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Industry News | 3/16/23

SPESA | March 15, 2023

SPESA's new member AETAS Corporation, headquartered in Zhejiang with U.S. operations in Pennsylvania, is your one-stop, turn-key sourcing solution, overseeing the manufacturing, quality control, and logistics for startups, small, and middle-sized businesses looking to build reputable, quality supply chains in Asia.

Techtextil North America and Texprocess Americas Spotlight Education, Training, and Innovation for the 2023 Edition
Press Release | March 14, 2023

As a leading business platform, Techtextil North America and Texprocess Americas aim to bring decision makers from all of the major industries that touch technical textiles, nonwovens, sewn products, equipment, and technology together in one place to experience the latest innovations. This year’s editions will include new features such as the Career Training & Innovation Center, Tech & Start-Up Zone, and Innovation Awards.

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Texprocess Americas 2023 to Feature First-of-Its-Kind Show Floor Training Program
Press Release | March 14, 2023

Brought to life by SPESA members Merrow Sewing Machine Company (of the Merrow Group Companies) and the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC), a new show floor training program at Texprocess Americas will demonstrate replicable and scalable teaching methods for machine repair/maintenance, and address the growing need for skilled workers in the sewn products industry. In addition to hands-on demonstrations, the training will utilize augmented reality tools to illustrate how these training methods can help scale the industry and support growth in the Americas.

Silicon Valley Bank’s Chilling Effect on Fashion
Sourcing Journal | March 14, 2023

The recent failure of the Silicon Valley Bank has created ripple effects for the U.S. economy. Sourcing Journal proclaims it has the “potential to hurt both sides of the fashion business, with companies racing to double check their finances and consumers potentially becoming more cautious.” This article looks at recent movement in the fashion stock market related to this latest financial crisis.

Fashion Sounds Off on Biden’s Proposed Corporate Tax Hike
Sourcing Journal | March 14, 2023

According to Sourcing Journal, retail industry trade groups and business leaders aren’t happy with President Biden’s budget plan for fiscal year 2024 — and the corporate tax hikes that could come with it. The plan calls for a 28% corporate tax rate, a 7% increase from the current rate.

Former Nike Execs Invest in 3D Printed Shoe Startup Hilo in $3M Round | March 14, 2023

Footwear company Hilos has announced a $3 million investment round that includes funding from longtime Nike executives, including former Chief Operating Officer Eric Sprunk. The company will use this latest funding to continue scaling its business. The investment serves as an attention-grabbing endorsement, both of Hilos and 3D-shoe printing, as the race to develop the technology accelerates. Additional coverage is available here.

Fashion’s Fragile Recovery in Latin America
Business of Fashion | March 13, 2023

The apparel and footwear market in Colombia rebounded faster than in Brazil or Mexico, but Chile and Peru may not recover to pre-pandemic sales levels for years. Business of Fashion explores the region’s challenges as well as its next growth opportunities.

Sewing for Boeing
Flying Magazine | March 13, 2023

Before Rosie the Riveter, women made their mark on aviation manufacturing by hand-stitching fabric coverings on aircraft. While this is by no means breaking news, we think Behind the Seams readers will enjoy this look back at the women hired for their sewing skills by both The Boeing Company and Douglas Aircraft Company in the 1920s.

Bangladesh Poised to Overtake China as EU’s Largest Garment Exporter
The Epoch Times | March 12, 2023

China has seen a large number of clothing orders canceled by international buyers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the U.S.-China trade war, with many of these orders having been transferred to Bangladesh, the world’s second-largest garment processing exporter. Experts and trade data alike point to a near future in which Bangladesh overtakes China and becomes the EU’s largest garment exporter.

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Groz-Beckert’s Fully Automatic WarpMasterPlus Presented Successfully in Asia
The Textile Magazine | March 10, 2023

The latest generation of Groz-Beckert’s fully automatic drawing-in machine — the WarpMasterPlus — was presented live for the first time in Asia at India ITME in December. With the new WarpMasterPlus, Groz-Beckert relied on the globally proven drawing-in concept, where the drawing-in takes place via a single yarn package technology. In addition, the latest technologies were consistently used to bring a machine to the market that is already equipped for future requirements and increased automation in the course of Industry 4.0.

U.S. Apparel Companies Can’t See a Future Without China
Bloomberg | March 10, 2023

For American companies like Actively Black buying from China has become more challenging in recent years due to increased tariffs, snarled supply chains, factory shutdowns, and rising geopolitical tensions. These concerns have led to a surge in pledges by executives to reduce their reliance on Chinese suppliers. But quitting China isn't easy, and most progress has been concentrated in industries such as semiconductors that U.S. lawmakers consider vital to national security, while producers of lower-margin products such as clothing, shoes, housewares, and luggage are finding that few factories outside China have the machinery and skilled workforce they need.

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Micro Plant Making Its Debut at Furniture Manufacturing Expo 2023
Textile World | March 9, 2023

Exposition Development Company Inc. announced the “Micro Plant” will make its debut during the 2023 Furniture Manufacturing Expo taking place July 19-20, 2023, in Hickory, North Carolina. The Micro Plant will be an interactive journey that leads attendees around the show floor to follow each step involved in constructing a chair. The idea was spearheaded by SPESA member Zund America, Inc. SPESA member Henderson Sewing Machine Company is also among the exhibiting sponsors.

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Unique Value-Added Product Showcases Swedish Innovation
Innovation in Textiles | March 9, 2023

ES Automatex Solution AB has developed a fully automatic tote/consumer bag sewing unit which can produce fully finished bags in heights of between 35-80cm and widths of 30-80cm. The machine is configured to carry out all the necessary automated operations including hemming, handle insertion, cutting, labeling, bag forming, and gusset forming, which previously had to be carried out manually. The Swedish company promotes new machines from its partner, SPESA member Automatex, Inc.

PMI Records Growth for U.S. Apparel Manufacturing in February
Just Style | March 7, 2023

While the overall economy faces its third month of contraction in a row, U.S. manufacturing saw a slight expansion in February 2023, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. Notably, Apparel manufacturing was one of only four industries to record growth in February, according to the U.S. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). Read more about general manufacturing output and raw materials pricing trends here.

Walmart Will Derive More Profit from Services, Ad Sales in Next 5 Years
Reuters | March 7, 2023

Walmart’s chief financial officer says the retailer’s future profitability is likely to come more from its sales of ads on and from fees it collects from merchants using its online marketplace and delivery services, than from sales of merchandise at its 10,000 stores.

World’s First Airbag Jeans Hit the Market
Rivet | March 6, 2023

After four years in the making, Airbag Inside Sweden AB, a Swedish fashion-tech company, has unveiled Mo’cycle Airbag Jeans, the “safest motorcycle jeans in the world” in partnership with Helite, a motorcycle airbag technology provider.

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Dürkopp Adler GmbH Completes Purchase of the Optional Ground in Bensheim; Expands PFAFF’s Premises to 30,000 sqm
Apparel Resources | March 6, 2023

Dürkopp Adler GmbH, the shareholder of leading sewing technology company PFAFF Industriesysteme und Maschinen GmbH, has expanded its premises by another 14,000 square meters in Germany. PFAFF says that this expansion represents a clear commitment by PFAFF Industrial to the Bensheim site, where additional jobs will be created in the medium term. The site mainly develops and manufactures automated sewing solutions for the automotive, environmental, and filter technology sectors, as well as for the aviation and home textiles sectors.

California Legislature Takes on Textiles
Recycling Today | March 3, 2023

California State Senator Josh Newman has introduced a bill to create a statewide collection and recycling program for textiles. Under SB 707, producers of clothing and other textiles would be required to implement and fund an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program that would enhance recycling and increase reuse in the sector. Industry coverage is available here and here. In addition, the Wall Street Journal recently analyzed a variety of textile recycling policies and initiatives in the United States.

How Fashion Can Close Its Skills Gap
Business of Fashion | March 3, 2023

Advancements in technology coupled with heightened expectations for fashion firms to be more diverse and sustainable are yielding a whole new set of skill deficits in areas like design and supply chain. To fill the gaps, fashion firms are creating their own college environments by partnering with existing schools to create curriculum and train students to match their organizations’ precise needs.

AAFA Formalizes Partnership with the International Apparel Federation
Press Release | March 2, 2023

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the International Apparel Federation (IAF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) underlining a renewed commitment to bring industry players together across the supply chain and across the globe. The MoU further covers the IAF’s 38th World Fashion Convention to be held in the U.S. this year for the first time in more than two decades. Co-sponsored by SPESA, the convention will offer a unique opportunity for apparel brands and manufacturers to discuss and connect with garment and textile suppliers from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Green Is the New Black as Fashion Sector Fast-Forwards on Sustainability Trend
Reuters | March 2, 2023

The pandemic was a wake-up call for the fashion sector, which faced a massive backlash from consumers following revelations that some brands had canceled massive orders for clothing, leaving workers in poorer countries destitute. Today, many brands are rethinking their production practices and striving to have stronger relationships with suppliers in a bid to reduce supply chain risks. This article explores efforts related to sustainability, circularity, and transparent business models.

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | YKK Debuts New Corporate Logo – Emphasis Placed on Sustainability, Speed, and Quality
Press Release | March 2, 2023

YKK undertook a major restructuring in April of 2021, reorganizing itself as a company for the fastening business, which includes zippers as well as snaps and buttons. In order to move further forward in this time of great change, which includes changes to the business environment, YKK has taken this opportunity to create a new corporate logo based on the company’s philosophy of the “Cycle of Goodness.” The new logo expresses YKK employees’ desire to place sustainability at the center of the company’s management and to continue its long-standing work to act rapidly and provide trusted quality.

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Chaos Requires Focus on Productivity in 2023
CGS, Inc. | March 2, 2023

While past attention on cost-cutting initiatives has benefitted the sewn products industry and consumers with lower prices and buoyed brand margins, it has also prevented companies from recognizing potentially broader, longer-term opportunities for all stakeholders in the value chain. In a recent blog post, CGS contends what is most needed now is a productivity mentality and strategic supplier partnerships. Read the company’s recommended solutions for greater supply chain collaboration, visibility and control.

Threading the Needle to Keep Clothing Manufacturing Alive in Massachusetts
The Boston Globe | March 1, 2023

“Left with scraps” after Brooks Brothers shut down its Haverhill, Massachusetts, factory in 2020, some workers have found new opportunities in a Lawrence startup called Southwick Social Ventures, producing men’s pants for the U.S. military and a high-end clothing store.

Kenya Garment Production Lands $14M Investment
Sourcing Journal | March 1, 2023

The Norwegian government has invested millions into apparel manufacturing operations in East Africa. Norfund, the government investment fund, this week announced a $14 million financing agreement with Hela Apparel Holdings PLC, a sustainability-focused intimates and children’s apparel maker based in Sri Lanka. The funding agreement will support Hela’s seven-year-old Kenyan manufacturing facility, which employs more than 4,000 workers, and is responsible for 20% of Kenya’s total apparel export volume.

Archroma Closes Textile Effects Merger
Innovation in Textiles | March 1, 2023

Archroma — with its comprehensive portfolio of solutions to serve the apparel, textiles, packaging, paper, coatings, adhesives, and sealants markets — has closed the acquisition of the Textile Effects business of Huntsman Corporation. Combined, the two entities will have more than 5,000 employees in 42 countries and 35 production sites.

UFLPA: What Insiders Say About Forced-Labor Law’s First 8 Months
Sourcing Journal | February 28, 2023

It’s been eight months since the United States put into effect a far-reaching law aimed at cracking down on forced labor in China. Sourcing Journal speaks to experts and stakeholders across the apparel and textile industries to find out if the policy is working as designed.

Additional reading on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA):

Scottish Partnership Forged to Bring Garment Manufacturing Back to UK
Scottish Business News | February 24, 2023

SEAHAWK Apparel, a Scottish-based workwear garment manufacturer, has teamed up with SSEAMS, the apparel creative agency, to champion onshore manufacturing opportunities and support its investment plans to produce apparel in Scotland. The duo will strategically support clothing brands through the product development and production process, providing a complete support system for customers with the principle of working together to create progressive and sustainable apparel solutions — bringing mill, manufacturer, and designer closer.

What Will AI Mean for Fashion?
Women’s Wear Daily | February 24, 2023

The race to create new artificial intelligence tools promises to revolutionize the fashion industry, from product design to brand communication. The development could upend the industry by reducing the need for many junior positions, such as assistant designers, product developers, and graphic designers. Women’s Wear Daily examines the infiltration of AI technology fashion through a variety of apps and platforms including art and image generators Midjourney and Stable Diffusion.

Champion Thread Opens New USA Dyehouse to Boost Service & Sustainability
Press Release | February 17, 2023

Champion Thread, a fast-growing manufacturer of industrial sewing thread, engineered yarns, and other textile and sewn products supplies, has opened an all-new, high-tech dyehouse in South Carolina. As explained in the release: “The extraordinary investment in a domestic facility exemplifies the company's long-standing commitment to providing unparalleled customer service rooted in industry expertise, modernization, and reliable local supply.”

New York's Garment District to Receive 4.5 Million Dollars in Funding
Fashion United | February 17, 2023

New York’s governor Kathy Hochul has announced that the city’s Garment District is to be the recipient of 4.5 million dollars in funding after it came out on top as one of the regional winners in the first round of NY Forward. The state program looks to support the equitable recovery of New York communities, providing awards that look to back economic developments and revitalisation plans in the region.

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