It comes with no surprise that the fashion apparel industry has changed drastically in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
- According to the latest statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau, hit by COVID-19, the value of U.S. clothing and clothing accessories sales went down by 50.5% in March 2020, compared with a year earlier.
- According to a recent NPR news report, in Bangladesh, the world’s second-largest garment exporter, about one million garment workers have lost their jobs as a direct result of sourcing changes. An online survey of Bangladesh employers, administered between March 21 and March 25, 2020, indicates that 72.4% of furloughed workers have been sent home without pay, and 80.4% of dismissed workers have not received severance pay.
- A survey of 700 companies conducted by the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) between 28 March and 6 April 2020 shows that companies in all regions of the world suffered significant numbers of cancellations and/or postponements of orders. Globally, current orders dropped by 31% on average. The severity of the decrease ranges from 20.0% in East Asia to 41% in South America.
- According to a newly created COVID-19 Tracker developed by the Worker Rights Consortium, it is concerning that many large-scale fashion brands and retailers are not paying their overseas manufacturers back for the materials the manufacturers have already paid for to start making garments.
Additionally, here is a list of well-known fashion brands that have announced to cut or cancel sourcing orders as of April 13, 2020:
- Primark has closed all its stores across Europe and the U.S. and asked all of its suppliers to stop production. However, the company has set up a fund to pay the wages of factory employees who worked on clothing orders that were canceled.
- Ross Stores has announced to cancel all merchandise orders through mid-June, 2020.
- Gap Inc. has decided to halt the shipments of their summer orders and the production of the fall products
- H&M has also canceled orders but told its suppliers it would honor the orders it already placed before the COVID-19.
- COVID-19 and the textiles, clothing, leather and footwear industries (ILO, April 2020)
- Clothing makers in Asia give stark coronavirus warning (BBC news)
Compiled by Meera Kripalu (Honors student, Marketing and Fashion Merchandising double majors) and Dr. Sheng Lu
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