have taken a look at its potential impact, the challenges and opportunities, and its future.

To round off the year, we also revisited the articles that caused the biggest stir on just-style in 2017. This included an influx of investment into Ethiopia, five key buying practices that put pressure on suppliers, how Li & Fung is getting smarter and faster, and changes to the global apparel sourcing landscape.

Why things are no longer going well for Bangladesh when it comes to US garment imports, the impact of 3D CAD, and why brick and mortar is not dead – but is just being mishandled – were among our top comments.

And the top news stories on just-style in 2017 covered sustainability, speed to market, worker safety, and minimum wage issues.

Also on the site as we ended the year, a survey of workers in Myanmar's garment sector found that most are single women aged between 16 and 23, earning an average of about MMK120,000 (US$88) a month, including overtime.

And the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for the temporary suspension of Cambodia's preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) duty-free trade access over claims the country is violating its obligations under the agreement.

In other news, US outdoor apparel retailer LL Bean is exploring blockchain technology to extend clothing use and performance; another $3.9m in funding will support research into advanced fibres and fabrics for the US defence sector; and Sri Lankan apparel maker Hela Clothing has joined forces with Tesco to launch an augmented reality children's T-shirt.

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