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US organic cotton growers have planted the most acreage in 2014 since 1995. This despite grappling with limited seed supplies, persistent weeds and a shortage of seasonal labour, finds a report published recently. The Organic Trade Association (OTA), in its report titled ‘Preliminary 2014 US Organic Cotton Production & Marketing Trends’, reported a 14 per cent increase in organic cotton acres planted in 2014, from 15,973 in 2013 to 18,234, representing the largest planted organic cotton acreage in this country in almost 20 years.

OTA is committed to promote the growth of organic cotton industry and the organic fiber sector. The OTA report is based on a survey conducted in December of organic cotton growers in Arizona, California, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas. West Texas is the leading organic cotton region in the country. As per the report, organic cotton acreage has been slowly but steadily growing for the past several years. In 2013, acres planted rose 6 per cent to 14,787. Production increased by almost 20 per cent to 10,335 bales in 2014.

Commercial supplies of organic seed continue to be another major hurdle, with genetically modified (GM) seeds now dominating the marketplace. US organic cotton growers enjoy a healthy market for their products, and command a premium over non-organic cotton. Sales of organic cotton have grown significantly in recent years as consumers seek out sustainable, chemical-free fiber. Organic fiber is now the largest non-food organic category in the market, with organic fiber sales in the US closing in on $1 billion in 2013.

Bangladesh's Accord on Fire and Building Safety will have another licensee in the form of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for producing UNC-logoed clothing in the country. This policy will affect each new license contract and renewal for UNC-logoed goods, said the university. All existing licensees are already members of the Accord.

Following the collapse of Rana Plaza factory building in Dhaka nearly two years ago in which more than 1,100 people had lost their lives, nearly 200 companies have signed the Accord. The Accord includes independent safety inspections at factories and public reporting of the results of these inspections.

After an eight-month review of both the Accord and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety as well as its UNC’s own research, the university has opted for membership of the Accord.

Chancellor Carol Folt is reported to have said that the decision reaffirms UNC’s commitment to worker safety in Bangladesh and clarifies its position on the requirements for licensees that make UNC-logoed clothing in Bangladesh. The university will also provide an update via an annual system-wide review in January next year.

Munich ISPO saw very high attendance. It's a key European sporting goods and apparel trade show and was held from February 5-8. The event very saw the participation of 100 countries including China, Turkey, Spain, Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the United States who saw their numbers grow.  Among the 2,585 exhibitors, health and fitness segments saw the largest footfalls at the event held on 1.1 million sq. ft. area and 16 halls. As per Klaus Dittrich, President of Messe München, Ispo’s organizer, health and fitness is a fast-growing market. Since last year, ISPO has devoted an entire hall to the segment, with health and well-being are becoming increasingly important values. This trend creates new opportunities for the sports market, he observed.

As per a survey conducted at the show, the latest edition satisfied as many as 74 per cent exhibitors. Chinese sports goods supplier 361°, which is beginning to develop in Europe and was participating for the first time in the Munich show, were satisfied with the response. German brand Schöffel indicated that there were more contractors this year, including business leaders. 
EMEA vice president Olivier Cantet found the show useful helping to boost morale. One saw energy in the sector, new brands, new products, their development, trends, and accordingly plan for 2015-16, she observed. The next edition of Ispo Munich will be held from January 24-27,

Around four garment manufacturing units and over a dozen cars were damaged by a group of factory workers in Udyog Vihar, who got agitated over the rumoured death of their fellow worker working at Gaurav International.

According to report, Shammi, a quality checking staff of Gaurav International, a garment manufacturing unit in Udyog Vihar Phase III reached 10 minutes late to work. The guard on duty stopped and slapped him for coming in late for duty which led to a heated argument. The incident was followed by personnel manager of the unit along with four other guards thrashing the worker due to which he collapsed on the spot.

The worker was then rushed to the hospital, which led to rumours of his death. Fellow workers could not take it lightly and a mob of around 200 workers damages cars and manufacturing units to express their anger. Workers were also agitated since the guards and manager in question, who beat the worker were not arrested.

Lyocell fiber giant Lenzing has launched a new micro version of its tencel A100 fiber which has been specially developed for use in knitwear production and blends with wool and synthetic fibers. The Grimsby, UK, tencel plant specialises in the A100. Conventional A100 is mainly used for all fiber types for high end fashion, but the new micro version of A100 is said to be most appropriate for wool, silk and synthetics for sportswear and knit fashion.

The trend now is that people want to have a fabrics that better fits their shape, which are also finer and more lightweight. The A100 micro fiber fulfils the needs of these properties, which is one of its biggest advantages. A very interesting characteristic of the A100 version is that the color can be very intense, especially with black fibers. There is quite a significant difference in longevity between it and regular fibers.

Austria-based Lenzing group supplies the global textile and nonwovens industry with high quality man-made cellulose fibers. The portfolio ranges from dissolving pulp, standard and specialty cellulose fibers to engineering services. It’s the only company combining the manufacturing of all three man-made cellulose fiber generations on a large industrial scale under one roof – classic viscose to modal and lyocell fibers.

C.L.A.S.S. is taking its Spring/Summer 2016 collections of exclusive eco-materials, certified and carefully selected for their innovative characteristics through its second World Class Tour that began in Milan on February 3. The tour will now move to Copenhagen on February 23, then London on February 25, Madrid on March 3 and will conclude in New York on March 13.

The C.L.A.S.S. S/S 2016 World Class Tour premieres the latest, exclusive and innovative collections and trends for sustainable fabrics at the international fashion capitals of the world. C.L.A.S.S. is the style and international network platform that promotes the latest sustainable fabrics for the designer collections of tomorrow. According to the trend-watchers at C.L.A.S.S., S/S 2016 will be characterised by the contrast of strong emotions and softer contradictions, just like an emotional journey. There are two key trends: Unconventional Mellow - chromatic dynamism and multi-coloured patterns, which will have fabrics with shiny effects, geometric prints, drawn lines, irregular jacquards and light embossing. Next is Emotional Resonance having reliefs, circular knits, striped fabrics and denim looks.

The new products presented in the showrooms of C.L.A.S.S. employ yarns and fibres of the highest technological content for fabrics of the finest silk, 100 per cent bio cotton, knits, and the woolen fabrics.

Colombia is already known for its quality textiles and fabric, but now textile manufacturers from the country are directing their focus on offering performance gear and athletic wear to cater to the rising demand in this segment. It was evident at Colombiatex de las Americas, Latin America’s leading textile trade show held in Medellin, Colombia. Lafayette, a Bogota-based vertically integrated textile company with its new range attracted buyers’ attention at the show that witnessed around 10,000 buyers; visit it from January 27 to 29, 2015.

The more than 70-year-old company has an entirely integrated textile process from yarn manufacturing to weaving, knitting, printing and finishing, allowing for greater flexibility in research, development and innovation. Lafayette Sports, the company’s high tech textile solutions division, specializes in developing and manufacturing advanced performance fabrics for athletic wear in flat and knitted weave.

The company has developed 14 technologies, branded Laftech, designed to help athletes improve their performance and created based on ongoing research and testing, including Sun, Eco, Dry, Thermo, Dryplus, Repel, Seal, Odor Protect, Stretch, Aqua, Ripstop, Color, Sweat and Café. Lafayette Sports will unveil lightweight, breathable and eco-friendly performance fabrics in the coming year.

The Maharashtra government has set up a committee headed by additional chief secretary (textiles) to facilitate the shifting of the eight defunct mills of National Textile Corporation (NTC) and those that are in the process of being shut down. NTC has bought 40 acres in Vidarbha where it plans to set up four mills in lieu of the four it is planning to shut down in Mumbai. Of the 25 mills it owns in Mumbai, eight have already been shut down.

As per sources, the state government is considering an increase in the capital subsidy being provided to those units, which are being set up in cotton-growing areas of the state under the two-year old textile policy to give the industry a boost. Currently, the state government offers 10 per cent capital subsidy and 5-7 per cent interest subsidy to those setting up textile units in the cotton-growing areas. The interest subsidy is for all units even those that are set up in Satara, Solapur, Ichalkaranji, which do not produce cotton. The increase in capital subsidy may become a sore point in these parts of the state. Under the state's textile policy, 738 units have been sanctioned. Of these 246 units are already operational and provide employment to 10,800 people.

In a meeting with NTC officials a fortnight ago, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis made it clear that the government would help NTC shut its mills in Mumbai and develop the land, provided it set up textile units in Amravati. The condition is to set up the mills there, operationalize them and only then would the government allow NTC to commercially exploit its land in Mumbai, said a source.

Jalgaon is the largest producer of cotton in Maharashtra followed by Yavatmal in Vidarbha. Of the 80 lakh bales that are produced annually, 10 per cent is from Jalgaon (north Maharashtra). The decision may be opposed by political satraps in Satara, Sangli, Solapur and Ichalkaranji who have interests in the textile industry in these regions.

Chinese clothing and yarn production giant Luthai Textile Company plans to make India the hub for its OTC (over the counter) business, as it explores more markets for high end luxury yarn around the world. The company manufactures spin yarn, yarn-dyed fabric and piece-dyed fabric, apart from its own range of high quality shirts, at its facility in Zibo, Shandong province.

Its dyed cotton fabrics are exported to 30 countries in North America, Europe and the Far East, and sold to leading fashion labels. The company, which has traditionally been involved in B2B (business-to-business) operations, will for the first time explore a B2C (business-to-consumer) domain. Since OTC is big business in India, Luthai has joined hands with fabric trading company Blue Blends to set up a subsidiary, Luthai India, from where it will sell its luxury yarn dyed supima cotton fabric.

Around eight distributors have been appointed in India, besides one each in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh through which the company will retail its products via 4,000 dealers. Luthai’s Zibo facility has a monthly capacity of manufacturing 17 million meters of yarn dyed fabric, besides seven million meters of piece dyed fabric and 1.7 million shirts. The company is also eyeing a manufacturing facility in India in future.

Fed up with financial losses due to the ongoing country-wide blockade, owners of textile factories in Bangladesh have decided to observe a seven-hour token hunger strike on February 14. The decision was taken at an emergency joint meeting organized by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) BKMEA and BTMA at BGMEA in Dhaka. The program will continue until 6:00 pm beginning from 11:00 am on the day in front of the BGMEA building in Dhaka.

President of Exporter Association Bangladesh (EAB), Abdus Salam Murshedy, former president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Asif Ibrahim, and president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), Tapan Chowdhury, were present at the meeting attended by a large number of members.

Atiqul Islam, President, BGMEA, said that the sector had suffered a direct loss of Tk 6,710 crores in January due to the political deadlock. On the other hand, a discount of Tk 5,000 crores was made for delayed shipment at that time. He claimed garment orders worth Tk10,000 crores have been cancelled during this time.

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