Blog: Leonie BarrieWhy cotton is being battered on all fronts

Leonie Barrie | 29 October 2018

Cotton is being battered on all fronts, from false information campaigns, to competition from synthetic alternatives, and a changing consumer. The challenge now facing the cotton industry is how to regain its footing.

For Hong-Kong listed Esprit, the focus is on rethinking every step of the fashion lifecycle with a view to "inclusive circularity" that respects the use of both material and human resources. Sara Bermúdez Couto, head of product safety management and environmental sustainability, talks to just-style.

VF Corp’s new stance is to be a 'purpose-led' company that will "power movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people in our planet," according to Scott Deitz, the US apparel giant’s vice president of public affairs.

Separately, the company moved to quell concerns the trade war between the US and China could be worrisome for its business, saying that by leveraging its global supply chain it can mitigate the potential negative impact of additional tariffs.

But a new study suggests the growing US trade deficit with China has led to the loss of millions of jobs in America, with the country's apparel industry one of those hit.

The length and complexity of the apparel supply chain means collaboration is often the only way for businesses to grow leverage when it comes to achieving full transparency, according to Carmen Chan, senior sustainability and fabric manager for F&F clothing at UK supermarket giant Tesco. She tells just-style the retailer is busy joining a number of initiatives to try to bring about change.

British department store group Debenhams is to shutter almost one-third of its store base after booking the biggest loss in its 240-year history.

And embattled US department store retailer Sears is being challenged by a number of its suppliers over cancelled payments on product and protection for consigners since going into bankruptcy.

While unions in Honduras are set to demand a 24% salary hike as part of negotiations to increase apparel minimum wages as a swelling migrant caravan continues to approach the US, a leading trade union official has told just-style.

And in other news, Sourcemap has launched a free digital map of apparel factories; 123 apparel and footwear firms have committed to prevent forced and unfair labour practices in their global supply chains; the second Mynamar Textile Summit takes place next month; and the British government has outlined likely trade scenarios in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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