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Industry News | 5/15/24

2024 SPESA Advancements Conference News Coverage

It's been just over a month since SPESA hosted its 2024 Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference in Los Angeles. The event brought together an impressive line-up of speakers and like-minded attendees to discuss the latest trends, innovations, and challenges to domestic manufacturing for the fashion, apparel, and sewn products industries. Click the link below to check out news coverage about the event.  

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | SPESA Welcomes New Member Kennedy Sewing and Cutting Supply, LLC Get To Know the S.C.-Based Company
SPESA | May 15, 2024

SPESA is excited to announce that a new company has joined its impressive roster of members. Based in Spartanburg, S.C., Kennedy Sewing and Cutting Supply, LLC provides a comprehensive range of services and solutions, including expert consulting, lean production solutions, cutting-edge machinery, AI-powered autonomous robotics, expert tech service, upgrades, and repairs. Click the link below to learn more about the company’s history and offerings and where you can find them next!

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Coloreel Expands into the Sewing Industry Through Partnership with Juki America
Press Release | May 15, 2024

“We’re excited about this expansion from embroidery to sewing. This agreement is a strategic milestone for Coloreel as we apply our technology to the broader sewing market. Working with Juki America allows us to leverage their robust market presence and technical expertise,” says Torbjörn Bäck, CEO of Coloreel.

What Are Biden's New Tariffs on China Goods?
Reuters | May 14, 2024

Yesterday, President Biden announced a slew of new and increased tariffs on $18 billion in Chinese goods including electric vehicles, batteries, semiconductors, steel, aluminum, critical minerals, solar cells, and medical products. Notably for our industry, he also announced his administration would be retaining Trump-era tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods that include finished textiles and apparel imports. The decision follows a statutory four-year review of Section 301 China tariffs. As we’ve seen in the past, the U.S. textile industry generally supports these tariffs, while sewn product manufacturers and retailers oppose them. Read NCTO’s response here; AAFA’s response here; NRF’s response here. Sourcing Journal also does a good job explaining the various opposing viewpoints here.

Textile Industry Moves
News Compilation | May 14, 2024

We have seen quite a few updates on textile plant openings, closings, and moves over the past couple weeks:

Variant3D Loop Named Finalist in 2024 World Changing Ideas
Knitting Industry | May 14, 2024

Variant3D's Loop software has earned a place as a finalist in Fast Company's 2024 World Changing Ideas Awards, thanks to its pioneering approach in the textile manufacturing industry. Loop is a web-based CAD/CAM application for producing 3D knitted fabrics and products, standing out for its unique capability to enable users to seamlessly work across multiple file dimensions, including 3D, 2D, and a granular knit level.

Adore Me Launches AI Design Tool
Fashion Dive | May 14, 2024

DTC lingerie brand Adore Me has launched AM by You, a generative AI-powered custom design tool that allows consumers to create their own customized lingerie sets. The customized products will be printed by While the cost to the consumer fits within the company’s standard retail range, the profit margins initially will be smaller for the brand. 

Reebok Launches AI Fashion Experience on Instagram
Fashion United | May 13, 2024

This one is cooler. Sportswear brand Reebok has unveiled a custom AI fashion experience on Instagram designed to expand the boundaries of sneaker culture by putting new technology into the hands of everyday consumers. The “Reebok Impact” experience allows consumers to create AI-infused, custom digital sneakers by sending one of their photo memories via Instagram DM to @reebokimpact. Then in a real-time chat, Futureverse's AI will craft a custom sneaker in the colors and style of the image.

USDA Predicts Surge in Global Cotton Supply for 2024-25 Season
Fibre2Fashion | May 13, 2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has projected higher global cotton supplies for the 2024-25 season. It stated that cotton production will increase by 5.4 million bales of 480 pounds each. The USDA has projected the total global production at 119.05 million bales, out of which 116.86 million bales will be for domestic consumption in the producing countries.

Unethical Cotton Sourcing Persists Despite Scrutiny
Just Style | May 13, 2024

From Xinjiang cotton being found in the U.S. to Turkmenistan's alleged forced labor harvest tainting its supply chain, the ethics of the global cotton industry are in the spotlight once again.

Canadian Government Invokes 'Red Tape Rule' To Prevent Rail Strike
The Loadstar | May 13, 2024

A Canadian rail strike will not be taking place as expected on May 22nd following the country’s Minister of Labour questioning whether certain rail services could be deemed as essential and, therefore, must be maintained during a labor disruption. However, negotiations continue and a strike may still be in the future. The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference initially called for industrial action against rail operators Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) after five months of unsuccessful negotiations.

Explainer: Is France’s Fast-Fashion Tax Idea About To Create a Domino Effect?
Just Style | May 13, 2024

After France’s landmark fast fashion legislation, which could see a fee of up to €10 added to each fast fashion purchase, a number of other countries, including Australia and Ireland, could soon follow suit with increased legislation around transparency and accountability. Just Style and GlobalData break down the evidence and likelihood.

Ocean Carriers Establish Direct Asia-to-Mexico Trade Lanes
Sourcing Journal | May 10, 2024

Major ocean carriers are launching direct services along the Asia-to-Mexico trade lane as China makes a concerted push into the Latin American market.

Manufacturing Remains Just in Time, While Inputs are Just in Case
Sourcing Journal | May 10, 2024

The demand environment in retail remains weak, with manufacturing inventories entrenched in a just-in-time mode. However, input suppliers remain in “just-in-case” mode (thanks to a post-pandemic buildup) that has likely helped goods manufacturers source inputs at a quicker pace. Sourcing Journal breaks down the cause and effect of these inventory models, as well as future manufacturing demand.

SPESA L.A. Event Accents Worker Value as Technologies Advance
California Apparel News | May 9, 2024

Dorothy Crouch of California Apparel News interviewed both speakers and attendees of the recent SPESA Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference in Los Angeles, sharing a variety of perspectives on the event and highlighting the recurring themes of innovation and collaboration related to the U.S. sewn products industry. Check out all of the conference’s press coverage here.

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | SourceAmerica Announces 2024 Achievement Award Winners
Press Release | May 9, 2024

SourceAmerica announced the winners of its national achievement awards at its annual Xforce Conference in Orlando, Florida on May 8, 2024. The SourceAmerica achievement awards recognize nonprofits, employees, and business partners for their exceptional work ethic, success, and leadership in advancing inclusion for people with disabilities in the workforce. These awards highlight successes in disability employment, especially when approximately 63% of working age people with disabilities do not have jobs.  

The Trends That Are Driving a Surge in Manufacturing M&A Deals
Supply Chain Brain | May 9, 2024

With inflation and interest rates easing, manufacturing investment is on the rise. Several large manufacturers have said they plan to increase capital investments and merger and acquisition deal-making in 2024, even as the economy continues through a period of slower growth. Deal kickoffs were up 9% from September 2023 to February 2024, compared with the same time a year ago. And in the first quarter of 2024, deal activity was up 19%. Demand for sustainability, innovation, and defense are fueling the increased dealmaking activity.

Gildan Announces a C$200 Million Private Placement Financing with CDPQ
Press Release via eTextileCommunications | May 9, 2024

Gildan Activewear Inc. announced that it has reached an agreement to issue CAD$200 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes to Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) on a private placement basis. Gildan has agreed to maintain strong local leadership and its global headquarters in Québec for a minimum of seven years, and has committed to becoming a Global Minimum Taxpayer.

EU Adopts CSRD Reporting Delay, Gives Non-EU Companies Until 2026 To Comply
Fashion Dive | May 9, 2024

The European Council has adopted a directive that delays sustainability reporting requirements for companies based outside the European Union and firms from specific sectors (including textiles) by two years. Exempted companies will now have until June 30, 2026, to comply with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.

Just Style, with help from Dr. Sheng Lu and other industry experts, asserts the multiple pieces of recent EU ESG legislation targeting global fashion brands and manufacturers (including the CSRD) sends a strong message that sustainability and social responsibility will become mandates for all.

Apparel Imports Continue Slide but Textiles Remain Strong
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. | May 8, 2024

The experts at Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. broke down the latest Department of Commerce Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) data for everyone.

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Optitex Enhances Its Collection of 3D Digital Materials with Bemis Associates' Market-Winning Seam Reinforcement Tapes, Seam Tapes, and Embellishments
Press Release | May 7, 2024

SPESA member Optitex, a global provider of product development software solutions for the apparel, automotive, aerospace, and furniture industries, announced their collaboration with Bemis Associates, a leading provider of thermoplastic film, tape, and adhesive manufacturing for the apparel, bags, and automotive upholstery industries. As the newest addition to Optitex’s fast-growing tech partner ecosystem, Bemis will enable Optitex users to enjoy a wide selection of Bemis 3D digital materials, including seam reinforcement tapes, seam tapes, and embellishments.

Avery Dennison Leveraged Supply Chain Resilience To Navigate Finland Port Strikes
Supply Chain Dive | May 7, 2024

As the threat of port and transportation strikes seem to be increasing (see Canada’s likely rail strike above), we thought this was an interesting example of how companies can prepare. The adhesive materials maker leveraged supplier diversification and enhanced inventory strategy to avoid disruptions.

This Gigantic 3D Printer Could Reinvent Manufacturing
Fast Company | May 7, 2024

This isn’t strictly related to our industry, but is a pretty interesting development in 3D printing. The University of Maine has built a massive additive manufacturing device that can build houses, and a whole lot more. It’s also able to do subtractive manufacturing, like milling, as well as utilize a robotic arm for more complicated tasks.

Cascale’s New CEO Is Approaching the Role as a Mission
Fashion Dive | May 7, 2024

Colin Browne, most recently of Under Armour, was appointed shortly after the nonprofit coalition’s rebrand. Fashion Dive asked him to share his plans for the new gig.

U.S. Escalates Search for Forced Labor Ties in Textiles From China
Bloomberg Law | May 3, 2024

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is increasing scrutiny on textile imports as worries over forced labor in China hang over the apparel industry. The department plans to expand a list of entities that it says use forced labor from the Xinjiang region of China, and is also increasing Customs and Border Protection package inspections to root out violations of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and other laws. The moves demonstrate a renewed effort to give more bite to the two-year-old law.

Meanwhile, a Biden Administration official recently told a U.S. congressional panel that conducting due diligence in Xinjiang supply chains over the use of forced Uygur labor is impossible under the conditions set by the Chinese government, and the “only responsible thing to do is not to operate” there.

Why Textiles Are All the Rage in the Art World Right Now
The Washington Post | May 3, 2024

Your fun read for the week! “Weaving, that’s to say, is not some peripheral subject, off to the side of culture. It’s one of the most extraordinary, sophisticated things humans have ever managed to do. It’s connected not just to survival tools (clothing, blankets, baskets, traps), but also to the human capacity for abstract thought, and of course to beauty and art.”

What Maersk’s 2024 Outlook Says About Container Shipping
Sourcing Journal | May 3, 2024

Maersk is raising the lower end of its 2024 outlook it first announced in February, ushering in a positive sign for the wider container shipping industry amid ongoing disruptions in the Red Sea. The ocean freight giant also now anticipates total container volume growth to be in the upper end of its previously expected 2.5-4.5% range.

Eco-Dyes Are on the Rise
International Fiber Journal | May 2, 2024

Many new companies are suddenly gaining traction in the development of sustainable new dyes and finishing treatments. International Fiber Journal notes two of the leading conventional textile coloration and specialty chemicals businesses — Archroma and DyStar — are both well placed to capitalize on considerable global resources and vast know-how banks in the pursuit of sustainable new solutions for the industry.

How Mexico’s Presidential Candidates Expect To Leverage Nearshoring
Supply Chain Dive | May 2, 2024

With Mexico’s general election fast approaching, all three candidates appear to agree that the surging interest in Mexico as a site for investment is an opportunity to seize. Comments made at a recent debate offer a rare window into how the different political coalitions vying for power may influence supply chains over the next six years. In addition to the presidency, the election will decide the make-up of federal, state, and local governments, which hold significant sway over industrial policy. Supply Chain Dive summarized the candidates’ comments on nearshoring from the debate, and translated their most forward-looking comments on the issue.

SPESA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Detroit Company Creating Climate-Friendly Clothing (Video)
Fox2Detroit | May 1, 2024

“The Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center, better known as ISAIC, in Cass Corridor is where the future of sustainable fashion continues to evolve.” A local TV news outlet interviews ISAIC President and CEO Jen Guarino about the work the organization is doing in Detroit and the example it is setting for the apparel industry.

Denmark To Ban Clothing and Shoes Containing Toxic 'Forever Chemicals'
Scripps News | May 1, 2024

The Danish government unveiled a plan that would outlaw all clothing, shoes, and waterproofing agents containing per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances — or PFAS. The nationwide ban is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2025. However, the government will give businesses one year to transition to PFAS-free alternatives before the executive order is implemented. Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands introduced a proposal last year that would ban PFAS across the entirety of the European Union.

Related: Earlier this month, a group of chemists and scholars gathered in Raleigh for the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists’ (AATCC) PFAS in Textiles Conference, and proposed silicone may be the answer to phasing out PFAS.

Meet the Smaller Brands Designing Olympic Uniforms
Modern Retail | May 1, 2024

While major brands like The North Face are front and center at this year’s Games — with the U.S. outdoors brand creating climbing uniforms for the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and Austria — some countries are opting to work with more regional names rather than large international conglomerates.

ICYMI | A Fashionable Veteran Speaks
Los Angeles Business Journal | April 22, 2024

The Los Angeles Business Journal sat down with Ilse Metchek, former president of the California Fashion Association to discuss the association’s merger with the Sacramento-based California Retailers Association, her career, and how retail and manufacturing have changed in L.A.

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