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26 Apr 2021

Cheryl Arcibal, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

Chinese apparel brand 361 Degrees to source Xinjiang materials with China Cotton Industry Alliance

361 Degrees doubles down on using Xinjiang’s cotton as China’s rift widens with the world“, 26 April 2021

361 Degrees International Limited, one of China’s largest home-grown brands in sports shoes and apparel, has signed an agreement with the China Cotton Industry Alliance (CCIA) to obtain its fibre from Xinjiang, defying the boycott by Western consumer brands over alleged labour abuses.

The company, based in the Fujian provincial city of Jinjiang, will buy raw cotton, yarns, fabric and other material from the CCIA and use the association’s trademark in its sales and marketing campaigns, according to a press statement. The CCIA will dedicate its “best cotton fields” to supply 361 Degrees, according to the statement, without providing details about its membership or production capacity. [...]

Through the partnership with CCIA, 361 Degrees “(hopes) to have the opportunity to provide consumers with better quality China cotton,” according to Zheng Yexin, the general manager of the company’s brand management centre. [...]

“The natural condition for cotton production in Xinjiang is superior, and it is entirely possible to produce high-quality cotton that exceeds Australian cotton standards,” said Liu Qiuhua, the general manager of 361 Degrees’ apparel product centre.

The partnership will also allow 361 Degrees to “convey the concept of comfortable, high quality and sustainable development of natural China cotton, and further enhance the international influence of China cotton,” Liu said.

Founded in 2003, 361 Degrees makes athletic shoes, clothes and accessories and is the controlling stakeholder of a venture with the Finnish brand One Way.

Part of the following timelines

China: 83 major brands implicated in report on forced labour of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang assigned to factories across provinces; Includes company responses

China: Mounting concerns over forced labour in Xinjiang

Brands face boycott in China over decision not to source Xinjiang cotton due to allegations of forced labour