J&D Wilkie, a Scottish technical textiles specialist is set to open a new ￡3 million factory in Jianxing near Shanghai to enable it to produce technical products. During a trade mission to China, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, revealed the expansion plans. Wilkie began producing jute and flax in Scotland in 1868 and since it has established operations in China, production has doubled. The company produces a wide range of fabrics for commercial and industrial applications, including for the military.
The expansion in China, Wilkie says would safeguard 90 jobs in Scotland and the new factory there would house an integrated spinning and weaving unit on one site. He added that this move will further strengthen their position in Europe where the Scottish weaving unit has almost doubled since starting the yarn production in China.
A privately owned global technical textile manufacturing company with its head office based in Scotland, J&D Wilkie’s manufacturing sites are optimised so that there is flexibility to respond to their customers’ needs irrespective of their global geographic location. The company also benefits from a fully owned manufacturing site in China capable of producing ‘European quality at Chinese prices’.
Decades of irresponsible fabric sourcing by companies have caused deforestation, says Rainforest Action Network in its latest report titled ‘Lessons from the Incense Forest’. The study identifies top American apparel brands, dubbed the “Fashion Fifteen,” and lists Prada, LVMH, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Vince, Guess, Velvet, L Brands, Forever 21, Under Armour, Footlocker, Abercrombie and Fitch, GAIAM, Beyond Yoga and Ralph LaurenPopular, many of them beloved and iconic, as the perpetrators of forest destruction. The pressure on these fashion companies to address these violations in their global supply chains is growing.
The recent global expansion of massive plantations for the production of pulp for use in fabrics has led to land grabbing from surrounding communities. Every year tens of millions of trees are turned into clothing through the use of forest fabrics like rayon and viscose. These forests have played a critical part in local community livelihoods for generations, and are now being seized and for forest fabrics.
Without strong policies from fashion companies, rainforest destruction and human rights abuses can become part of the clothing worn by millions of consumers around the world. Protest groups are urging brands to take action to ensure that real changes are made on the ground to prevent deforestation, human rights abuses and climate pollution from being woven into the fabrics consumers wear.
These group wants brands to use only forest-friendly fabrics in their collections and to identify negative manufacturing components and develop commitments to protecting forests and human rights.
Rainbow Denim's losses in the first quarter ended June 2015 narrowed to Rs 22.56 million against the same quarter previous year. Revenues for the quarter soared 90.44 per cent to Rs 602.20 million, compared with Rs 316 million for the prior year period.
Operating margin for the quarter stood at negative 0.35 per cent as compared to a negative 25.92 per cent for the previous year same period. Operating loss for the quarter was Rs 2.10 million, compared with an operating loss of Rs 81.96 million in the previous year period. Earnings per share stood negative at Rs 1.70 compared with negative Rs 7.85 in the same quarter last year.
Set in Punjab, Rainbow Denim’s plant uses rope-dyeing technology to produce over 20 million meters of denim per year. To keep pace with international fashion trends, products are engineered to meet the demands and requirements of the denim fashion brands. Denim is not only produced in different depths of blue, but in various combination shades, making Rainbow part of the select few companies in India with such manufacturing capabilities.
‘Y WASTE?’ an exhibition by Hong Kong-based NGO Redress, working on the mission of creating green future in the global fashion industry, uncovered the dark shadow of fashion. It contained 360 kg of discarded secondhand clothes representing the amount of textiles dumped into Hong Kong’s landfills every two minutes. The exhibit was displayed at Hong Kong’s K11 Art Mall from July 7-20, 2015. The aim behind the installation was to create awareness about the importance of reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption.
The exhibit, in collaboration with clothing care experts, Miele, with design by students from Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts, raised awareness about shockingly high clothing and textile waste rates that are collectively generated and the negative environmental impacts associated with discarding them into landfill.
Redress works along with the fashion supply chain to achieve their mission of creating awareness about the hazardous impact of textile waste. Its works are grouped into four key programs: The EcoChic Design Award, The R Cert, Consumer Campaigns and Industry Engagement. Collectively, these four programs cover a sustainable fashion design competition, a recycled textile clothing standard, workshops, clothing campaigns, fashion shows, exhibitions, seminars and research.
Now even EU member states have agreed to ban a toxic substance widely found in clothing because it poses an ‘unacceptable risk’ to the environment. Countries unanimously voted in favour of extending existing restrictions on nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) found in clothing and other textile products. The measure is intended to protect aquatic species. Use of NPE in textile manufacture in Europe was banned over 10 years ago but the substance is still released into the aquatic environment through imported textiles being washed. The proposal was brought forward by Sweden in 2013 and backed by scientists at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
A 2011 study by Greenpeace found NPE in two-thirds of clothes tested, including items sold by big-name brands such as Adidas, H&M, Lacoste, and Ralph Lauren. The new ban on textiles containing NPE in concentrations equal to or greater than 0.01 per cent will enter into force five years after it is adopted by the European Commission, which is likely to happen in the near future.
Redress works with multiple fashion designers, textile and garment manufacturers, retailers, schools and universities, multilateral organisations, governments, NGOs, financial institutions and media organisations for the cause. Redress was established in 2007 in Hong Kong and is a Hong Kong registered charity under S88 of the Inland Revenue. Redress was previously called Green2greener. Cutting waste out of fashion
The EcoChic Design Award, one of the key initiatives of Redress, is a sustainable fashion design competition inspiring emerging fashion designers and students to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste. Each competition cycle takes designers on an education and design journey lasting several theory and design-packed months.
Firstly, it educates designers about the fashion industry’s negative environmental impacts and the sustainable fashion design techniques, zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction that can combat this. Secondly, Redress provides designers with the tools, via lectures, videos, articles and recommended links, in order to develop their understanding of sustainable fashion design. It also challenges them to source textile waste, in its many forms, to enable them to transition towards sustainable design and sourcing and then the designers are put to the ultimate test – to cut waste out of fashion – through sustainable design competition. This puts sustainable design talent in the spotlight and rewards the best with career-changing prizes to change the pattern of fashion.
Expressing disappointment over RBI keeping its policy rate unchanged, the Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA) has appealed to the government to announce a three per cent interest subvention scheme for the garment sector.
“At this juncture, we strongly request the central government to announce three per cent interest subvention scheme on rupee packing credit to employment-intensive garment sector immediately with retrospective effect from April 1, 2015, for growth of exports,” TEA President A Shaktivel said in a statement.
Announcing the monetary policy that kept rates unchanged, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan has said that the headline inflation is at an elevated level and banks are yet to pass on full benefits of previous rate cuts. “We were expecting some reduction in repo rate in the third bi-monthly monetary policy of 2015-16, but unfortunately it has not happened,” he said.
Rajan kept the repo rate, at which RBI lends to banks, unchanged at 7.25 per cent and the cash reserve ratio, the proportion of deposits banks have to maintain with the central bank, at 4 per cent.
Copenhagen International Fashion Fair (CIFF) is under from August 5 to 7, 2015. The show in northern Europe presents carefully curated premium brands. CIFF first emerged on the Scandinavian fashion scene in 1993. The trade fair dedicated to women’s wear, men’s wear and accessories, is aiming to attract more than 600 exhibitors in this edition. It has for the first time opted for independent showrooms as well as representation sites.
The new season consolidates CIFF as a major player in the industry. Its children’s wear edition will take place at the same time as the adults’ version. CIFF this season expanded the Lab, Sleek and Urban concepts. Lab is a unisex high profile area, and Sleek is a specifically curated women’s wear area. Both areas feature fashion forward, design driven, innovative, local, international, established and upcoming designers and brands. Both Lab and Sleek will welcome new exhibitors and brands this season. Sleek will feature some very interesting high profile special projects. Urban features urban edge designers and brands within street wear and denim.
The new expansions will result in more room for brands, collaborations and creative and innovative projects thereby solidifying CIFF as the one-stop, leading destination for art, fashion, design and lifestyle in Copenhagen.
S M Tanveer, Chairman, All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association has said the month-long strike to be held from August 7 has been postpones as the FM had assured that issues regarding surcharge in electricity bills, innovative taxes and the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) would be resolved by the end of August. A yearly burden of Rs 175 billion, on the sector will be eased with the resolution of these issues.
Tanveer added that they would hold another general body meeting in early September to decide about their strategy regarding strike, if the government fails to resolve issues. On the finance minister’s request, the association had deiced to defer the strike, Tanveer explains. He further stated that the textile industry’s views were also endorsed by the standing committee on textile, after the industry made a presentation on industry issues. Wrong policies were the cause of textile mills being shut down.
The textile industry was over-burdened by the government, when they introduced GIDC worth Rs 38 billion, electricity surcharge worth Rs 78 billion and innovative taxes worth Rs 65 billion. Tanveer believes the government should first pay circular debt by taking credit from banks and then put it on the textile industry, once its converted the interest into surcharge. He said that the industry could not afford Rs 14.5 per unit electricity tariff, which is almost, double the price being charged in China, India and Bangladesh. This burden was too much to bear for the industry and compete in the region. This was because the textile industry, which had a capacity to produce products worth $3.4 biillion was on the verge of closure.
Lectra, the world leader in integrated technology solutions dedicated to industries using soft materials: fabrics, leather, technical textiles and composite materials, hosted its first apparel manufacturing seminar in Bordeaux-Cestas in France. The two-day event brought together close to 70 participants from different brands, retailers and manufacturers with experts and thought leaders from the fashion and apparel industry. Companies from 22 countries were in attendance, including businesses operating in the luxury and made-to-measure market, as well as mass manufacturers. The goal was to explore innovative ways to add value to their offer and share winning business strategies for today’s rapidly changing fashion marketplace.
“The world of business is changing quickly and nowhere is this more true than in fashion,” observed Daniel Harari, Lectra CEO, adding, “Today’s generation is more connected than ever, which has disrupted traditional business models and shifted the balance of power between brands, retailers and consumers. In order to remain competitive in this environment, companies have to completely rethink how they operate.”
The importance of moving from competitive to cooperative business strategies was a recurring theme during the event. David Birnbaum, President of Hong Kong-based consulting firm Third Horizon, emphasized the benefits of collaborative partnerships between suppliers and their customers during his presentation on garment sourcing. “You can’t compete with one another and still get ahead. Think of it as the difference between winning a race versus breaking a record. In the latter scenario, everybody wins,” he said.
This sentiment was echoed during a roundtable on the value of connecting brands, retailers and manufacturers, which featured panellists from British retail giant Marks & Spencer, Chinese made-to-measure manufacturer Red Collar and Sri Lankan exporter Omega Line. The discussion also touched on how today’s empowered consumer is turning the traditional retail business model on its head. The panellists noted that instead of retailers suggesting to customers what they want, customers are now telling retailers what they want, which represents a huge shift—and a huge opportunity—in how business needs to be handled.
Due to the fluctuations in dollar and euro, Bangladesh lost millions on exports last fiscal year. This could have been avoided, if the country had adopted a multi currency exchange rate. The multi currency exchange rate is a system that allows importers and exporters of any country to use any suitable currency in international trade. Generally, the US dollar is the most widely used currency for payment settlement in international trade.
Conceptualised in 2008, the multi-currency exchange rate is still at discussion levels. Until now, no country has adopted the regime. The Bangladesh taka appreciated 1.45 per cent against the dollar last year, due to which export earnings were lower than they should have been. At the same time, currencies of competing countries like the Indian rupee devalued 4.73 per cent against the dollar, the Pakistani rupee by 3.12 per cent and the Vietnamese dong by 1.3 per cent.
Bangladesh garment exporters say they are losing competitiveness and that the profit level in the garment business has gone down. They want the issues over currency exchange rates to be addressed so that the country does not suffer. It’s believed that hedging in international trade can effectively address the currency exchange risks.
As per Euratex’s latest estimates, the European Textile and Clothing industry and its exports to the US, reached a turnover of €165 billion in 2014. It generated a value added of nearly €44 billion, employing 1.63 million workers. A large number of SMEs, largely, support the European industry though big brands and companies also exist. The industry structure in the 28 Member States is diverse and provides a complex and patchy picture. A fragmented image is reflected of production due to the breakdown. It is almost equally divided between textiles (51 per cent) and clothing products (49 per cent).
The extra-EU exports of textile & clothing products reached €43 billion last year. These were divided almost equally between textiles and clothing. US, Europe’s first customer has exports reaching €4.91 billion last year, which were also divided equally between textiles (€2.35billion) and clothing (€2.56 billion).
Textile and clothing products are part of one third of industrial goods for which the US MFN tariffs are far above 5 per cent, stresses Euratex. There are some peak tariffs, though, such as 11.4 per cent for sewing thread of man-made filaments, 14.7 per cent for woven fabrics of cotton or 28.6 per cent for trousers and 32 per cent for T-shirts. Rules of origin are the main issue for EU’s textile and clothing sector against this background.
A good move would be to simplify the rules, but even better would be to adapt enough to the industry patterns. This will allow EU companies to gain the more benefits from TTIP.