Photo by Thomas Euler
The latest trend to emerge from Paris has less to do with hemlines and everything with the soaring cost of raw cotton, according to a report by Women’s Wear Daily on Tuesday. At the Première Vision textile fair earlier this month, weavers plied designers and buyers with a profusion of alternative fabric mixes, including cotton blended with linen, viscose, synthetics, and cellulosic fibers such as lyocell, Modal, and Tencel.
Infographic by Women’s Wear Daily
Cotton prices have leapt 160 percent in the past year because of the growing disparity between supply and demand, says the trade publication. Flooding in major cotton-producing provinces in Australia, China, and Pakistan is partly to blame, as well as escalating demand for cotton from China. As a result, industry experts expect the price of cotton apparel, especially cotton-heavy denim lines, to see an uptick as high as 15 percent.
Cotton prices have leapt 160 percent in the past year because of the growing disparity between supply and demand.
But although we can expect to see more synthetics on the market because of higher cotton costs, the entire textile industry is in a state of flux. Wool prices have risen by 40 percent in the past year, while the cost of nylon and polyester increased by 15 to 20 percent in the last quarter of 2010.
To cope with the price differential, buyers have to get creative. “It’s still really tough,” Natalie McGuinness of Marks & Spencer tells WWD. “We’re looking to do more fabric auctions than we have done before, pooling together all our meterage across the business to try and get better leverage of scale. We’re also looking to different countries to manufacture in to gain duty benefits.”
McGuinness cites Cambodia and Bangladesh, neither which has sterling labor standards, as “fiscally attractive” options.