It has been seven months since the Covid-19 pandemic upended global garment supply chains, as buyers abruptly – and retroactively – canceled orders, and suppliers and workers’ rights organizations called foul and demanded payment in full. In the ensuing months, many (but not all) buyers felt obligated to reinstate orders and honor other original contract obligations.
The questions explored in this report are related to the purchasing practices of brands and retailers as they place new orders with suppliers during the continued Covid-19 pandemic.
With many apparel suppliers facing sharply reduced sales and with many already reeling financially from the failure of some buyers to honor pre-pandemic contractual obligations, how are brands responding to their business partners’ distressed circumstances? Are they treating suppliers fairly? Or are brands and retailers taking advantage of suppliers’ desperation to extract price discounts and other concessions?
Also, how are current trends in order volume and pricing affecting the viability of suppliers? What will be the impact on the tens of millions of workers who sew apparel for their livelihood?