As the industry convenes in New York for Texworld USA July 22-24, conversations in the halls of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center will surely center around two subjects: tariffs and sustainability.
While tariff uncertainty looms like a dark cloud for some, the evolution toward more sustainable and transparent operations is a promising—yet challenging—trend. Ambitious efforts are stymied by such hurdles as desirability, scalability and cost, and companies are left seeking the trustworthy info and actionable advice to help execute their strategies.
“Aligning all the stakeholders to build a more sustainable business that a consumer is invested in is the main challenge,” Jennifer Bacon, show director for fashion and apparel, confirmed to Sourcing Journal. “The textile industry is the most fragmented, and convincing all parts to move in one direction is difficult. Manufacturers, brands, retailers and consumers all have to buy into it.”
“It will take time and everyone has to be responsible,” she concluded.
Cognizant of these concerns, this year’s Texworld USA features a refreshed program and education series to deliver the expert insight and solutions buyers are clamoring for. The 2019 show will provide a platform to help brands explore these issues and chart a map toward achieving their goals.
Kicking things off will be Liz Hershfield, head of product development, production and sustainability digital consumer brand incubation at Walmart eCommerce, with a forward-looking keynote on sustainable practices in fashion and apparel. “Where are we going? The Future of Sustainability in the Fashion Industry” will draw from her background with Walmart and Bonobos.
Those in need of guidance on enhancing supply chain visibility and transparency can receive just that in the panel immediately following Hershfield’s keynote. With “Transparency and Traceability: Challenges Facing Brands,” Maggie Kervick of Glasgow Caledonian New York College will lead a conversation with Sourcemap’s Juliette Barre, Athleta’s Leslie Ferrick, PVH Corp.’s Louise Claughton and United Nations Consultant Karen Newman that explores the ins and outs of successful supply chain management—and the tools and tech that can help.
Consumer education, a vital component of the sustainability movement, will also be addressed. “With the mass amounts of resources and information available showing how the apparel industry negatively contributes to the problem, consumers want sustainable solutions,” Bacon said. “Companies know sustainability practices are not just an option, but a requirement in the future, but some are confused how to achieve this.”
“From Launch to Growth” and “Discussing Circular Solutions” panels will address this matter, providing details on how companies can improve internal processes and systems and how to become sustainably certified.
Meanwhile, those searching for clarity around tariffs should mark Wednesday’s “U.S. Trade Policy: Sourcing Strategies and Future Outlook for Fashion Brands and Retailers” panel on their calendar. Moderated by Robert Antoshak, managing director of Olah, talks will highlight critical sourcing trends for U.S. fashion brands and retailers, including impacts of the U.S.-China tariff war and the outlook of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement. Sharing insight will be University of Delaware’s Dr. Sheng Lu, United Stated Fashion Industry Association’s Julia Hughes and Vince’s Mark Engebretson.
It’s this proactive program refreshing that attendees say keep them returning year after year. Eddys Brand’s Carla Farina says she’s been attending Texworld USA since 2007 and has only missed two sessions. “The transformation in regards to the trends and education is amazing,” she noted. “It’s evident that there has been a shift to helping designers grow over ‘pick and buy.’”
Home Textile Symposium
The co-located Home Textiles Sourcing Expo has expanded and added a dedicated platform, known as the Home Textile Symposium, which will tackle the hard facts for the home textile industry. While Texworld USA has previously held seminars dedicated to this industry, the 2019 programming has been enhanced with topics and experts who will specifically target this industry.
Meanwhile, Textile Talks will also take place enabling visitors to gain valuable information about the global textile and apparel sourcing landscape, including how to remain relevant in the textile supply chain and how to prepare companies to adapt.
Putting the pieces together with networking
With myriad sessions, talks and networking events, Texworld USA provides ample opportunities for attendees to reflect on what they’ve learned—together. This sharing of best practices is more important than ever in our rapidly changing environment, Bacon says. “Major retail outlets are going out of business and e-commerce is becoming more prevalent, so it’s important to make connections and have a support system,” she noted.
This priority on industry convergence is also well received by attendees. “Texworld USA is an extraordinary gateway for creative minds to connect with vendors that have the tools and knowledge to bring any fashion idea to market at a global scale,” said Emiliano Santillan, men’s outerwear designer at Michael Kors. “It’s a realm in which the creative meets the creator.”