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As soon as Messe Frankfurt celebrates its 780-year anniversary, it will be getting straight back to business: following a global lockdown lasting multiple months, Messe Frankfurt is once again holding trade fairs. It all kicks off with Intertextile Shenzhen Apparel Fabrics on 15 July 2020 in China. The trade fair is part of a network of some 50 international textile events in Messe Frankfurt’s portfolio, which has included Frankfurt Fashion Week since June. Trade fairs are also resuming business in Germany – in strict compliance with an extensive protection and hygiene concept. Smaller events are already underway on the Frankfurt exhibition grounds, and trade fairs will be joining them soon: Nordstil will be leading the way in Hamburg in September, followed by the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. Replacement dates have also been planned in 2020 for many of the Group's postponed events worldwide.

Wolfgang Marzin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt: “We are delighted that our events will once again be serving as platforms for personal interaction. Our resumption of event operations worldwide demonstrates Messe Frankfurt’s flexibility in responding to challenges. We are able to offer our customers around the world the platforms they need – regionally, nationally, at a European level and globally – while satisfying today's new local regulations and requirements. The past 780 years have demonstrated time and again just how important trade fairs are for promoting economic recovery in times of crisis, and our customers have been making it clear to us that face-to-face encounters and dialogue are irreplaceable.”

A look at history shows that trade fairs, as mirrors of the economy, are repeatedly confronted with crises. Even back in 1635, for example, Frankfurt’s Spring Fair had to be cancelled on account of fallout from the Thirty Years’ War and an outbreak of the bubonic plague in Frankfurt. Already, the measures taken to help thwart the spread of disease included border closures, health certificates, passport systems, entry and exit checks and quarantines. Trade fairs’ central role in economic development was clear even then. No sooner had the First World War ended than plans began for the International Import Fair in October 1919 and the Spring Fair in 1920. 95 percent of the exhibition grounds were destroyed during the Second World War, and their immediate reconstruction sent a clear signal about Frankfurt’s importance as a trade fair centre. Trade fair operations resumed with the Frankfurt Fair in October 1948, relying in part on provisional lightweight constructions, tents and open-air spaces.

  

One of the largest denim industries in Brazil, Vicunha launched an app to get closer to consumers during the quarantine period.

The solution was developed in 2018, but the pandemic instance led it to gain more prominence, besides updates. According to the brand’s commercial director, German Alejandro, the app offers another communication and sales channel, offering greater proximity to consumers.With the proximity to the sales team, customers can ask for product pilotage, as well as request purchase or an exclusive development almost in real-time.

But besides that, the app also shows other aspects of Vicunha, such as sustainability. The ‘sustainability button’ brings our manufacturing, social, partnership, sustainable products, certifications, programs, projects and movements”, explains German. The “V.Products” area shows more than 250 options of Denim and Denim Colour fabrics, with a gallery of photos and videos that offer a faithful vision of the fall, elasticity and construction of the fabrics.

The V.Space platform works in three languages and is available on App Store and Google Play. The app is a digital catalog and an information hub for doing business and sharing knowledge.

  

Phong Phu International (PPJ), one of the leading textile producers, garment manufacturers and exporters in Vietnam, is optimizing spare capacity with the help of FastReactPlan, Coats Digital’s world class fashion production planning and control software application.

Harnessing the power of online communication and collaboration platforms to effectively deliver software and training, Coats Digital and PPJ have collaborated to deliver an initiative that is critical for the industry.

With a mutual ambition to win the industry re-start, Coats Digital and PPJ have successfully navigated the challenges of COVID-19 to maintain the pace of a digitization journey which is critical for the recovery and sustainable growth. This has enabled the completion of a project to digitize best practice production planning and control processes, from master planning across multiple factories to detailed line and machine level planning of complex denim manufacturing processes.

  

Sneaker giant Nike has introduced its new retail concept Nike Rise in Guangzhou, China. The latest international store concept joins the brand’s innovative portfolio which already includes Nike Live in Tokyo and House of Innovation in NYC.

The Nike Rise concept store features personalised shopping services with a focus on digital experiences. Nike Guangzhou has piloted a new app feature Nike Experiences, which connects members to “weekly sport-minded activations” to inspire and enable them to move.

At Nike Rise, customers can experience Nike Fit which helps customers find the best fit for any footwear using scanning technology. Nike by You is a counter where members can find personalised items with designs inspired by the city’s sport culture.

The brand’s members in Guangzhou will also have access to Nike’s events and workshops hosted by the city’s network of Nike athletes and experts.

  

European Union has directed Myanmar to update it the progress in resolving the conflict in northern Rakhine and other rights abuses, a move essential for the Southeast Asian country to keep its trade preferences with the world’s largest trading bloc by mid-September.

Brussels has requested Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s government to submit a written response on the extent to which it is working towards improving human and labour rights standards, according to EU Ambasosador Kristian Schmidt.

The European Union is currently considering the option of triggering a six-month review process on whether to strip Myanmar of its “Everything But Arms” status following accusations against the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) by UN officials and NGOs of persecuting Muslims in northern Rakhine with “genocidal intent” in 2017. Myanmar has denied the accusations.

The 2017 Tatmadaw crackdown in northern Rakhine drove hundreds of thousands of mostly stateless Muslims out of Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh. Myanmar returned to the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences in 2013 and its garment industry has benefited from its tariff-free access to the Single Market.

In 2019, Myanmar’s exports to the bloc - of which textiles make up a key segment - amounted to €2.8 billion (US$3.2 billion). Trade sanctions from Brussels, if enacted, are expected to heavily hit the apparel sector and put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

  

Famme, a cutting-edge Norwegian brand that makes functional, fashionable women’s collections for workout wear (yoga, running, etc.) and everyday life, has launched a new leggings capsule collection in collaboration with Fulgar.

As well as requiring a final product that was seamless, soft, comfortable and breathable, Famme selected Fulgar's nylon 6.6 yarns because of the Italian firm's environmental credentials.

Q-Skin by Fulgar is a special Nylon 6.6 yarn which incorporates special silver ions inserted directly during spinning. Their unique chemical and physical characteristics give the yarn bacteriostatic properties. Bacteria carry a negative charge, while the silver ions contained in Q- Skin are positively charged, so the silver ions will reduce excess bacteria.

The bacteriostatic capability also stands up to repeated washing with Q- Skin and, extensively tested, has confirmed its effectiveness against the main bacterial groups Gram + (Staphylococcus Aureus) Gran - (Klebsiella Pneumoniae). As well as having certified bacteriostatic properties, Q- Skin is also said to be ideal for sportswear as it can slow the development of unpleasant odours while giving wearers benefits like breathability, freshness, hygiene and comfort.

  

Denim giant Levi’s announced a net loss for the quarter of $364 million, which included restructuring charges, inventory costs and other charges related to the COVID-19 economic freeze. Its net revenues declined 62 percent to $498 million compared to $1.3 billion in the same quarter the previous year.

Because of the economic freeze, the denim giant would lay off 700 people, or about 15 percent of nonretail and nonmanufacturing workforces, said Chip Bergh, president and chief executive officer. But, according to Bergh, an annualized savings of $100 million is expected from the downsizing move.

Like many colleagues, Macy’s has been dealing with store closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Macy’s closed all of its 775 stores in March and started reopening them in late May. As a part of a restructuring plan to deal with the COVID-19 economic slowdown, the retailer plans to eliminate 3,900 jobs in its corporate and management sectors. These expected job cuts and its restructuring would contribute to savings of $365 million this year.

The jobs-cuts are a result of the retailer’s performance during the first fiscal quarter of the year, which ended May 2. Its net sales were $3.017 billion, down more than 45 percent compared to $5.5 billion in the first fiscal quarter of 2019. The company reported an earnings per share loss of $11.53. Macy’s withdrew its 2020 sales and earnings guidance and declined to provide an updated outlook. However, Macy’s Inc.’s digital business showed resilience and the retailer expects this to continue at a healthy double-digit growth rate through the back half of the year.

  

Ascena Retail Group is planning to declare bankruptcy besides closing at least 1,200 stores permanently.

As early as next week, thea group could be looking at filing for protection under Chapter 11, in an attempt to unload US $ 700 million of a total US $ 1.1 billion in debt.

Out of a total fleet of around 3,000 stores, the company can choose to keep some running while it prepares to either shut or sell some of its brands during the bankruptcy proceedings.

While the pandemic is largely to be blamed, Ascena had been battling lower sales as shoppers turned to e-commerce and footfall in malls dropped.

During the lockdown, the company had cut base salaries, furloughed employees and stopped paying rent while senior staff members took as much as 50 per cent pay cuts. However, this effort to preserve liquidity could not save their tanking finances.

The company has hired restructuring lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis and investment bank Guggenheim Securities for advice to tide over this time. Eaton Vance Corp will presumably take control of the company.

  

H&M Foundation, an initiative of the Swedish fashion giant H&M Group, is initiating a long-term project to support women garment workers in Bangladesh with a primary fund of $1.3 million, starting with their urgent needs connected to COVID-19.

As a first step, $1.3 million will be donated to WaterAid, CARE and Save the Children to provide around 76,000 young women, their families, and community members in around Dhaka with emergency relief, also reaching 1 million people with messages on Covid-19 and hygiene practices.

The initial support will include cash assistance for food, medication, and other necessities, health care and Covid-19 testing, hygiene materials and handwashing facilities, and work on awareness-raising, support to families where gender-based violence increases as an effect of the crisis, child protection and child education focusing on disadvantaged children.

In addition, H&M Foundation is also taking on a long-term commitment, starting in the autumn of 2020, involving important players from different sectors to achieve systemic long-lasting change, equipping women garment workers in Bangladesh for a future where work is defined by automation and digitalization.

Mulberry is planning to let go of a quarter of its global workforce. The British brand best known for its luxury handbags is already preparing to shutter its offices in Paris and Hong Kong. According to information obtained by FashionNetwork.com, starting Spring/Summer 2021, the brand also intends to discontinue its footwear and ready-to-wear collections, which are produced under licence by Onward Luxury Group.

The brand is hoping to refocus on London and leather goods, its core activity. It will also continue to offer jewellery and its eyewear line, which is produced under licence. Bags and small leath er goods account for 70 per cent of the brand's total sales.

Both Brexit and the current economic climate have been hard on the brand which, faced with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, is now in serious trouble. On 8 June, Mulberry issued a profit warning and announced that it would have to "manage [its] operations and cost base accordingly to ensure the company is the correct size and structure to reflect market conditions."

In reality, the fate of the brand's ready-to-wear line already looked to be sealed in March, with the announcement of the departure of creative director Johnny Coca. His last collection for Fall/Winter 2020-21 is still on sale. Coca joined the house in July 2015, as it sought to reposition itself around the high-quality accessible luxury segment and push forward with its international development.

According to Drapers, Mulberry is also on the verge of closing one of its two British, Somerset-based production sites, where the company manufactures almost half of its bags and leather goods. The factory in question is "The Rookery," which is located not far from Bath, in Chilcompton, where the brand was founded in 1971.

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