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Industry News | 1/17/24


Security, Energy Issues Hinder Mexico Apparel Sector’s Nearshoring Efforts
Just Style | January 17, 2024

Concerns about security and energy costs in Mexico could cost its clothing and textile industry a golden opportunity to seize nearshoring business in the United States, business experts have warned. Some apparel companies are choosing to relocate their Mexican operations to southern states in the U.S. such as Arizona and Texas, where there is availability of energy, industrial land, and better access to automation technologies.


 
Bangladesh Garment Factory ‘Closed’ as Workers Protest ‘Unfair Termination’
Just Style | January 17, 2024

According to local news reports, around 500 garment workers from Anlima Textile Limited in Bangladesh have been protesting the "unfair" termination of their co-workers and non-payment of their arrears which has led to "indefinite" closure of the factory.


 
SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Tukatech Unveils Its New Innovation Center for Apparel and Fashion Product Development
Apparel Resources | January 16, 2024

Fashion technology company Tukatech announced the inauguration of its state-of-the-art Innovation Center strategically situated in the heart of the Los Angeles Fashion District. This advanced facility is crafted to serve fashion brands eager to reestablish their product development within the United States through reshoring and nearshoring initiatives. The center supports every facet of the apparel product development cycle, encompassing 2D patterns, 3D samples, and digital fabric printing, cutting, sewing, and finishing for a diverse range of products.


 
Under Armour Taps New Chief Product Officer, Head of Americas
Retail Dive | January 12, 2024

Almost a year into CEO Stephanie Linnartz’s tenure, Under Armour is continuing its leadership revamp, with a new chief product officer and president of the Americas, the retailer announced. Yassine Saidi, who has nearly 20 years of experience at brands including Adidas and Puma, will join the retailer as chief product officer at the end of January.


 
Heimtextil Ends with an Increase in Exhibitors, a Plus in Visitors and Sets New Standards for a Sustainable and AI-Driven Textile Industry
Press Release | January 12, 2024

With intercontinental strength, Heimtextil 2024 laid the foundation for a record year for Messe Frankfurt. A record 46,000 buyers from around 130 nations took the opportunity to participate in the global textile market — from upholstery and decorative fabrics, bed and bathroom textiles, mattresses, functional textiles, and carpets to wallpapers, outdoor fabrics, artificial leather, curtains, fibers, yarns, sleeping systems, and decorative cushions. With 2,838 exhibitors from 60 nations, the show also saw a 25% increase in exhibitor numbers compared to the previous year’s event.


 
New U.S. Bill Aims To Regulate ‘Fast Fashion’ in Washington
Fashion United | January 12, 2024

A new Washington bill sponsored by state representative Sharlett Mena has been introduced in an attempt to regulate the fast fashion industry in the way of securing a more sustainably transparent future for the sector. Washington’s bill follows comparable acts introduced in New York and California, both of which would similarly require fashion businesses to be transparent regarding their environmental and social impact.


 
Extreme Weather Is 2024’s Top Supply Chain Risk: Everstream
Supply Chain Dive | January 11, 2024

Extreme weather events are the top risk facing supply chains in 2024, according to an annual outlook report from Everstream Analytics. The firm attached a risk score of 100% to the possibility of extreme weather causing supply chain disruption. That assessment follows a year where weather caused havoc for supply chains, from crop failures to storm damage to slowdowns on major shipping channels. Among other examples, heavy rains and flooding in California, Nevada, and Utah in spring of 2023 caused a 20-30% decrease in shipments in areas where transportation systems were disrupted, according to Everstream’s analysis.


 
SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Lectra Americas President Says People Are Fundamental to AI’s Success
Just Style | January 10, 2024

SPESA Board member and Lectra's President of the Americas, Leonard Marano, says AI is taking off in a big way in the fashion sector but without people as the driving force, the industry will struggle to harness its full potential. Read more in his interview with Just Style.


 
HanesBrands and the Georgia Tech Extend Apparel Partnership
Fashion United | January 10, 2024

Georgia Tech joins more than 25 prestigious universities, such as Florida State, Penn State, University of Michigan, Clemson, and Auburn, in exclusive mass retail agreements with HanesBrands. Additionally, HanesBrands holds primary apparel partnerships with more than 12 top institutions, including UNC Chapel Hill, the University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University, and the University of Georgia.


 
Bangladesh Garment Makers Praise VAT Relief at Ports
Sourcing Journal | January 9, 2024

Garment makers in Bangladesh have hailed the government’s decision to lift a value-added tax (VAT) on port services for export-oriented industries, saying that it will provide some measure of relief during trying economic times. The move will “reduce operational costs” for beleaguered businesses that are facing multiple headwinds, including collapsing orders in the face of breakneck inflation and escalating geopolitical turmoil says Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).


 
SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Lectra Acquires Majority Stake in Launchmetrics
Press Release | January 9, 2024

SPESA member Lectra has announced an agreement to acquire the majority of the capital and voting rights of American company Launchmetrics. Founded in 2015, Launchmetrics develops and sells an innovative cloud-based SaaS platform, composed of seven modules, dedicated to brand performance, for marketing and communications professionals in the fashion, lifestyle, and beauty markets.


 
WPT Nonwovens Cuts Ribbon on $19.5M Manufacturing Center with 35 Jobs
The Lane Report | January 8, 2024

The $19.5 million capital investment includes a 75,000 sq ft manufacturing center with a state-of-the-art carded nonwoven production line, which adds more than 12,000 annual metric tons of capacity for HVAC filtration media and hygiene fabrics to the company’s manufacturing capabilities. The project initially began as a $10.7 million investment in 2021 and has since grown significantly in scale. WPT’s investment will create 35 quality manufacturing jobs and bolster the domestic supply chain for these product lines for many other Kentucky finished product manufacturers.


 
SPESA Picks LA for Next Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference
Sourcing Journal | January 8, 2024

SPESA’s Michael McDonald speaks with Sourcing Journal about the upcoming Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference to be held in Los Angeles, April 11, 2024. According to Mr. McDonald, Los Angeles is “still one of the largest [manufacturing] hubs in the U.S.” He goes on to say: “I think there’s a strong history and a strong manufacturing sector there, so it’s an exciting place to be.” Click here to learn more and register for the event.


 
SPESA Advancements Conference Heads to California for First Time
Just Style | January 8, 2024

SPESA’s Michael McDonald on the upcoming Advancements Conference in Los Angeles: “We’re very excited about heading west for our next edition of the SPESA Advancements Conference. The value of the Advancements Conference isn’t just about the quality of content and information-sharing that is generated during the event. There’s also significant value in the locations that these events are held. It’s a priority of SPESA’s to host events in markets where innovation and positive change are not only being discussed but are actually being implemented. Los Angeles fits this strategic bill for us.”


 
Manufacturing Trends To Watch in 2024: Rising Costs
Manufacturing Dive | January 8, 2024

Rising costs were a top challenge for manufacturers in 2023 — and this year looks to be no different. Inflation caused prices to spike for not only materials, but wages and energy. And while inflation has cooled in recent months and prices have started to stabilize, the issue of how to mitigate high costs remains a key priority for companies at the start of the year. This balance has been difficult for manufacturers, as low demand remains a consistent drag on the industry and has caused more companies to cut both supply and labor costs and lower production.


 
‘We Haven’t Seen this Situation Before’: A Perfect Storm of Supply Chain Issues Could Impact Retailers Globally
Modern Retail | January 8, 2024

The Suez Canal isn’t the only maritime passageway experiencing supply chain disruptions after Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi group continues to attack commercial ships in the Red Sea. Daily transit in the Panama Canal has also been reduced from 29 to 25 ships due to drought. The Panama Canal and the Suez Canal are two of the most important routes for global trade as they cut down travel time and eliminated the need for ships to take more dangerous paths. The Panama Canal’s daily transit will decline further to 18 ships in February. For reference, as much as 36 vessels travel through the Panama Canal under normal circumstances. 


Additional coverage on Suez Canal disruptions can be found here. Supply chain disruptions was also a major topic during the recent National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show. Hear from FedEx CEO Raj Subramaniam on the Red Sea’s impact (or lack thereof) for the logistics giant.


 
Legislation Is Coming for Fashion’s Supply Chains. Are You ready?
Vogue Business | January 8, 2024

This year is set to be a tipping point for fashion’s supply chains, as brands and suppliers race to comply with incoming legislation and meet 2025 sustainability goals. Economic, geopolitical, and climate instabilities will continue to impact the global sourcing landscape in 2024. Within a brand’s control is how it prepares for relevant legislation, invests in technology to enable visibility and uncover risks, and develops meaningful working relationships with suppliers.


 
H&M Supplier Plots $73 Million Denim Expansion
Rivet | January 8, 2024

Badsha Group of Industries is opening a ready-made garment (RMG) factory with the goal of $700 million in annual export earnings. Md Badsha Mia, managing director of Badsha Group, told reporters that production will begin next year and employ at least 15,000 workers. The company also has a three-phase plan to reach $700 million in annual denim exports.


 
Garment Workers Among the Lowest-Paid industrial Workers Globally
Fashion United | January 5, 2024

A decade after global fashion brands committed to raising garment workers' wages to a living wage, progress remains slow. To keep retail prices competitive and maintain profit margins, fashion brands often place significant pressure on their suppliers to minimize production costs. This frequently leads to the suppression of wages for garment workers, who are among the lowest-paid industrial workers globally. Advocates urge the establishment of higher wage levels for supplier factories, emphasizing the need for a clear implementation schedule. 


For more information on varying garment worker wages, check out this article from Sourcing Journal. It features report data from Evaillance — a French company that analyzes salaries to help monitor enforcement of economic agreements between the EU and Southeast Asia.


 
Over One Million Dollars Recovered for Californian Garment Workers
Fashion United | January 5, 2024

The U.S. Department of Labor announced that it has recovered over one million dollars in back wages and damages for 165 garment workers after an investigation found a series of malpractices by Los Angeles garment contractors. The settlement, considered to be the largest for Californian garment workers to date, was linked to the operations of four of the city’s sewing contractors, which had come under investigation from the department’s Wage and Hour Division. 


Garment workers rights will be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference in Los Angeles, April 11, 2024. Click here to learn more and register for the event.


 
Allbirds, Adidas-Backed EVA Recycling Tech Scores $50K in New Funding
Sourcing Journal | January 5, 2024

Braskem America, a Philadelphia-based polypropylene producer, has snagged an R&D grant of more than $50,000 to support its research into grappling with ethylene-vinyl acetate, or EVA, waste. Footwear circularity has been a tough nut to crack because of the sheer complexity of a shoe’s design. A single sneaker can comprise dozens of diverse components, designed to promote performance or increase comfort, that are difficult to disassemble into different streams for end-of-life management that also makes economic sense.


 
A Factory in Maine Proves ‘Made in America’ Is Still Possible (Opinion)
The New York Times | January 5, 2024

Ben and Whitney founded their company, American Roots, with a mission: to prove that capitalism and labor can work together to create community, good jobs, and great products. They chose apparel making because it was fairly easy to get into and all components could be sourced domestically. Since founding American Roots, Ben and Whitney have helped to lift families out of poverty by offering a pathway to the middle class through manufacturing. And they’re not alone. Small manufacturing shops across the country are doing just that at this very moment. According to the article, building a resilient domestic supply chain starts with a “manufacturing-first” drive focused on job training, transportation infrastructure, R&D, financing, and universal healthcare.


 
SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Cloud PLM Software Revolution Helps Fashion Brands Compete
Just Style | January 5, 2024

Cloud PLM (product lifecycle management) software solutions are growing in number and functionalities to meet fashion clients’ needs as brands strive to improve their cost savings, sustainability, and transparency. Just Style explains how cloud PLM software helps to manage goods and associated data from production to disposal within the fashion industry, breaking down top product examples including BlueCherry Next PLM from SPESA member CGS, Inc, as well as 3D Avatars from SPESA member Alvanon.


 
Will Robots Replace Garment Workers in Future?
Just Style | January 4, 2024

The eternal question. In the immediate future, Falko Schubert, a research associate for robotics and automation at the Saxon Textile Research Institute, predicts the major robot-related breakthroughs for textile-garment business cases might be related to the automation of data. He stressed how recent years have brought robust progress in the usage of artificial intelligence for order and turnover prediction, handling of customer complaints, and supply chain fulfillment.


 
The Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) at Catawba Valley Community College Is Accepting Applications for Business Incubator
Press Release | January 4, 2024

The MSC business incubator is available to new businesses and extensions of existing businesses interested in making a product in the United States. “We’re proud to have supported startups through our business incubator and to see the jobs they have generated, as well as the positive impact they’ve had in our community,” said MSC Director Jeff Neuville. “We look forward to helping entrepreneurs start more U.S. manufacturing companies and continuing to build a strong domestic manufacturing base.”


 
Fashion Production’s Climate Crisis in 4 Graphs
Sourcing Journal | January 3, 2024

Jason Judd, executive director at Cornell University Global Labor Institute and Angus Bauer, head of sustainable investment research at Schroders, a London-based asset management firm, analyze the present and future risks of exposure to extreme heat and flooding in some of the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries for apparel workers, suppliers, fashion brands, and investors.


 
SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Build Smart, Lead Strong | ISAIC and Detect-It Connected for Industry 4.0 Technology Showcase
Michigan Business Network | December 23, 2023

As part of its “Build Smart. Lead Strong.” podcast highlighting the innovative work being done by Michigan manufacturers, the Michigan Business Network spoke with Kevin Kerwin, President and CEO of Detect-It, and SPESA member Lionel Vargas-Cruz, Director of Operations, Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC), about the companies’ collaboration on Industry 4.0 technology. ISAIC was introduced to Detect-It through the Centrepolis Accelerator and ultimately funded through an Industry 4.0 grant with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and supported by the Manufacturing Growth Alliance.


 
SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | SEDDI Partners with PUKKA INDONUSA To Promote Affordable End-To-End Textile Digitization Platform
Press Release | December 11, 2023

SPESA member SEDDI and PUKKA INDONUSA have teamed up to offer SEDDI Textura, the award-winning cloud-native textile digitization platform. SEDDI Textura features enable brands to seamlessly create, share, and manage digital textiles in one comprehensive platform, helping to speed new products to market. SEDDI Textura also improves the accuracy and efficiency of DPC processes, allowing brands and manufacturers to bring products to market quickly and sustainably, reducing the waste from physical sampling.


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