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Pitti Filati the trade fair for textile fibers took place in Italy from January 28 to 30. This edition attracted nearly 100 exhibitors. It brings a complete range of knitted clothing under one roof. The show gives an excellent opportunity for designers and retailers to work along with top designers to get an international exposure and find their target customers, retailers and manufacturers. 

The show attracts professionals from textile, apparel, knitting, knitwear, fashion, wool and yarn background. It often does the unconventional. An earlier edition had a selection of underground international luxury brands. One of the highlights of the January show was the specialized denim section ‘Denim Italiano’. It presented general denim trends. Nearly 20 exhibitors from Italian denim industry, accessories and trimming manufacturers, garment makers and laundries took part. 

The show provided each company a mood board and a mannequin they could personalize. The previous edition had six specialized denim consultants who interpreted the exhibitors’ new material collections and designs and produced actual garments according to trends that will influence the market. Another highlight of the show was yarn from organically grown raw materials.

In a move that aims to set out responsible and ethical business practices for its burgeoning apparel industry, the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) published the country’s first ever Code of Conduct. The document is designed as a benchmark for responsible business practices in Myanmar’s rapidly growing garment sector and it comes from extensive workshops with the European Union’s SMART Myanmar project. 

A first for Myanmar’s apparel producers, the Code embraces International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Conventions and the strictures of Myanmar’s national laws. Myanmar’s garment sector consists of around 300 companies with some 1.5 lakh workers. Garment exports went past the $1 billion mark in 2013-’14, accounting for about 10 per cent of the country’s overall exports. For Europe in particular, exports to the EU doubled in 2014. Nearly all these orders went to producers able to pass international social compliance audits such as: BSCI, WRAP, SEDEX, SA8000 and the Ethical Trading Initiative, among others. 

Factories adhering to the full Code of Conduct will open themselves up to the massive influx of international orders coming from Europe and the US who demand socially responsible manufacturing practices from their producers, the MGMA says.

Sri Lanka hopes to achieve this year's target of $5 billion export revenue. The country is keen on signing a Free Trade Agreement with China and a Memorandum of Understanding with Japan. The loss of GSP Plus status was a big blow to the country’s economic development as EU countries account for 60 per cent of the country’s exports. America and Europe are the main buyers for Sri Lanka. 

Buyers placing orders have the choice of selecting fabric and accessories from any part of the world to be brought to Sri Lanka for conversion into finished apparels. There is an advantage in sourcing from Sri Lanka due to its central location, which provides the shortest shipping times to Europe. The European Union in 2010 suspended trade concessions under the Generalised System of Preferences Plus for Sri Lanka because of violations of human rights agreements. 

As of now, Lanka’s exporters have lost their duty free access to EU and their shipments are charged an import duty of about 9.6 per cent. But the country hopes to get the status revived possibly through some concessions like guarantees of future compliance.

The next edition of Bread & Butter is poised to take place from July 2 to 4, 2015, in Germany. The show will have a new concept, based on the assumption that the industry’s challenges cannot be solved with conventional trade shows alone. But it will stick to its motto of fun and profit. The objective is to enhance the brands’ appeal and not mere coverage of necessities. 

Bread & Butter event showcases contemporary clothing culture and presents an exclusive collection of designer clothing, denim, sportswear, street fashion, function wear and casual dress up. It provides a communication and marketing platform to exhibitors. The July show will have fashion events, festivals and concerts. There will be lifestyle and fashion brands. 

Bread & Butter was founded in 2001 and has been held in January and July ever since though the January 2015 show didn’t take place. The trade show succeeds in attracting a large number of visitors who get the flavor of only select brands. The event also conducts various performances and attractive forums. 

It is the exclusive brand portfolio and the recognition from European and global textile industry that has made Bread & Butter a leading trade fair and superior trademark.     

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) will link fabric mills to the Better Cotton Tracer. This is an online traceability platform used by ginners, spinners and retailers. It records purchases and sales of Better Cotton. This means retailers and brands belonging to Better Cotton Initiative will now be able to trace their cotton purchases more accurately and transparently. 

Initially this program will only be run as a pilot. It will give fabric mills access to the Better Cotton Tracer for one year and allow members of BCI to track the use of Better Cotton more easily throughout the supply chain. For the first time, some retailers will have full transparency from the raw materials to the end product. 

BCI aims to recruit 250 fabric mills as users in 2015, before assessing the success of the fabric mill pilot category. BCI hopes that by extending the use of the Better Cotton Tracer across different actors, it can contribute to more trusting relationships between these actors and a more transparent cotton sector as a whole. 

The Better Cotton Tracer brings BCI closer to the possibility of having full physical traceability as an option for retail and brand members in 2016. BCI exists to make global cotton production better for people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future.

A sharp fall in euro is affecting Bangladesh's garment exports. The euro has fallen to a four-year low in January and its value has eroded by 12 per cent. Some developing countries considered rivals to Bangladesh in the export market have depreciated their currencies to tap the benefits from a falling euro. 

Exports of Vietnam and Cambodia to the eurozone grew 28.9 per cent and 23.9 per cent respectively in July to September. Even Pakistan’s exports which also enjoys GSP Plus status from the European Union, surged by 30 per cent during the period under review. The 27-member eurozone remains Bangladesh’s largest export destination. 

The decline in euro’s value is affecting the garment sector in terms of price cuts. Buyers will procure reduced amounts from Bangladesh if they get the same items from cheaper sources where the currencies have been depreciated against the dollar. The competitiveness of Bangladesh exports is being eroded following the rise in the real effective exchange rate of the taka. 

If buyers from the eurozone lower their imports from Bangladesh, it will adversely impact export volumes. European buyers pay in euro and in terms of dollar the value falls.

Claiming improvement in plant efficiency and productivity, Huntsman Textile Effects has launched a new range of high-performance ‘Terasil’ branded disperse dyes for polyester, polyester/cotton and micro-fibre and elastane blends. The dye is compatible with a range of key environmental standards such as bluesign, Oeko-Tex 100 and satisfies the RSL needs of major brands and the ZDHC Group.

The new ‘Terasil TC’ range comprises a complete set of intelligent mixes for dyeing medium to dark shades, with six colours currently available: yellow, orange, rubine red, blue, turquoise and black. The dyes fulfill Oeko-Tex 100 requirements, are bluesign-certified, and satisfy the Restricted Substances List (RSL) requirements of the major brands and the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Group. 

The high performance, most wash-fast dyes are uneconomical for many end uses of polyester and its blends. Mills require high-quality disperse dyes that are fit-for applications adding that the economical Terasil TC range has been engineered to deliver optimal fastness and reliable operating performance at competitive cost. These dyes provide minimum sensitivity to reduction, good fastness to dry heat, good pH stability, good coverage of barriness and minimum staining on adjacent cotton fibre, claims Huntsman.

Bangladesh's garment exports to new destinations are increasing substantially though shipments to traditional markets have come down. New markets are promising mainly due to the government’s stimulus package, aggressive marketing by exporters and relaxation of the rules of origin by some countries. 

Apparel exports to new destinations, all markets except the EU, the US and Canada, rose 15.47 per cent year-on-year in July to December of the current fiscal year. Major new export destinations are: Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey. 

During the six month from July to December, Bangladesh’s garment exports to the US declined 5.18 per cent, to EU 3.53 per cent, and to Canada 14.60 per cent. Exports to South American countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Chile are growing at a faster rate. Garment exports to non-traditional markets got a boost when the government offered an incentive package to businesses in fiscal 2008-09 to offset the impact of the global financial crisis on the sector. 

Generally, 60 per cent of Bangladesh’s garment items are destined for the EU, 23 per cent to the US, six per cent to Canada and the rest to other countries.

The intimate apparel market in China may witness a rise of 17.99 percent between 2014 and 2019 as the consumer shifts from basics to fashion lingerie, according to a recent report by TechNavio.

“Globalization has had a huge impact on the fashion industry in China,” said Faisal Ghaus, Vice President of TechNavio, after releasing the report on China’s intimate apparel market in China. He further added saying, “The young female population is investing significant amounts of time and money to stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends, which directly impact the intimate-wear market in China.”

The report found that while basic intimate items continue to be popular with Chinese consumers, they are looking for a wider range of offerings, including fashion intimates, thermals and loungewear. “Though consumers will spend on purchasing new types of products, at the same time they will show growing interest for ‘bare necessity’ products as the market is expecting the emergence of new trends with respect to fabric and design,” it added.

It further says that the Chinese domestic market is preparing for fierce competition with increased threat from foreign companies. London-based TechNavio is a research and advisory company that employs about 200 analysts globally and covers more than 500 technologies across 80 countries.

With leading western destinations shifting their sourcing to other countries, garment exporters from Bangladesh are moving their shipments to new destinations. Data shows that while the exports to traditional markets saw a decline, shipments to new destinations witnessed a sharp increase.

Apparel exports to new destinations, all markets except the EU, the US and Canada, for instance increased 15.47 per cent year-on-year to $1.87 billion in the first six months from July-December of the current fiscal year, according to Export Promotion Bureau. The major new export destinations that have emerged strong include Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey.

During the six-month period, Bangladesh's garment exports to the US declined 5.18 percent, to EU 3.53 percent, and to Canada 14.60 percent. However, garment exports to non-traditional markets were encouraged by the government’s incentive package to businesses during the fiscal year 2008-09. Under the scheme, the government gave 5 per cent cash incentive to garment exporters in fiscal 2009-10, 4 percent in fiscal 2010-11 and 2 percent in fiscal 2011-12. The exporters continue to receive 2 percent cash incentive for exporting to the new destinations.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau, Usually Bangladesh's 60 per cent apparel products are exported to the EU, 23 per cent to the US, 6 percent to Canada and the rest to other countries.

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