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The Uganda Textiles, Garments, Leather, and Allied Workers Union (UTGLAWU) is actively mobilizing against the exploitative garment and textile sector plagued by neoliberal reforms and informatization. 

In a powerful act of solidarity, five UTGLAWU members were arrested in Kampala while protesting wage theft and worker exploitation by Adidas, a multinational apparel corporation. The police response, arrests, and detentions exposed the oppressive environment faced by union leaders in Uganda's garment industry.

UTGLAWU, established in the 1950s, has grown into a registered union with 7,000 members, striving to represent workers in textile factories, SMEs, and home-based workers. Structural Adjustment Programs have devastated the sector, leading to job losses, factory closures, and increased informality, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Garment workers endure horrendous conditions, including abuse, delayed wages, and lack of insurance. Employers mishandle social security contributions, while salaries remain below a dollar a day.

Organizing workers in heavily guarded factories poses challenges, impeding unionization efforts. The influx of cheap secondhand clothing from the West undermines Uganda's textile industry. Promised employment opportunities through trade agreements like AGOA have failed to materialize. Workers turn to small businesses, but exorbitant taxes and rents hinder their survival.

Inflation, transportation costs, and delayed salaries exacerbate workers' struggles. The government's focus on job creation neglects labor conditions, perpetuating human rights violations. Urgent labor policy reform and government action are crucial to address these issues.


Amidst negative growth in garment shipments to major destinations caused by inflationary pressure from the Russia-Ukraine war, Bangladesh has found a silver lining in rising exports to non-traditional markets. 


From January to April this year, apparel shipments to non-traditional markets increased by 28.95% to $2.96 billion, accounting for 19.01% of the country's annual garment exports. 


Japan emerged as the top destination among these markets, with $566.99 million in four-month shipments. Other non-traditional markets such as Australia, India, South Korea, and Turkey also saw rising exports. However, Bangladesh experienced declines in exports to Russia, the UAE, and Chile. 

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) highlighted the growing potential of Asian markets like Japan, India, and South Korea. 

While garment exports to the EU and the US declined, the upward trend in non-traditional markets has helped offset the overall decline. BGMEA emphasized the continued growth in shipments to non-traditional markets while acknowledging the challenges in major destinations like Germany.


EURATEX, the European Apparel and Textile Confederation, has expressed concerns about the European Parliament's report on the EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles. While EURATEX supports the EU Textile Strategy, it argues that the report fails to adequately address the industry's economic challenges and lacks a balanced approach to sustainability and competitiveness.

EURATEX acknowledges the report's focus on investing in research, and innovation, and supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, it argues that the report overlooks the strategic role of the European textile industry in advancing sustainability and the global competitive threats faced by local companies.

EURATEX emphasizes the necessity of a new regulatory framework with clear definitions, coherent rules, and effective controls. It also underscores the importance of considering different textile categories, distinguishing between fashion and technical textiles, as well as discerning between high-quality European products and low-quality alternatives.

Furthermore, EURATEX highlights the need to address consumer behavior and foster a stronger demand for sustainable textiles through improved communication, transparency, fiscal measures, green public procurement, and enhanced oversight of online marketplaces.

EURATEX calls upon the European Parliament to develop a balanced vision that reconciles sustainability and competitiveness while promoting dialogue among industry stakeholders, brands, and consumers.


The European Parliament has taken a significant step in addressing the unregulated and detrimental impacts of the fashion industry. MEPs voted to ban the destruction of usable surplus stock and returned goods, combat aggressive and false advertising, and introduce material and consumption footprint reduction targets.

They also called for comprehensive 'Ecodesign' requirements for all textiles and footwear, as well as stricter liability measures for imported products sold online.

This decision aligns with the European Commission's 'Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles,' which aims to transform the textile sector by promoting durability, repairability, reusability, and recyclability.

Stakeholders commend the parliament's actions and urge the European Commission to develop a robust plan for managing and reducing clothing waste in the EU.

Companies are encouraged to take responsibility for their textile waste, including supporting waste management efforts in countries like Ghana and Kenya, which receive excessive amounts of second-hand clothes from Europe.

Experts emphasize the need for the textile industry to adhere to social and environmental rights, condemning the unethical practice of destroying unsold goods.

They call for a swift ban on such practices across all product categories. The European Commission is urged to embrace the parliament's ambition by establishing binding reduction targets for the EU's material and consumption footprints.


Calvin Klein, the renowned fashion brand, has made its debut in New Zealand by opening its inaugural 'Calvin Klein Lifestyle' concept store in Queenstown. This move establishes the first-ever lifestyle store of its kind in the country. The 211-square-meter store, situated on Rees St, Queenstown, embodies the brand's signature minimalistic and modern aesthetic. Visitors will be greeted with a sophisticated combination of metal, concrete, and wood materials, complemented by striking campaign visuals that reinforce the brand's visual identity and showcase its latest collections.

The store caters to both men and women, offering a wide range of products, including underwear, jeans, performance wear, kids' apparel, menswear, womenswear, accessories, and footwear. This expansion follows the recent opening of a flagship store in Queenstown by another PVH-owned fashion brand, Tommy Hilfiger, indicating a strategic push to expand its retail network throughout New Zealand.

With global retail sales reaching approximately $9.3 billion in 2022, Calvin Klein remains a strong player in the industry. Since PVH's acquisition of Calvin Klein in 2003, the brand continues to prioritize its worldwide relevance, presence, and long-term growth through a focused approach.


The International Apparel Federation (IAF) and the Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) have announced that Tom Glaser, an industry veteran with extensive experience, will be a keynote speaker at the 38th World Fashion Convention.

The convention, themed "Our Industry in Transition: Building Stronger, Smarter, and More Sustainable Supply Chains," will take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from October 22-25, 2023.

Glaser has a successful career spanning various renowned companies, including Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH), VF Corporation, and Tapestry, Inc. His expertise in sales, sourcing, and operations positions him as an ideal speaker to share insights on the industry's past, present, and future.

Ed Gribbin, SPESA Chairman and IAF Treasurer, expressed enthusiasm about Glaser's participation, highlighting his comprehensive understanding of end-to-end supply chains across the Americas, Asia, and Europe. The event aims to gather leaders from the global apparel supply chain, fostering collaboration and addressing the industry's pressing challenges and opportunities.

The Convention will be held at Philadelphia's historic Bellevue Hotel, featuring networking events and additional activities like the IAF Golf Tournament and a Study Tour. Early bird registration is currently open, offering discounted rates for SPESA and IAF members. The event promises to be a platform for valuable insights and meaningful connections among industry professionals and stakeholders.


The annual Emitex trade fair, held from April 25th to 27th, brought together over 100 textile manufacturers, including thread, flat weave, and knitwear producers, as well as suppliers of materials, tools, accessories, and software machines. Brazilian companies Audaces, Santaconstancia, and Cardenas participated in the event with the support of Texbrasil, a program established through a partnership between Abit and ApexBrasil.

Emitex is an ideal platform for establishing contacts and gathering information for future productions. Brazilian companies exceeded expectations, generating 980 contacts and achieving revenue of over US$3 million in just three days.

Argentina's textile imports in 2022 grew by 29.8%, reaching approximately US$1.4 billion, indicating a resurgence in purchases and consumption in the country. Emitex, serving Latin America for nearly two decades, plays a vital role as a business generator for the sector.

Emitex showcased the latest advancements in design, products, and services with a focus on sustainability and technological innovation. The Denim Station, a popular attraction, provided insights into the Jeanswear segment. The event also offered an online catalog for companies to update their information for up to a year and a half after the exhibition.


Apparel import slight upward trend Q1 2023 Wazir Report


The reputed India-based consultants Wazir Advisors released their report on the first quarter of 2023, analyzing apparel imports and retail sales by four major economies, namely the US, the EU, the UK and Japan. The report also includes the analysis of India’s performance as an exporter of readymade garments.

The report indicates that in the US and the UK, imports of readymade garments were down whereas up in the EU and Japan (marginally so). This indicates a challenge for readymade garment manufacturing hubs globally, particularly in South and South East Asia as well as China. This is evident from the report that states that in April 2023, Indian readymade garments experienced 25 per cent fall compared to April 2022.

Declining imports of apparel in the US and UK

In the US, the first three months of 2023 experienced a down of 19 per cent whereas in the UK the figures were slightly less at 14 per cent. March 2023 was the month which experienced the sharpest decline, 32 per cent in the US and 18 per cent in the UK. However, it was the opposite in the EU and Japan as the first quarter of 2023 registered a rise in readymade garment imports by 10 per cent and 3 per cent respectively. Japan only registered a 6 per cent decline in February 2023 as opposed to March in the US and the UK.

In terms of imports, the ongoing US-Sino disputes indicate why the Chinese market share continues to slide downwards, with the first quarter of 2023 seeing China fall to 18 per cent, whereas Bangladesh and India gained 1 per cent each. Indonesia remained at 6 per cent and all the other countries from where the US imports readymade garments improved by 5 per cent, bringing their collective market share to 41 per cent. In the UK, it was the same story with China losing grounds and dropping to 17 per cent, losing 8 per cent from 2022. Bangladesh lost 2 per cent in the UK, which Italy gained and India remained steady at 6 per cent. It is insightful that the UK has indeed diversified its sourcing options as all other countries combined improved by 10 per cent, totaling 47 per cent.

Japan imported 5 per cent less from China in the first quarter of 2023 and the EU 1 per cent less. Bangladesh gained 1 per cent in both, the EU and Japan. In the EU, Turkey, Vietnam and India remained the same at 12 per cent, 4 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. In Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia remained the same at 16 per cent and 5 per cent respectively whereas the collective of all other countries Japan imports readymade garments from increased by 4 per cent.

Indian apparel export takes huge hits

In Apr 2023, India’s apparel exports are estimated to fall further down to US$ 1.2 Bn., which is 25% lower than in Apr 2022 exports. On YTD basis, the exports were 13% lower than in 2022. In India’s apparel export basket, UAE’s share has decreased by 6 per cent whereas France’s and UK’s share has increased by 1 per cent each, since 2021.

Store and e-commerce performance on track

In Q1 2023, online sales of clothing and accessories registered a growth of 2% over Q1 2022 and were 32% lower than Q4 2022 sales in the US. In the UK, in Q1 2023, online sales of clothing registered a growth of 13% over Q1 2022. In the US, physical store sales are estimated to be $ 18.6 billion in April 2023. which is 4% more than in April 2022. In Mar 2023, UK’s monthly apparel store sales were £ 4.2 billion. which is 11 per cent higher than in March 2022.


In the past 10 days, retail giant Target has experienced a $10 billion loss in market valuation due to the ongoing backlash surrounding its Pride-themed clothing line for children.

The company's stock value, which stood at $160.96 per share a week ago Wednesday, dropped to $138.93 per share on Friday, representing a nearly 14% decline. This plunge in value brings Target's market valuation down to $64.2 billion, its lowest in nearly three years.

The retailer's current predicament echoes a similar situation in 2022 when the company's stocks experienced a significant drop after an exceptional surge during the COVID-19 pandemic. Target has been caught in the crossfire of America's culture wars over gender, with recent protests leading to the relocation of the Pride section in some Southern stores and the removal of certain items from the collection.

While comparisons have been drawn to conservative boycotts against brands like Bud Light, Texas Senator Ted Cruz suggests that the impact on Target may be more substantial since viable alternatives are scarce. Cruz draws a parallel with Disney, which faced backlash in the past but remained a financial powerhouse due to its unique offerings.

Target's stock value decline of more than 22% in the last 10 days reflects the significant challenges the company currently faces.


Sri Lanka's apparel exporters are facing a challenging period as they witness a significant drop in orders due to an economic slowdown in the West. The orders have decreased by approximately 18 to 20 percent, leading factories to operate below capacity and make necessary adjustments. This decline in orders is not unique to Sri Lanka, as other exporting countries are also experiencing a fall in demand.

The recent closure of a factory by Sri Lanka's Hirdramani group, which was attributed to issues with the leased building, highlights the impact of these challenging market conditions. However, it's important to note that investors have not been closing factories and leaving Sri Lanka en masse.

The current situation can be traced back to the monetary accommodation measures implemented by the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank during the Coronavirus crisis. The surge in demand resulted in supply chain bottlenecks and inflationary pressures, reminiscent of the 1980s. As a response, Western central bankers are now increasing interest rates and withdrawing excess liquidity, leading to further economic slowdowns and recessions.

Sri Lanka's apparel exports, which amounted to approximately $5.6 billion in the previous year, have declined by 23 percent to $343 million up until April. Yohan Lawrence, the Secretary General of Sri Lanka's Joint Apparel Association Forum, attributes this decline to the global fall in demand that has impacted apparel manufacturing countries worldwide.

While some adjustments in headcount and temporary struggles for a few factories may occur, the industry as a whole is expected to continue. There are hopes for demand to recover in the second half of the year, and the recent efforts of Sri Lanka to strike Free Trade Agreements are seen as positive steps that can benefit all exports.

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