H&M Says it Will 'Phase Out' Sourcing from Myanmar

FILE PHOTO: Workers tailor and arrange clothing at a garment factory at Hlaing Tar Yar industry zone in Yangon March 10, 2010. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Workers tailor and arrange clothing at a garment factory at Hlaing Tar Yar industry zone in Yangon March 10, 2010. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo
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H&M Says it Will 'Phase Out' Sourcing from Myanmar

FILE PHOTO: Workers tailor and arrange clothing at a garment factory at Hlaing Tar Yar industry zone in Yangon March 10, 2010. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Workers tailor and arrange clothing at a garment factory at Hlaing Tar Yar industry zone in Yangon March 10, 2010. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

The world's second-biggest fashion retailer, H&M, has decided to gradually stop sourcing from Myanmar, it told Reuters on Thursday, as reports of labor abuses in garment factories in the country increase.
H&M became the latest brand to cut ties with suppliers in the country after Zara owner Inditex, Primark, Marks & Spencer and others. Some experts say the trend could ultimately leave workers in the country worse off.
"After careful consideration we have now taken the decision to gradually phase out our operations in Myanmar," H&M said in an email to Reuters.
"We have been monitoring the latest developments in Myanmar very closely and we see increased challenges to conduct our operations according to our standards and requirements."
Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Min Tun was not immediately available to comment on H&M's announced exit.
H&M said on Wednesday it was investigating 20 alleged instances of labor abuse at Myanmar garment factories that supply it, as a UK-based NGO said cases of alleged abuses including wage theft and forced overtime have multiplied since a military coup in February 2021.
The coup plunged Myanmar into an ongoing political and humanitarian crisis.
The garment sector is a key employer in the Southeast Asian country, where mostly women workers produce clothes and shoes for major brands in more than 500 factories.
"I regret H&M’s announcement, as it will have a negative impact on thousands of women workers in Myanmar," said Vicky Bowman, director of the Myanmar Center for Responsible Business and former British ambassador to Myanmar.
H&M said its exit would follow a "responsible exit framework" developed by IndustriALL, a global union that has been campaigning for brands to stop doing business in the country, and that was cited by Inditex as a reason for its withdrawal.



Milan Fashion Week: Prada Projects Youthful Optimism, Not Escapism, in a Turbulent World

Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)
Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)
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Milan Fashion Week: Prada Projects Youthful Optimism, Not Escapism, in a Turbulent World

Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)
Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)

Without making overt statements, Milan designers expressed their concern over the global turbulence through their collections.

Miuccia Prada said she wanted to project optimism. “Because even if the times are bad, I feel that it was the right thing to do,’’ she said backstage at the Prada show. She is not promoting escapism. “Eventually, I propose something positive, but escapism, I don’t like.”

Not using the platform to comment would be “irresponsible,’’ said the designers behind the Simon Cracker brand, born 14 years ago to contrast the prevailing fashion system with upcycled collections.

They dedicated their collection, titled “A Matter of Principle,” to “the children victims of matters of principle.”

Some highlights from the third day Sunday of mostly menswear previews for Spring-Summer 2025:

Prada projects optimism The Prada menswear collection plays with the idea of imperfection. But nothing is as it seems.

Tops, jackets and hoodies seem shrunken, more than cropped. Overcoats have three-quarter sleeves. It’s a wardrobe somehow inherited, already lived-in. Creases are part of the construction, as technical as a pleat. Pointed shirt collars are held aloft by wires. Trousers feature faux belts, low and below the waistline. Belts also are featured as decoration on bags, as if to close them.

Miuccia Prada, co-creative director of the brand along with Raf Simons, said playing with the idea of the real vs. the fake “is very contemporary,” calling such details “an invitation to take a closer look at the clothes, up close.”

The neutral color palette is punctuated by warm feminine shades: a bright green cardigan, a floral blouse, a turquoise coat, which the designers said suggest a mother’s or grandmother’s wardrobe.

“We wanted (the collection) to be already alive, as if clothes you already lived with,” Simons said backstage.

Prada models emerged from a simple white hut, descending into the showroom down a runway flanked by a white picket fence. The designers describe the setting both as essential and utopian — and youthful.

“Here youth is the hope, it’s the future,” Prada said. “In this moment, we thought it was relevant also to encourage youth to think about our world.”

A world in knots at Simon Cracker So many knots to undo in the world, so many knots holding together the latest Simon Cracker collection of mostly upcycled apparel.

For Spring-Summer 2025, designers Filippo Biraghi and Simone Botte assembled their collection of repurposed apparel castoffs using laces and drawstrings to create skirts from tennis shirt panels, dresses from knitwear and restructure jackets. Each piece is unique.

The “nervous” color palette of black, violet, sea blue and acid green was achieved through dying, each material reacting differently to the process.

“It is a way of recounting what is happening in the world, without being too explicit,” Biraghi said backstage. “It would be irresponsible to not be political in this moment.”

The 14-year-brand’s name is meant to denote that something is broken — cracked — in the fashion system. They embrace imperfection as part of the beauty of their creations, made from forgotten or discarded garments and deadstock fabrics, this time including textiles from Italian sportswear brand Australian.

Australian, which is gaining traction with the club crowd, also created a capsule collection of black neon and technical garments for Simon Cracker, its first production line. Doc Martens provided the footwear, which the designers personalized with pins, badges and costume jewelry.