NEW YORK — Executives from major apparel brands and retailers will be searching for ways to reinvent and reenergize their sourcing strategies during the WWD Global Sourcing & Supply Chain Forum on April 15.

This story first appeared in the March 24, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The global economic downturn has led to a tidal shift in the sourcing landscape. China’s once-dominant position as the world’s low-cost apparel manufacturer has been weakened by rising costs and plummeting demand. Asian neighbors like Vietnam have been the beneficiaries of China’s losses. As economic conditions have deteriorated, pressure to reduce costs has only grown.

The forum speakers will be sourcing experts from leading companies who will address the full range of issues facing apparel executives. Speakers will share strategies for reducing costs and consolidating throughout the supply chain, opinions on how President Obama’s trade agenda will impact sourcing decisions and methods for how companies can move beyond relying solely on Chinese manufacturing.

Kathryn Cullen, vice president at Kurt Salmon Associates, will speak on utilizing technology and organizational abilities to create stronger connections between sourcing and product development. Other speakers will include Rick Darling, president of Li & Fung USA; Caroyl Miller, deputy textile negotiator with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and Sarah Thorn, director of international trade with Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The search for sourcing alternatives comes with higher risk when it comes to working and environmental conditions. A special panel will tackle the increased challenges of corporate social responsibility during difficult economic times. Speakers on the panel will include Marcela Manubens, senior vice president of global human rights and social responsibility at Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., and Susan Arnot Heaney, director of corporate social responsibility at Avon Products Inc.

The summit will take place at the Helen Mills Theater here on West 26th Street. Presentations will begin at 8:30 a.m. For more information, contact