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Fast Retailing will soon open its first Uniqlo store in Vietnam as the company forays into the sixth market in Southeast Asia which is also one of the fastest growing economies in the region. Fast Retailing hopes Vietnam will drive its regional growth as consumption rises and at the same time, become a manufacturing hub for the company in the face of a prolonged U.S.-China trade war.

Located next to other fast-fashion brands H&M and Zara, Uniqlo's store in a shopping mall in Dong Khoi in Ho Chi Minh City will be one of its largest stores in Southeast Asia with a gross floor area of 3,107 sq. meters and three stories high.

Vietnam is one of the key markets for Uniqlo, which currently has more than 2,000 stores worldwide and plans to quadruple stores in Southeast Asia to 800 in 10 years. Fast Retailing hopes to increase sales by 30 per cent every year in India -- where it opened its first store in October -- Southeast Asia and Australia.

 

The EU Design/Fenili Group has introduced a collection of garments that feature buttons and embellishments made from corozo as well as various accessories created from this material. Corozo, commonly referred to as vegan ivory, is a 100 per cent natural product that resembles a hard resin in consistency, boasts of excellent durability and scratch resistance, and easily lends itself to dyeing. Obtained from the nuts of a palm that grows in the rainforest of Ecuador, corozo is the product of a process which does not require water for irrigation or fertilizers, resulting in a material that is fully organic and natural.

Consumers around the world are increasingly gravitating toward eco-friendly products. EU Design/Fenili Group, established in 1999, is a supplier to the North American apparel industry, producing and distributing buttons, packaging, fashion trims, and custom jewelry. It is known for its environmentally friendly procurement and production practices. A strong proponent of sustainability, the company maintains R&D centers in Italy and Hong Kong and factories in Italy, India, and China. The group takes great pride in its corporate culture, which combines a modern approach to manufacturing processes with dedication to community support and enterprise values such as accountability, loyalty, proactivity, and workplace safety.

 

Pakistan’s textile exports increased 2.95 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

Shipments of knitwear and readymade garments rose in double digits during the period. The country’s textile sector exporters have been urged to adopt sustainable business processes and add green products to their range so that they can differentiate themselves from other competitors in the European market. Fairtrade, organic and/or responsible concepts in addition to complying with common sustainability standards and certification are seen as giving a competitive edge in Europe and easing market entry. Another area is value addition in producing artificial leather clothing. Another plan is to attract more buying houses to Pakistan. The country feels higher market segments are the most promising, as they allow exporters to distinguish their products. Pakistan’s exporters have also been encouraged to create their own brands as well to cater to specific niche areas in the textile sector like hospitals, hotel textiles, and safety/work wear textiles.

China, India and Vietnam are among the European Union’s major suppliers of textile products, while countries like Turkey, Italy, Portugal, and France have the advantage of being in proximity and assured timely supplies, with minimum financial cost of small inventories.

PG Denim’s turnover increased 40 per cent in 2019. The company continues to create a unique mix of products, made of collections with increasingly overlapping seasonality and theme micro-capsules. For the upcoming spring/summer 2021 season, prints and velvet effects predominate. Printed materials are restyled through the most colorful techniques, drawing inspiration from the historical traditions of Italian fabrics, where the dominant elements are floral and inspired by nature. Also, denim and velvet meet in this world, enriching each other with unique combinations including printed effects for the new range. It is a range entirely produced using viscose flock, resulting in unique garments which achieve different effects depending on the washing processes.

Studio 54 is a range which explores the connection between cotton and vinyl, crossing the traditional boundaries of indigo fabric, even though it has remained in touch with the authentic Italian tradition. Garage Denim is a line inspired by the metallic colors of cars in the 1950s and ’60s, with color pastes glittering against very dark fabric backgrounds, creating an imperceptible painted effect.

PG Denim, based in Italy, offers a range of products made using over 60 per cent recycled material (the industry average is 35 per cent). As a part of this procedure, most of the waste from the process and after use is recycled.

 

The global fashion industry is becoming more diverse in every respect. Just a few decades ago, there were easy to spot fashion trends that only changed once a year or even slower. Today’s fashion cycles are more distinct and short-lived. Especially millennials becoming the most important consumer group, seeing themselves as more individualistic, not following general trends set by big brands. American consumers are neither buying more, nor more expensive clothing for almost a decade now.

Clothing manufacturing has become a lot more accessible in recent years. Global supply chains for garment production moved to Asia decades ago, which made the cost of clothing go down significantly. Factories in Asian countries such as China, Vietnam and the Philippines have matured. After being dependent on large Western brands for managing their operations in the nineties, have moved on to work for themselves. Globalization has also helped tremendously to bring down shipping cost and the internet did the rest by simplifying the coordination. It is definitely possible to start a clothing company from anywhere these days. Abolishing the minimum order requirements by more streamlined processes has since resulted in many small brands growing their business. Large minimum order quantities had scared off many aspiring entrepreneurs in the past.

India’s textile exports have increased 6.2 per cent post GST. Even after the withdrawal of concessions under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), India’s apparel exports to the US have risen five per cent compared to the same period last year when the duty benefits were available. India’s leather exports to the US grew by about seven per cent in the last four months.

The US-China trade war offers huge opportunities to Indian leather exporters to raise shipments to the United States. But the country faces competition from countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who enjoy duty free access to key markets while India faces a duty disadvantage. Besides, Bangladesh and Vietnam have the benefit of scale in apparel manufacturing and a large and productive labor force.

In July 2019 the US terminated India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the GSP trade program after determining that it has not assured the US that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets. The textile industry in India is subject to provisions of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.

India’s share in world trade in textile and clothing is estimated to be 4.95 per cent. With these exports, India is ranked second among suppliers in the world.

By 2030, Lenzing plans to cut down on CO2 emissions by 50 per cent. Now a further milestone has been reached. Lenzing’s targets have been scientifically validated. Targets adopted by companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are considered science-based if they are in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below two degrees Celsius as compared to pre-industrial temperatures. Lenzing is the first wood-based fiber producer, which has set a science-based target. Currently, 713 leading companies worldwide and nine companies in Austria have committed to science-based targets. Only 305 of them have approved science-based targets.

Lenzing looks beyond fiber and wood and strives to develop and implement better and greener ways of production throughout the whole supply chain. Lenzing is a member of the CEO Climate Leaders Group of the World Economic Forum and a signatory to the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. Lenzing has been awarded the Gold CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) status by EcoVadis, a leading international provider of business sustainability ratings. The EcoVadis Supplier Sustainability Rating ranks Lenzing among the top one per cent of companies in its industry based on assessed CSR indicators in the areas of environment, labor practices, ethics, and sustainable procurement.

 

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will allow Vietnam to increase exports of garments, footwear, timber products, and beverages to other member countries.

As of now, Vietnam’s exports of footwear, garment and textile, timber products, and beverages to CPTPP member countries make up 12.5 per cent, 16.04 per cent, 20 per cent and 23.46 per cent of its total exports. Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Chile have bilateral or multilateral trade agreements with the country. Canada, Mexico and Peru are countries that Vietnam does not have free trade agreements with. So the CPTPP offers great opportunities for Vietnamese firms to access these markets through preferential tariffs.

But Vietnamese enterprises’ ability to take advantage depends on their preparation. To capitalise on the opportunities, the products must meet the CPTPP’s rules of origin and conform with sanitary and phytosanitary requirements and technical barriers to trade. Failure to meet these requirements would mean Vietnam cannot utilise the preferential tariffs offered by CPTPP member countries. Vietnamese garment and textile firms have faced difficulty in meeting the CPTPP’s rules of origin since their raw material imports from countries outside the CPTPP remain high. Domestic and foreign firms are now investing in the underdeveloped textile, dyeing and fabric segments to increase the domestic content rate.

By 2022 the Philippines hopes to be among the top 20 garment exporters in the world and have an annual growth of 12.3 per cent in garment exports and a three to five per cent increase in textile exports. This is expected to be possible with an increase in the utilization of natural and synthetic textile fiber by five per cent to ten per cent.

By 2025, the country wants to be among the top 15 garment exporters, with a 21.7 per cent annual increase in garments and a 10 per cent increase in natural and synthetic textile fiber. Infrastructure gaps and logistical bottlenecks will be addressed. Production, communication, distribution and transport will be made efficient through high-quality infrastructure and logistical services. Export market diversification will be pursued with more bilateral free trade agreements with emerging markets to reduce dependency on the US and EU markets. By 2029, the Philippines hopes to be among the top 10 of the world’s biggest garment exporters.

The industry has already upgraded to original brand manufacturer with homegrown Filipino labels and the textile manufacturing can fully support garment producers by offering a more diverse range of products both for the local and export markets.

FSA to add members from 2 3 new cities every yearFormed around 15-16 years ago, the Fabric Suppliers Association provides fabric players with a platform to showcase their products. It also enables its members to exchange data and references.  This is mainly achieved through the two fairs that the association organises every year. These fairs attract 1,000-1,500 visitors in a span of two days. They also enable FSA to add 25 to 30 new members every year. Amit from Mica Lifestyle and Sanjay Gala from Y2K Fashions elaborate on these fairs, the association and its future plans.  

How long have you been involved with FSA? How has the association evolved over these years?

Amit: I have been involved with this association for the last two years. During this period, the association has become more mature, professional and modernised. Its recent shifting of its fair venue to Hotel Taj is quite a positive move. 

The association has been growing steadily since the last few years. What are major factors contributing to this growth? 

Sanjay:  This association has enabled us to form a strong bond with our customers. The two fairs that it organises every year enable our customers to meet all their suppliers under a single roof. These fairs also give our customers a complete overview of the products available in the market. During the first edition of this fair, the association had only 45 members. Today, its member base has extended to around 100.  Of these, 80-85 members are participating in the current edition of the fair. 

How do you deal with your defaulters?

Sanjay: We have an action committee which resolves around 90 per cent of such cases. We have also prepared a list of defaulters to make our customers aware of them

What are your future plans? How do you see this association growing?

Amit: Every year, the association organises two fairs in Mumbai; the summer and winter editions. If we follow a similar pattern in all other states, we can help smaller clients to come together under single roof.  This association also helps us to add members from other Indian cities. We plan to add members from 2-3 new cities every year. These clients will be added state-wise and zone-wise

What are your expectations from this association?

Sanjay: FSA has a strong association with CMAI with most of its members being our clients. Its committee members are putting in a lot of efforts to take the association to a higher level. We plan to introduce new initiatives for its growth in future.

Amit:  We believe that adding more members from the textile and fabric segments will make FSA stronger. Right now, the association has 100 members. We plan to increase this to 200 in future. 

What are your expectations from the upcoming fair?

Amit: We aim to add new members by sending their invitations in advance. This will enable them to plan their participation better.  Increase in the number of participants will also help this fair to generate more business. Exhibitors will benefit by adding more clients. 

 

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