Do You Know These Key Facts about American Apparel & Textile Industry

American Apparel & Textile

The global apparel and textile industry is experiencing ups and down for last couple of years. There is no doubt that the American apparel and textile market has significant importance in the world’s textile industry. And the global textile facts and figures are usually determined by the contribution of this huge and well-served industry. If we look up the main input of American apparel and textile industry in global prospects. Then we come to know that it is contributing in almost every textile sector (man-made fibre to finished apparel). This industry is not only catering the needs of its local entities but it is also contributing a healthy role in global export market.

The overall global apparel and textile has become most globalized and economical sector after crossing the milestone of $726 billion in year 2016. As there are more than around 120 million people who are directly and indirectly involve with this progressive industry. So from global point of view, it has become the most important and famous industry in the world.

American Apparel & Textile Overview:

In 2016, the American apparel and textile industry were standing on fourth number in largest textile exporter’s country list. And the countries where they are exporting to its products (fibre, yarn, fabric etc.) is more than 200 in numbers. Out of which, 34 countries are those which are importing their products more than $100 million worth. If we closely review only fiber, yarn, fabric, and other non-apparel textile products export net worth of year 2017 then it was around US$ 28.6 billion. And the main portion in above figure was from fabric sector. As it was gain around $8.9 billion from the shipments to different countries. Further, the total net worth export value was 9% higher than the previous year 2016.

Whereas, the total net US shipment worth of fiber, textile and apparel was $77.9 billion in year 2017. And it was around $3.5 billion higher than the previous year of 2016. The main contribution in above figure was from yarn and fabric sector of American apparel and textile industry. As they were score around $31.5 billion in whole year which was around 40% in total contribution of the industry.

Not only is this, the American apparel and textile contribution in local supplies also remarkable. As this industry is solely supplying more than 8,000 different textile products to its military. And most of these supplied products are highly innovative and smart products in functions. As per US Government data study, the American apparel and textile is employing 5,50,500 workers. And further to that study, the one textile job normally supports three other jobs too. If we further break down the US textile market into apparel. As per Statista research study, we can see the following product vise break up:

American apparel

American Apparel and Textile Import:

The American textile and apparel market is no more as aggressive as it was a decade ago. As most of the local consumer apparel demand is normally cover by import from different cheaper countries. There are more than 150 countries which are directly or indirectly exporting apparel to US market. Out of which, China is standing on number one position with total share of 33.74% of US market. After China, Vietnam (14.32%) and Bangladesh (6.32%) were top exporting countries 2017. If we break down the US textile import volume into product vise then the major portion belongs to apparel (around 76%). After apparel, the made-up textile is accounted for 17%, fabric (6%) and yarn (around 1%).

US-China New Tariff Policy:

The American apparel and textile scenario has been totally changed after the recent announcement of President Donald Trump towards US China trade tariff policy. As per the recent heavy tariff on Chinese goods, the American apparel and textile demand shifted to other supplying countries. Since the China is a largest supplier of apparel and textile to US, is now facing slump in the current year. Here, one thing is interesting that most of textile products are not included into the 1102 new tariff products list. But there are some textiles machinery and equipments like injection molders or rolling machine spare parts which are in the list. But the Chinese apparel export figures are getting down gradually after the announcement of Donald Trump.

Furthermore, a positive jump has also been recorded in other export countries towards US exports. And out of these countries, Pakistan could get around 39% increases in last few months and was on top of list. Whereas, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India and Mexico were also get beneficial from this. As per the US Government, this entire new tariff list will support the local-industry. And it will also encourage consumer to go for made in USA goods. But despite of increasing 60% textile labor productivity since year 2000, the US mills are far-enough to meet its local needs/demands. In fact, Chinese goods have substantial importance in American textile/non-textile market.

If the recent tariff issue doesn’t resolve amicably then chances are that Chinese product could have abnormal price structure. And this thing could hurt the buying power of ordinary consumer. Furthermore, in-reaction to US new policy, the Chinese Government is also going to revise its tariff policy of US goods. So due to this us china trade war, the trade and economy situation of both countries would be badly effect.

American Apparel and Textiles:  Smart Approach

There is no doubt in this thing that American apparel and textile has a leading role in smart textile research and development sector. Their research and development experts introduced various smart and innovative gadgets, fibers and fabrics into the market. It includes antimicrobial fabrics, electronic textile which gauge heart or pulse rate, conductive and cool fabrics which has antistatic and temperature control properties. And currently these innovative products are successfully using in different industries like military and healthcare sector etc.

American Apparel and Textiles:  Sustainable Approach

In last few years, the American apparel and textile industry investment trend is particularly increasing in recycling and eco-friendly products. From 2006 to 2016, there is US$20 billion has been invested into new plants and equipment of the apparel and textile industry. The main focus of this investment is to enhance the recent plants and equipments with respect to new trends and environment demands. And the main attention is to reuse the pre and post-consumer textile waste in a best possible way.

In 2017, Cotton USA Sustainability Task Force was also established to meet the 2025 sustainability goals for cotton. And this association’s main goals are reducing the amount to soil (up to 13%) to produce one pound cotton fiber. Secondly, reducing soil loss by 50% and adding new soil development. They are also trying to increase to increase the water efficiency up to 18% along with that reducing energy for seed production around 15%. Lastly, they are also aiming to reduce greenhouse emission up to 39% and further trying to increase soil carbon up to 30%.

If we look up the implementation of the above narrated goals into US Cotton industry? Then we found a progress and productive outcome against above target and measures. This doesn’t stop here, the American apparel and textile industry’s continuous efforts towards supply chain transparency is also admirable. You would find most of the renowned American brands which are continuously displaying its transparency reports to its consumer review.

06 Ultimate Consumer Habits Which Leads to Sustainable Clothing Brands

Sustainable Clothing brands

The ethical and sustainable clothing brands is now in reach of every ordinary consumer of fashion world. There was time when fair trade clothing was not enough cost-effective that everyone can’t afford it easily. As there is a huge cost involve while developing ethical and sustainable clothing brands bulk production. This is why, an ordinary consumer, despite of willingness to pay such eco-friendly products, couldn’t buy it conveniently. So, they are forced to restrict themselves in unethical brands. And these brands are not only damaging the environment as well as hurting the labor laws too. As per the recent survey facts and figures, the Bangladesh is the second largest garment producer of the world. But its labor is earning an average 21 US cents/hour in most of the textile and garments factories. China is the largest garments manufacturing country of the world. And its worker is getting 93 US cents/hour.

In one year, there are almost +130 million garments are producing in worldwide. Whereas, the cargo ship which takes these garments from producing countries creates as much pollution as fifty million cars create.  It proves that from garments material sourcing till dispatch of readymade garments. Each and every step is becoming the sources of greenhouse gases. So, the vision of sustainable clothing is becoming a dream. Although every one of us knows this thing that how much important the sustainable clothing brands are. And how much it is compulsory in our daily wearing habits. But unfortunately, most of us don’t want to bother to change their lifestyle and purchasing habits.

Why Sustainable Clothing Brands?

The devastating story of our fast fashion craze is endless. Every day, we learn something new about the consequences of fast fashion industry. As these are not only damaging our economy but also bringing human and other species lives at stake. And due to this, there were so many incidents which were reported in Asian manufacturing countries in near past. Moreover, 70 million trees are continuously cutting just because of the fast fashion industry. And it also considers on the top (after Agriculture industry) of water consuming industry. Almost 20,000 liters water is required to produce 01 kg cotton. And the same amount of water is required to produce a denim jeans pant. Which is lying useless in our wardrobe for the whole year?

As per Wall Street Journal, 70% to 80% clothes remain unworn. Whereas the average life span of fast fashion is 35 days only. This is why; the demand of garments is increasing by every passing day. The famous brand Zara introduces 24 new garment collections every year. This figure proves this thing the garments fashion span is getting shorter day by day. It means the fast fashion lover wears these clothes less than 10 times and then it lye in their closets as useless. On the other hand, millions tons of garments consider as waste garments and throws away to dump into landfill. Keeping in view the current scenario, the following are some simple and cost effective measures. With the help of which, we can get out from this situation without spending any extra amount on it. And the dream of eco-friendly sustainable clothing brands wardrobe can be fulfilled.

Vintage Clothing:

If you really want to do something for your planet then your words as well as your actions should prove this thing too. Vintage clothing is a best way through which you can easily contribute towards sustainable clothing brands vision. By the passage of time, the awareness and importance of vintage clothing is increasing amazingly. Now you can have plenty of stores in vintage clothing in your area. Even you can get these types of eco-friendly and sustainable clothing via online too. If you are a bit creative then you can easily modify these clothing as per your desired fittings and style. Or even you can make it trendier by cutting and adding something on it. So, by putting some efforts, no one can even judge that you are wearing out dated clothes with nominal amount.

Clothes for Rent:

We all have few clothes which we bought for some special events. Although we wore the same on the particular event yet after that it’s lying useless in our wardrobe for years. Such fancy clothes are not only costly but also can’t be used for ordinary functions. So, you feel normally hesitate to wear the same and hang it as it is in your wardrobe. I am sure while reading these lines, you all are thinking about those clothes which you are truly fit into that category. So, instead of spending too much on these clothes, it is more appropriate to rent such clothes from the company. As there are so many companies which are offering very elegant clothing for daily basis rent.

So, you just go and get the clothes and once the function is over, you can return it to them. This thing not only save your money but you can also have variety of cloth options for upcoming occasions.

Water Pollution through Washing:    

All the synthetic clothes release microfibers in every wash which pollute our lakes and rivers. Since the usage of synthetic materials (like polyester) is increasing so every wash of these clothes is polluting our land. The researchers done study on Californian and Indonesian local fish markets in year 2015. And the study proved this thing that one quarter of fish purchased from local market contains plastics in its abdomen. Every cloth doesn’t require wash after every 01 or 02 wears. As there are so many clothes like denim garments which can wear for more than 05 to 10 times. So, we need to really care about this thing too that washing of every cloth is not necessary. Because it’s not only wasting the clean water but also contaminating our water reserves too.

Prefer Quality over Quantity:

The horrifying speed of increasing amount of waste clothes in every minute is a warning for every fashion lover. It’s really unbelievable that Hong Kong is creating 360Kg waste clothes after every 02 minutes. Whereas, an average American citizen discards an average 36.7Kg clothes every year. The similar situation you can also find in UK and rest Europe. The more than 85% waste clothes quantity is normally dumps into landfill. Out of which, almost 80% clothes were still in a position to reuse it. But the speed of fast fashion doesn’t allow us to look back on the garments which we bought few weeks back.

So, keeping in view the above situation, the best solution is to prefer quality over quantity. We should think differently while buying any clothes. During buying, we should ask from ourselves that how many years we could wear this garment? And for this, we need to be more careful while selecting any garment. If our selection is less trendy and looks more moderate then we can easily use it years to years. Because the trendy clothes don’t looks nice after a particular time span. If we follow this then we can not only develop a sustainable clothing wardrobe. But it will also save our money which can be used for some other productive matters.

Informed Decision:   

The ignorance kills you in every walk of life. So, if you are not well informed about your surroundings then you can’t be an intelligent buyer. To move smartly into a society one should have appropriate information about what is in and what is out. And for this, you should have good social interaction or good research and analytical skills. As this will definitely help you out while making any vital decisions towards affordable ethical sustainable clothing brands. If someone is not appropriately inform about day-to-day innovations or recent alternatives of sustainable clothing brands. Then inspite of having good intentions in buying, he can’t be able to make a better choice of slow fashion brands. So, we can say that grabbing information is also a prerequisite step in eco friendly sustainable clothing brands decision.

When we talk about information, it means we should have complete information about good and bad brands. We should update ourselves both ethical as well as unethical brands. So, while taking buying decision it keeps help you out from all aspects.

Revival of Fixing Attitude:

The fast fashion brands are not only ruins our environment but it also lowering the product quality standards. Since the fashion span is very short so everyone is just focusing on production quantity timelines. And nobody is focusing the product quality parameters; this is why the quality standards don’t meet properly. And due to this, we keep aside some of our clothes because its buttons are broke or having small hole. As these types of small issues can be tackle by your own. If you can’t do the same by your hands then you can even get it repair from the mending people too. So, by putting small efforts or time, you can give new life to your clothes and take them out from waste clothes category.

Closing Lines:

Sustainable clothing brands are not a daydream even then if you feel that you can’t afford the same. Then the above simple and long lasting suggested alternatives for toxic free and eco-friendly sustainable clothing brands are for you. So, if you have a willingness to develop a better green world. Then you have to start working from your own personal wardrobe with sustainable clothing brands. Once you done it for your own then definitely you should think about your surroundings for the same pattern. So, in short words, we could say that the need of the time is to become an ethical consumer. As sustainable clothing brands are already in the market but we are still lacking ultimate ethical consumer of these products.

The Importance of Clothes Recycling Towards Green World

Clothes Recycling

The clothes recycling practices is no doubt a healthy and positive activity towards eco-friendly goal. The apparel and textile industry is no doubt one the biggest polluting industry after oil and gas industry. From spinning to final product finishing, each and every step is consuming too much water and synthetic harmonized chemicals. And these chemicals are not only contaminated our water but also affecting our natural environment as well. It is estimated that 20 thousand tons of indigo are produced annually for the purpose of dyeing of denim jeans. Initially, this indigo dye was made from plants but now it is synthetically made. By the passage of time, this problem is getting sever and more intensive. So, today beside water and chemical issue, we are also facing a problem of wasted clothes. Which is a gift to our environment from the followers of fast fashion trends?

As per the research, approximately 450 million pairs of jeans are sold in US every year. And the study proved that a single American owns “07” pairs of blue jeans. Whereas, other research study revealed that an Americans spend approximately $2000 on apparels or wearing products every year. But the Manhattan people buying was double from other Americans which is $400 per person per month. As far as UK people are concern, they spend nearly $70 billion per year on clothing and footwear. The UK, Italy, Germany and Europe spend around $782 per year on clothing. On the other hand, China is big exporter of textile and garments with a world-wide market share of 54%. It produces and exports 60 million cotton garments and 90 million yards cotton fabric all over the world. And this figure is on upward trend on every passing year.

Clothes Recycling Concept:

Keeping in view the above situation, where the water, chemicals and dyes consumption are already uncontrollable. And now the sheer burden of wasted-clothes is also a big challenge for the environment. The only solution for all these uncontrollable issues is clothes recycling. Through clothes recycling, we can save water, avoid pollutions of chemicals and wasted clothes as well. Although clothes recycling concept is not new for us yet even today we are not practicing it on a mass level. Accordingly to U.S. EPA 2016 report, around 16.2m tons of textile waste was generated in 2014 and out of which 2.62m tons were recycled. And most of the portion (10.46m tons) of waste was sent to landfill. As per recent research study, the single US person generates 82 pounds of textile waste per year. And out of this 82 pounds waste, only 15% is donated/recycled whereas 85% is sent to landfill.

Similarly, we heard about a lot about recycled fibre fabric. But the fact is that only 0.1% of recycled fiber took back into program and recycled into new fibre. If we analyze the annual environmental affect of houshold’s wasted clothes. Then it would be equal to 1000 water bath tubs and carbon emissions from driving of a car for 6000 miles. In UK, a research study was commissioned by Sainsbury and according to that around 235m items ended up on landfill in last spring. As people were planning to refill their wardrobes for summer’s clothes collections. Although in UK, the percentage of clothing throwing to landfill is 14% less than the previous year. As it is 3,00,000 tons instead of 3,50,000 tons. Even then there are lots of things which we need to do to enhance the practices for recycling in an ordinary consumer.

Clothes Recycling Efforts:   

As per the above study results, the major portion of the wasted clothes went to landfill. And every cloth has different fabric composition and construction. So, its decomposition time is different due to its inner ingredients. So, dumping a different composition/construction of garments isn’t a good idea. Because, there are some synthetic materials which take more than 400 years for decomposing.  So, as we discussed earlier, the best and ideal way is clothes recycling. And we can promote this approach by following way:

  • First of all check your local council or charity organization which accepts textile or clothes for recycling. If you find the same then it’s a good source to give away your useless clothes to them. Because these are the right people who can reuse these rejected clothes in a better way.
  • Always try to find out your nearest clothes bank in supermarkets, car parking. As these are nearest and convenient way through which, you can drop your useless garments for clothes recycling or reuse.
  • There are so many places where you can even sale your old clothes and get cash. I think this option is a best from other above alternatives. As you can not only do something for your planet along with that you can also earn something for your new clothes too : ). You can even sell the useless clothes through online retailers like Ebay, Kijiji etc.
  • There are number of charities or community group of people who earn money through recycling goods selling. And this money they invest into another community welfare projects. So, the recycling business is also taking a healthy contribution into the welfare of mankind.

Textile & Clothes Recycling Potential:

In some products, if a clothes recycling is not possible then that product can be recycled into fabric, wiping cloths, auto insulation, carpet pads, etc. In short, the awareness of the clothes recycling is increasing due to eco-friendly approach and landfill pressure. So, we have to take this thing very seriously that how we could educate our surroundings about clothes recycling benefits. There are only 500 – 550 recycling companies in US which are owned and operated by small family businesses. Although, the United States textile recycling industry is also recycling fewer quantity (approximate 2.5 billion pounds) of textile waste. But this quantity is just a drop in an ocean. And the similar insufficient situation we are also experiencing in UK market as well. As the research study says that almost 100% textiles and clothes recycling are possible.

Closing Thoughts:

So, in order to have a sustainable lifestyle, everyone from us should take part in recycling practices process. In our other environmental issues due to apparel fashion and textile, we blamed manufacturers, importers and sellers. Whereas, this problem has direct relation with consumer and mostly the consumers are the main culprits for this massive issue. Because, if they realize their responsibilities then the half of the issues can control in an effective way. For the rest issue, we need to emphasize on the clothes recycling industries both in Government and private level.

As per the above analysis, there is an immense need of such industry in almost all countries. As the supply of useless clothes is too much, whereas the clothes recycling units are just like a drop in an ocean.  This is why most of the quantity of this waste has to send for landfill. As a dumpling clothes is not an intelligent solution, on the other hand it should be consider as environmental crime. Because we are burying poison in shape of synthetic fabric clothing. The percentage of clothes recycling should be enhanced so that we could fulfill our dream of green world.                     

 

Is Old ways of Sourcing in fashion industry Still Key to Success?

 

sourcing in fashion

By definition, sourcing is a process through which something is obtained from another place. So, the sourcing in fashion industry is process to procure apparels from other best resources. The sourcing decision is normally made on the basis of several factors. Although sourcing of anything is not a simple task. That’s why, the concern people always first try to make/develop the product by their own. If the production of particular product is not cost effective, non-availability of skills, unsatisfactory suppliers or vendors then they have to go for sourcing. There are four factors on the basis of which one can decide whether to make or source the product. And it includes cost, production capability, quality and lead time of the required product.

Cost: In some products, the product cost is not as cheaper as compare to the outsource supplier. It could be due to several factors like cheaper labor availability or cheaper raw material cost due to several suppliers. So, in this particular case, you better decide outsource the production instead of in-house manufacturing.

Production Capability: Every territory and geographic location has its own characteristics and benefits. If we consider the apparel industry examples then some areas have skilled labor of top items (jackets, upper, shirts etc). Whereas, some are good in washing capability due to its good water PH value and labor proficiency. So, here in this particular case, again you will have to make fashion sourcing strategy according to the product characteristics and classification.

Quality:  Quality is no doubt the foremost requirement of every client. If you are compromising on product quality due to unskilled labor or usage of sub-standard raw material. On the other hand, you could have option to procure the better quality with same cost. Or by paying some extra pennies for better quality from contract manufacturing. Then your first choice would be none of the other to outsource the product.

Lead Time: The product lead time is also really crucial in product development process. Some companies have expertise and running regular orders in specific products. Such companies can offer you not only competitive prices of those products but also give you a short lead time. So, in that particular case, you will definitely choose outsourcing option.

Sourcing in Fashion Industry:

The sourcing in fashion industry was use to follow the traditional ways. In which the main motive is to reduce product cost through selection of cheapest manufacturers. And in order to get cheap manufacturing vendors, you have to look for in less developed countries. This is why, the fashion industry gradually moved from west to Eastern Europe to Asia and Africa.

With the passage of time, the ways of production and processing is changing and improving. The research and development teams are continuously focusing on time high quality product with low cost. In order to reduce the cost, instead of human being, the robots are working in many industries. So, by adding these automation options, one can control his/her day to day increasing labor cost. But practically speaking, its not possible to implement it on all operations of the fashion industry. Because due to fast fashion, every time you will have to change your production lines and flow drastically. But if this addition happens practically then it can affect 231 million manufacturing jobs at risk in almost 50 countries of the world. Anyhow, it’s a long debate which can distract us from our original topic i.e. sourcing in fashion.

Sourcing in Fashion: Automation & Digitization

Furthermore, through technology the sourcing in fashion can also be cost effective as well as fast.  The R&D people also suggested some new ways through which sourcing in fashion operation can handle efficiently and even effectively. And as per them, there are two ways which can revolutionize the fashion sourcing world and it include as follows:

Digitization in Sourcing:  

It’s the requirement of every client for more transparency in production and material sourcing. Along with that everyone is demanding for shorter lead-time and increased production. All of this can happen by the help of digitization in sourcing. As per the current market scenario where speedy but customize production trend is getting hot. So, you can’t meet the market trends without digital support. The sourcing in fashion with digital mode has positive impact on China which is a big player in textile sector. Since the wages are increasing in China so it’s time to move brand manufacturing outside China. In this particular matter, digitization will help the Chinese manufacturers to streamline its product cost.

In-fact, sourcing digitization will empower the client to speak more effectively. As per the experts, there will be a time when people place customize apparel orders through their mobiles. These order will digitally sent to the manufacturers for completing the desired job.  So, the elimination in barriers through digitization will definitely help the manufacturers to speed-up their productions. And this can shorten the lead time and allow end users to communicate their requirement directly. When we look this concept in a broader way then a storekeeper can place the order directly to manufacturer.   So, with the help of digitization, the sourcing in fashion is not only fast but cost effective too. Because the storekeeper will place the order as per most recent trend of the local market. And this would definitely decrease rate of waste clothes which lye on shelves due to non-selling.

Li&Fung is currently investing heavily in digitization concept. And their main motive is to streamline their operations, transparency in production and focusing on digital-design to avoid prototype cost. The famous brands Zara, H&M and Macy’s are also focusing on same line. What they are doing, they are trying to change the whole shopping experience of the customer who visit them. They will try something to the customer and then it will be customized by the help of AI and made nearby.

Automation in Sourcing:

Automation in sourcing means you replace human labor with robots. This approach is vice versa to the traditional sourcing in fashion. Where everyone is normally prefers remote manufacturers due to low cost. But in this approach, your manufacturing is handling by robots so you try to build manufacturing set up closer to end user markets. Moreover, you have a close interaction with the end user so the product innovation or customization is possible. Along with that you can easily enhance your production speed which will shorten the lead time of high fashion apparels. Furthermore, changing in geographical location can also eliminate the huge cost and hassle of long-distance transportation/duties. In-future, if this concept runs well then there will be no inventory at all as all products are made on-request.

There is no doubt that most of the people believed that in future automation would be the major driver in sourcing decision. And this thing will happen in next few years when sourcing people prefer automation instead of labor cost. Its fact, by implementing automation, there is chance the number of people will lose their jobs. But on the other hand, the new jobs are also created with better remunerations. And these new jobs would be a bit tech oriented like data analyst, engineers, technician etc. By adopting automation, factories have even a better chance to grow. So, they could also adjust the surplus staff to other vacant posts (after some training). Anyhow, there are some practical limitations which are also discourage the concept of automation in fashion industry.

Sourcing in Fashion: Practical Approach

There are some people who don’t believe on automation and digitization approach. As per them, the apparel industry is not like other industries where production steps are fixed.  As every product production steps are different from past products due to change in fashion trends (which are already a more volatile thing of current phase). So, you can’t replace skilled workers with robots. On the other hand, some believe that digitization process accompanied with automation can be practical and beneficial. But it’s not a homogenous which equally fits and beneficial for all. As it would be more practical for some brands and may be impractical for few of them.

Sourcing in fashion through digitization and automation is no doubt revolutionary concept for fashion players. And there are so many brands which are transforming their processes to take maximum benefits from this concept. Through automation, you can’t say this thing that mass production will again shift and run in the West in next-decade. But you will see many players who will return and collect the benefits of this concept.