45 of 2018

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Newsletter No. 45                                                                                  23 November 2018

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Pharrell Williams’ new clothing line was ‘culturally influenced’

(Picture: EPA, MAJA HITIJ)

The 45-year-old musician’s latest range with sportswear giant Adidas, Solar Hu, attempts to “tap into different stories” of people he admires and he wants to use the brand to “to illustrate the beauty” of diversity.

Speaking to WWD, he said: “This one was culturally influenced. The core of what it is we do visually, beyond the clothes, is we try to tap into different stories of people that I admire, or take inspiration from.

“A lot of the people in our campaigns were of Sudanese, Senegalese and Kenyan descent because we wanted to highlight some of the beautiful skin complexion that’s often seen there.

“We’re using our platform to illustrate the beauty that is in the diversity of other colours. Not many brands in the past were willing to stand with ethnic stories in such a real, authentic way.

“If they did it, they would do it in ways they felt were palatable.”

The line takes inspiration from both high fashion and streetwear and the ‘Happy’ hitmaker confessed that it took a “whole lot of arguing” to prove the two styles would work well together.

He said: “Just like anyone else, I wore both [designer clothing and streetwear] It’s not like I discovered anything.

“We just did a whole lot of arguing [with those in high fashion] to get people to see that they were putting these partitions up.

“If you look at what pop culture was doing on its own, beyond what you could get at a retail store or a boutique, everyone was always mixing it up.” IOL News

The risks of cotton farming – South Africa

Cotton SA

The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) expects global cotton hectares to decrease by about 2% to 33.4 million ha in 2018/19. With global cotton yields continue to remain near the 10-year average of 770 kg/ha, world cotton production is projected to decrease by 4% to 26 million tons in 2018/19. India is expected to remain the leader in area under cotton with a projected 11.9 million hectares, representing more than a third of all global cotton area. For India, this would represent a 2% decrease in area from the previous season where yields and production were down due to pink bollworm infestation.

These pesticides are washed out of soils, and pollute rivers and groundwater. Pests often develop resistance to pesticides that are used on a continuous basis. Furthermore, the chemicals eliminate not only pests but also their natural enemies. This interference with the ecosystem considerably reduces biodiversity and can result in pests that were previously not so important (secondary pests) becoming a major problem, as e.g. emerging in China.

If cotton is cultivated intensively, it requires large amounts of water for irrigation. This causes soil salinisation, particularly in dry areas and hence a degradation of soil fertility. The diversion of entire rivers into huge irrigation channels in Central Asia has led to the gradual drying-up of the Aral Lake, one of the largest inland waters in the world. It is estimated that 60% of irrigation water in Central and Southern Asia is lost before reaching cotton fields because of poor infrastructure .

Cotton production also contributes to climate change. Industrial fertilizers are produced using considerable quantities of finite energy sources (1.5% of the world’s annual energy consumption), releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide. Furthermore, the excessive application of nitrates to agricultural land leads to their being transformed into nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”), a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more destructive than CO 2 in terms of global warming. Finally, soils are important carbon sinks. Soil degradation seriously reduces their carbon sequestration capacity, thereby contributing to the greenhouse effect.

As far as the local outlook is concerned, the 9th estimate for the 2017/18 production year indicates a cotton crop of 195 805 lint bales for the RSA, an increase of 152% over the previous season and 2% up from last month’s estimate. Dryland and irrigation hectares show increases of 68% and 171% respectively over the previous year mainly due to the more favourable prices of cotton in relation to competitive crops but also due to renewed interest in cotton production.

As at the end of August 2018 there were 39 446 tons of seed cotton and 4 988 tons of cotton lint in stock at cotton ginners. Local cotton ginners produced 3 830 tons of cotton lint in August and sold 2 761 tons of cotton lint. Local cotton spinners consumed 1 771 tons of cotton lint in August 2018, down 13% from August 2017 (mainly due to the closure of the Swaziland spinning mill towards the end of last year) whilst 2 631 tons were in stock on 31 August 2018.

Cotton South Africa (Cotton SA) has become the first laboratory to be certified under the ICA Bremen ‘International Laboratory Certification Scheme’. Designed to raise the bar in the quality testing arena, the aim of the scheme is to establish an approved list of laboratories worldwide that meet a standard level of quality assurance. With our long standing history of classing and HVI fibre testing experience, we will endeavour to uphold the proud standard level of quality assurance within the international cotton environment as well as the aims and contract sanctity values of ICA Bremen.” Eleven laboratories are currently in the process of assessment. Once certified, they will become a ‘laboratory of choice’ to resolve quality disputes in line with the ICA Bylaws & Rules, as well as providing a service to the cotton industry.
Social risks

Conventional cotton production has a series of social and economic risks, especially for small farmers in developing countries. Many small farmers in the South fall ill or die due to a lack of adequate equipment and knowledge about how to handle pesticides properly.
Monoculture of cotton
Medical costs and an inability to work are a severe economic burden on affected families. The excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in monoculture causes soil degradation, reducing its nutrient and water retention capacity. As a consequence, farmers face declining yields and have to increase production inputs.

The resistance of some pests and the appearance of secondary pests only add to the problem. To pay for the increasing costs of farm input, small farmers are obliged to borrow from banks or cotton buyers.

However, a farmer’s income from his cotton harvest is often lower than the cost of the inputs due to low crop yields and market prices, driving more and more farmers into debt. As cotton is a cash crop, cotton farmers are highly dependent on volatile world markets. Growing only cotton reduces families’ food security, particularly in regions with unstable climatic conditions, since in bad years they are unlikely to have enough money to buy food. Agri News Net

Zimbabwe’s firm sacks 200 as South Africa scraps trade pact

Zimbabwe’s apparel company Archer Clothing is witnessing fears of significant job losses after South Africa decided to scrap a 54-year-old bilateral trade agreement giving Zimbabwean firms preferential access to Africa’s biggest economy. Pretoria gave Harare 12 months notice in November last year of its intention to terminate the 1964 pact.

The agreement allowed relaxed rules of origin of single transformation, enabling clothing and textiles firms to use imported fabrics from Asia to produce for the South African market.

Archer Clothing in Bulawayo, a success story in the local textiles industry that had created 1,400 jobs in the past three years, recently laid off 200 workers as it foresees restricted access to the South African market, according to media reports in Zimbabwe.

According to the ‘double transformation’ rules governing the South African Development Community (SADC) Trade Protocol, fabric should be from within the region. While fabric is readily available from mills in Mauritius, Madagascar, Tanzania, Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe, those can only be used to manufacture particular clothing items like work and denim wear.

As the full range of fabrics are not available, mainly for fashion wear, the desired intra-region trade cannot happen, according to Jeremy Youmans, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers Association who is also the group finance director at Paramount Garments, that has a stake in Archer Clothing.

Harare has been pushing for a meeting with Pretoria over the issue. F2F

Did you know……..

It is thought that the average woman will buy 145 bags during her lifetime.

The most common materials for manufacturing clothing are linen, cotton and polyester.

Metal needles are relatively new, but 30,000 years ago, they were being made from animal bones

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