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Industry News | 1/18/23

SPESA to Host 2023 Executive Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 30 & 31, 2023
Press Release | January 18, 2023

The conference will kick off with a keynote address from Jonathan Fantini Porter, Executive Director and CEO of the Partnership for Central America (PCA). PCA is the coordinating body of the White House public-private partnership launched by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris in 2021. In its first six months, the partnership mobilized $1.2 billion in foreign direct investment and launched programs supporting 20 million people, including nearshoring more than $150 million in manufacturing supply chains to the Americas.


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Will Section 301 Tariffs Be Lifted and What Will It Mean for the Future of Apparel, Footwear, and Textiles?
By Just Style | January 18, 2023

The U.S. apparel, footwear, and retail sectors are at loggerheads with the textile industry over the impact of Section 301 tariffs on U.S. imports from China. Speaking exclusively to Just Style, University of Delaware Associate Professor of Fashion and Apparel Studies, Dr. Sheng Lu, comments on the conflicting opinions of the two sides and explains why he believes the Biden Administration will, at least in the near term, be looking to retain the tariffs. (Readers can also learn more from Just Style and law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg on mitigating the impact of 301 tariffs here.)


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SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Coming Soon! Alvanon Workshops | Charlotte, NC on March 8th and 9th
Press Announcement | January 18, 2023

Save the date for an Alvanon workshop taking place March 8 & 9, 2023, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Alvanon workshops are intended to provide a constructive and candid overview of the common topics and challenges in DPC and working in 3D. Workshop topics to be announced.


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Kenya Rebuilding Flagging Textile Industry
By Sourcing Journal | January 18, 2023

Kenya’s State Department for Industrialization announced plans to invest 200 million shillings (USD$1.6 million) to revamp and reopen closed garment factories in the country as part of a plan to elevate Kenya’s economic potential and revive companies with the potential to employ thousands. The agency aims to expand the industry and grow employment from 50,000 to 500,000 over the next five years. News stations have also reported plans to open ginneries in cotton-growing counties to increase acreage of cotton-producing land in the East African nation.

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Nashville's Prange Apparel Brings Fashion Designers' Ideas to Life
The Tennessean | January 17, 2023

Founded in 2013, Prange Apparel is focused on U.S. cut-and-sew garment manufacturing, investing in a 6,000-square-foot facility in Nashville last year. The Tennessean sat down with the company’s owner Megan Prange to talk about her support of Music City's independent designers, her company's origins, and the way she embraces ethical ways to create clothing.


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Private Equity Persuades Italian Luxury Suppliers that Bigger Is Better
By Reuters | January 16, 2023

With its tradition of sophisticated craftsmanship, Italy is home to thousands of small manufacturers that cover 50-55% of the global production of luxury clothing and leather goods, consultancy Bain calculates. However, largely family-owned and small in size, these businesses often struggle to meet the changing needs of luxury brands. To address luxury shoppers' growing sustainability concerns while also securing timely deliveries, brands are looking to establish closer ties with suppliers, who in turn require hefty investments to track where they source materials and build an adequate digital backbone. Private equity funds, after running out of big brands to buy, have now locked on to the challenges of the luxury industry's supply chain and turned to a "buy and build" strategy.


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SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Zünd Systemtechnik AG Acquires Spain-based Sign-Tronic
By Fibre2Fashion | January 13, 2023

Zünd Systemtechnik AG has recently acquired its long-standing sales partner Sign-Tronic S.A, which is based in Barcelona, Spain. Sign-Tronic has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Zünd Systemtechnik AG since the start of 2023 and now operates under the name Zund Ibérica. Sign-Tronic was established in 1990 and has been an official sales and service partner of Zünd Systemtechnik AG since 1994.


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EU Textile Plants Face New Requirements Under Emissions Law
By Just Style | January 16, 2023

Some 3000 chemical and 300 textile industry plants in the EU will have to comply with new legal norms adopted under the EU Industrial Emissions Directive to reduce their environmental impact. The new European Commission Decisions refer specifically to the management and treatment of waste gas in the chemical sector and a series of activities in the textile industry. While existing facilities will have four years to adapt, new facilities will be expected to comply immediately. This move is the latest in the European Commission’s progress toward the “Zero Pollution Ambition” to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent.


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Investments in Ports Foretell the Future of Global Commerce
By The Economist | January 14, 2023

When seaborne trade boomed last century, investments in logistics reflected shifts in the global patterns of production and consumption. They are doing so again. And this time the future looks leaner, smarter — and more eastern. The construction of Tuas Mega Port at the western tip of Singapore symbolizes, in many ways, the future of global commerce and predictions that South-East Asia’s five largest economies (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand) will be the fastest-growing bloc in the world by trade volumes between 2022 and 2027.


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Why Macy’s and Furniture Companies Are Paying More Attention to Responsible Sourcing
By Modern Retail | January 13, 2023

In March 2022, Macy's announced a $5 billion commitment to become more sustainable in its policies and practices. Part of what’s motivating brands like Macy’s is increasing recognition from shoppers about the environmental impact of production: the eco-friendly furniture market hit $43.26 billion in 2022 with an expected CAGR of 8.6% through 2030, per a recent Grand View Research report.


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SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Introducing the 2023 GSV Cup Elite 200 — the World’s Most Disruptive Startups in Digital Learning and Workforce Skills
By Medium | January 4, 2023

SPESA member Shimmy Technologies was recently recognized as a 2023 GSV Cup Elite 200. The GSV Cup was created to support and increase exposure for the next generation of early stage companies in the Digital Learning and Workforce Skills sector. It’s a pitch competition for pre-seed and seed stage startups in digital learning for all ages.


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American-Made: Insiders Dissect ‘Newshoring’ and U.S. Manufacturing Revival
By Sourcing Journal | January 12, 2023

Advantages in the supply chain, desire for American goods abroad, and an ever-growing call for onshoring, nearshoring, reshoring, and sustainability have pushed the needle when it comes to a Made in America revival. This article features insight from key players in the industry on the future of U.S. manufacturing, including AAFA CEO Steve Lamar who coined the term “newshoring.”


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What Fashion Needs to Know About 2023’s Legislative Landscape
By Sourcing Journal | January 12, 2023

From New York State and California, to China and Europe, 2022 saw a “rapid-fire volley of rules and legislation” across the global fashion industry as a means of cleaning up supply chains and holding brands accountable for responsible and ethical production. It’s predicted that this will not slow down in 2023. For example, by the close of 2023, every garment sold in France will have to feature an eco-label detailing its climate impact.


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Biden’s Mexico Trip Highlights Nearshoring Opportunity
By Sourcing Journal | January 11, 2023

Though businesses continue to mull Mexico as a sourcing option away from Asia after years marked by shipping delays and production shutdowns, Jorge Gonzales Henrichsen, co-CEO of The Nearshore Company believes America’s southern neighbor must do more to make itself attractive to foreign investment. “Much shorter supply chains, low cost labor, respect for intellectual property rights, and USMCA free trade pact-associated benefits are all great reasons to move operations to Mexico, but we need both countries to offer more to get businesses to move operations close to home,” he said.


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Why ‘Unsexy’ Tech Will Be a Priority in 2023
By Business of Fashion | January 10, 2023

Tools and technologies that shore up a brand’s core business may not get pulses racing quite like NFTs and virtual worlds, but with major economies expecting a slowdown, they’re the sorts of investments that can help brands weather the uncertainty. Many brands and retailers are wary of repeating last year’s inventory miscalculations, thus increasing interest in technologies that let retailers make better forecasts and tailor their assortments to avoid overstock and keep margins high.


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SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | A Tale of Thrifty Germans and Digitalized Shoe Manufacturing
By World of Print | January 9, 2023

This article features German shoe manufacturer Berkemann as an example of how a combination of frugality, expertise, and consummate skill in digitalization processes can propel German shoe manufacturing to the top. On multiple occasions, the article references how Berkemann is leveraging SPESA member Zünd to completely digitalize its cutting rooms.


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The Year Ahead in Textiles
By Textile Technology Source (ATA) | January 9, 2023

“Stability will be the key word for the year ahead, from securing supply chains and raw materials to energy prices and trade agreements. Much of this is outside the producer’s control, so that creating points of stability where possible will be more crucial than ever,” says Dr. Marie O’Mahony, an industry consultant specializing in smart and advanced textile technology and market trend reports for global clients.


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The Ten Apparel Sourcing Countries to Watch in 2023
By Just Style | January 6, 2023

Using data from the GlobalData's Apparel Intelligence Center, Just Style has named the top ten apparel sourcing countries to watch in 2023, including Thailand, Egypt, Morocco, Guatemala, China, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, and Turkey. Vietnam came in at number one for the second year in a row.


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Fabrics Manufacturer to Invest $3.1 million to Purchase HanesBrands Plant in Virginia
Press Release | January 6, 2023

Apex Mills has agreed to purchase a former HanesBrands plant in Virginia. The $3.1 million investment, which includes the facility and its equipment, will allow 96 current employees to keep their jobs and create 44 additional positions. According to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Apex Mills will fulfill contracts for the Hanes clothing brand, as well as optimize the facility to increase production.


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Coast is (Almost) Clear as Port Congestion Fades Even Further
By Freight Waves | January 6, 2023

Port of Long Beach statistics show the number of loaded import containers waiting at terminals for nine days or more is down 96% from the peak in late 2021. There were a total of 65,000 loaded import containers waiting on Long Beach terminals (regardless of wait time) in late November 2021. There were only 14,921 earlier in January.


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U.S. SMEs Explore Nearshoring to Avoid Supply Chain Disruption
By Air Cargo News | January 6, 2023

A survey from Gartner-owned consultant Capterra shows that 88% of 300 recently surveyed U.S. small- and medium-sized enterprises plan or are currently in the process of switching at least some of their suppliers closer to the U.S. in 2023.The survey also found that those surveyed rate economic inflation, lack of inventory, and the economic recession among their top three concerns for the year.


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‘The Job Has Become Way More Complex’: Why So Many Apparel Retailers Are Shaking Up Their C-suites in 2023
By Modern Retail | January 6, 2023

The new year brings new challenges — and a new wave of C-suite changes — to footwear and apparel retail companies, many of which are navigating a tricky set of economic and industry-wide headwinds. Retail and apparel companies are overwhelmingly impacted by economic downturns, since they rely so much on consumer demand. If a recession does come to pass in 2023, more retailers may find themselves preparing for succession plans.


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California’s Workers’-Rights Push Threatens What’s Left of ‘Made in the USA’ Fashion
By Bloomberg | January 5, 2023

Los Angeles has long been the country’s premier hub for garment manufacturing, but a combination of new labor legislation (California’s Garment Worker Protection Act) and rising costs could be threatening the future of “Made in the USA” clothing. For this article, Bloomberg interviewed Los Angeles-based apparel companies that are choosing to send work overseas to cut their losses as well as companies that will stay put, making a commitment to fair labor, despite possible higher costs. Textile mills and apparel manufacturing combined employ 23,800 people in Los Angeles County, according to data from California’s Employment Development Department.


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U.S. Manufacturing Ended 2022 in Contraction
By Manufacturing Dive | January 4, 2023

“The manufacturing sector posted a weak performance as 2022 was brought to a close, as output and new orders contracted at sharper rates,” Siân Jones, Senior Economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said in a statement. “Demand for goods dwindled as domestic orders and export sales dropped.” S&P said its PMI, which measures the overall health of the sector, fell from 47.7 in November to 46.2 in December. The Institute for Supply Management saw a similar drop in its PMI index, coming in at 48.4%.


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ICYMI: SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Zünd and Caldera’s New PrimeCenter Opens Smart Way to Automation
By Signs News | December 27, 2022

SPESA member Zünd and French software manufacturer Caldera have launched a new PrimeCenter software solution that creates an ultra-efficient prepress workflow. PrimeCenter simplifies file preparation and output, allowing users to configure their workflows — from design to print to cut — with the level of automation that best meets their needs.


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A Tech ‘Golden Age’ Awaits Supply Chains Limping Out of the Pandemic
By Bloomberg | January 4, 2023

As supply snarls recede this year, they’re giving way to a different kind of disruption in the $10 trillion global logistics industry: a tech transformation, where everything between an assembly line and a store shelf will be tracked in real time where possible, fortified with artificial intelligence, and automated. The long-term economic upside of the shift will be a disinflationary force after three years of price pressures from the supply side. The smart money is betting it’s not a fad. Venture capitalists and other private-equity investors have been funding logistics tech companies at a rate of $9 billion a quarter since late 2020.


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6 Ways to Help the Manufacturing Sector Embrace AI
By World Economic Forum | January 3, 2023

The World Economic Forum report, Unlocking Value from Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing, highlights barriers to AI in factories and solutions for implementation. The report finds that: “In principle, AI could unlock more than $13 trillion in the global economy and boost GDP by 2% per year. However, companies struggle to tap into the value that AI applications can create.”


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How to Invest in Technology During a Recession
By Business of Fashion | December 14, 2022

With signs pointing to an economic slowdown ahead, companies in the sewn products industry, especially manufacturers, need to prepare for short-term challenges but maintain a long-term strategy. Those that continue to invest during a downturn can emerge stronger than competitors, but they'll need to make hard decisions about what to prioritize. Experts say to focus on the fundamentals, such as technology to better manage customer relationships, plan inventory, and build a more agile supply chain.


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Levi’s Expands Partnership with Latin American Artisan Organization
By Rivet | December 13, 2022

Levi’s will add bucket hats, aprons, and tote bags to the product range developed with Latin American partner Mercado Global, a not-for-profit accessories brand that supports Indigenous women and their communities. Mercado Global provides women with sewing machines and looms to work on products for brands as well as for their own businesses, a program focused on financial independence to overcome poverty.


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ICYMI: SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | DPC Conversations: Amir Lehr, CEO, Optitex
By The Interline | December 12, 2022

This executive interview with Amir Lehr, CEO of SPESA member Optitex is one of a twenty-part series that sees The Interline quiz executives from major DPC companies on the evolution of 3D and digital product creation tools and workflows, and ask their opinions on what the future holds for the the extended possibilities of digital assets.


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