20/1/21 – The pandemic is currently in its 2nd wave and this is having an effect on the development and production of sportswear. Factories around the globe are struggling and this is delaying the development and the production line of many sportswear factories.
November saw the 2nd wave arrive, and this really affected most of Europe. The UK went into tiered lockdowns while many European followed suit or completely locked down.
3 of our European factories’ semi-closed in November and December for a couple of weeks as staff were infected, and this has delayed all developments and production. The 2nd wave is currently at its peak and many countries are in full lockdown which again is having an effect on projects.
Many of the factories have created shift work and bubbles so that they can continue to function, however, this is far from ideal as these bubbles are not as streamlined as a fully functional factory.
In China, the 2nd wave is also having an effect and we have recently understood that local governments within China have implemented lockdowns and restrictions on movements. One of our factories informed us today they cannot dispatch and samples or production until these restrictions are lifted.
Chinese New Year (CNY) is upon us again and this was around the time last year the world really woke up to the possibility Covid-19 could become a global issue. It seems like yesterday but has been a long year for many.
The usual activity around CNY is for all sportswear factories to close for 4 weeks to allow workers a month to relax with family. We think that lockdowns will be in place during CNY to try and reduce the infection rates so that the workers have a better chance of returning to work after the celebrations have ended. There are no guarantees that this will be the case as last year it took around 6 weeks after CNY ended before factories got back to work.
Note also that restrictions and lockdowns don’t just affect the final sportswear factory. It also affects all of the trims, fabrics and components that make up the garment, so while a factory may not have any infections or restrictions, they may struggle to obtain the nominated/specified materials to build the samples or production.
We have experienced this a lot over the last 12 months, especially when it comes to fabric availability for samples. Usually, fabric mills will hold a small amount of each fabric in stock for sampling, however, due to the cancelled orders and decrease in big brand orders, this has resulted in many fabrics not being available.
The good news is we are still working and our projects are being managed like normal. We are pushing all of our clients to work through as fast as possible so that they are at the top of the pile when factories return.
The other good news is that activewear, in general, has grown during the pandemic. Sales have increased due to more people taking up sports and therefore buying sportswear. The extra time people now have and the fact that exercise is being encouraged by most governments is driving demand which we hope continue after the pandemic ends.
We thank you for your patience while the world copes with this pandemic and we will keep our clients up to date with any delays that may occur due to any lockdowns.
Take care and stay safe.
All at Blue Associates Sportswear