Blog: Hannah AbdullaWill a troubled presidential transition add to apparel industry woes?

Hannah Abdulla | 23 November 2020

The US apparel industry faces many problems these days – not least of which is a potentially turbulent transition to the Biden Administration and the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese government is set to ramp up its focus on domestic consumption and production in the country's next five-year plan, which is due to be released in March.

On the sustainability front, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has added to warnings that women, who make up the majority of the garment sector workforce, are being disproportionately affected by fallout from the coronavirus crisis. While a new industry-wide initiative has launched to support female workers in the global apparel supply chain by creating a so-called ecosystem for change through collaboration between brands, non-profits, and consumers.

Elsewhere, four major brands have found themselves caught in the crossfire after allegations of worker abuse surfaced at garment supplier factories in India.

And workers at a Thai factory supplying clothing to Tesco, Starbucks, Disney, and NBC Universal are still owed US$110,000 in compensation for alleged mistreatment they experienced when producing garments.

Global companies are still falling short on human rights, according to a new report from the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA).

Swedish fast-fashion brand Monki has launched the first capsule clothing collection made using a breakthrough textile-to-textile recycling process. 

And the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) has unveiled a new initiative to upcycle textile waste and circular materials across the continent.

While US start-up MycoWorks has secured US$45m in Series B funding which allows it to scale production of its "vegan leather", Reishi.

In tech, Sourcemap has partnered with connected packaging platform Scantrust to bring secure, verified supply chain transparency to consumers via unique and secured QR codes, NFC, and RFID technology.

And German clothing manufacturer Kaya&Kato has partnered with technology giantIBM to develop a blockchain network for the fashion industry, with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ).

On the trade front, fifteen countries including China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia have formed the world's largest trading bloc – a move that industry experts say matters significantly for textile and apparel.

And in other news, UK footwear chain Clarks says its company voluntary arrangement (CVA) has been approved by the required majority of its unsecured creditors.

The Peacocks and Jaeger fashion chains have fallen into administration in a move that endangers more than 4,700 jobs and puts about 500 shops at risk of closure.

And Francesca's Holdings Corporation is to close about 140 of its predominantly mall-based stores and warned it will likely need to seek a restructuring under bankruptcy protection if it is unable to raise sufficient additional capital.

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