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

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

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 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 Textile Import:

The US 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 prominent export countries in year 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 US 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 encourage consumer to go for US made goods. But despite of increasing 60% textile labor productivity since year 2000, the US mills are far enough to meet its local needs or demands. And there is no doubt that Chinese goods have substantial importance in American textile and 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. In above both cases, the trade and economy situation of both countries would be badly effect.

American Textiles Smart & Sustainable 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.

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 textile and apparel 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 stops here, the American apparel 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.

How Natural Fibres are Improving the Textile Sustainability

natural fibres

The usage of natural fibres has significantly increased in past few years. The reason behind this urge is an increasing awareness and vision of consumer about environment and climate.  In past few years, the sustainable developments in textile and apparel industry compelled manufacturers to produce eco-friendly products. The harmful effects of man-made fibres (acrylic, polyester, spandex and nylon) on environment and shortage of highly used resource (cotton) enforced authorities to conceive something new.

The current organic farming output couldn’t fulfil the present requirements of the industry. Although, the growth trend of organic farming is increasing day by day. And every year, we are getting handsome growth in the total organic farming production of the world. But, there is still a huge gap between supply and demand of the world which can’t fill in next few years. And unfortunately, this gap fills by other conventional way of production which doesn’t meet the ethical and sustainable production standards. So, the industry professionals are searching out some other substitutes which could give the consumers same attributes. But its impact on our environment is comparatively less than the current which we are following presently.

Natural Fibres from Natural Resources:

Our environment and natural resources has ruined due to extensive usage of synthetic material and other harmful chemicals. In order to meet the fast fashion demand and supply, the manufacturers are bluntly using all these materials and chemicals. As these materials and chemicals have direct impact in destruction of our green environment. So, the environment people are continuously striving for those alternatives which could replace these harmonized materials and chemicals. After digging out deeply, the experts came up with some best natural resources which could be used for sustainable products. And these natural resources include; banana, pineapple, coffee, lotus, stinging nettles and hemp. The extracted natural fibres from the said resources are considered as best both for human as well as for environment. Below we shall find in detail about the usage of the natural fibres which are made from above-said natural resources.

Coffee Ground:

A Taiwan based textile company named Singtex combined the post-patented treated coffee ground with polymer (recycled PET bottles as a base) to develop the master batches before spinning it into yarn.  These coffee grounds are the same which mostly coffee makers/drinkers throw away after making the coffee. So, this company utilizes the wasted grounds and used them as a main ingredient for coffee ground natural fibres. This natural fibers based fabric has multi-functional attributes which can use both for household as well as outdoor items. The Taiwanese company introduced S.Café (coffee ground based fibres fabric) for active wears. The said fabric has anti-bacterial natural attribute and dries 200 times faster than cotton.

Moreover, it has also odor blocking and UV protection attribute. All these extra-ordinary attributes are possible with wasted bottles and coffee ground. As per the company, five bottles and 03 cups of roasted coffee ground are good enough to make one T-shirt. Now need of the time is that how we could convince more and more fashion players to use this type of fabrics which has number of attributes with less impact on globe.

Banana:  

Banana natural fibers are made from stem of banana tree. This fibre is one of the world’s strongest natural fibres with added qualities of durability and biodegradable. Anyhow, extracting a fibre from banana stem is quite hard and labor intensive job. Banana fibres are normally similar with bamboo fibres but its durability, spin ability, fineness and tensile strength is better than it. You can use banana natural fibres in different textile products. As you will have different types of thickness and weight of this fibre so you can use the suitable type according to your requirements. For banana yarn, alkaline solution is used for boiling strips of the sheath. Once it gets softer and separated then these natural fibres joined together to make a long thread which are then spun wet.

Similar to coffee grounds, the banana stems are thrown by the farmers which normally use as main ingredient for banana natural fibres. There are so many products (like mats, ropes, hand-made papers and some woven fabrics) in which banana fibre is used as a main ingredient.  A company named “Green Banana Papers” is using banana fibers for its products like purses, vegan wallets, beads and papers.

Lotus:

There are countries like Thailand and Myanmar which is extensively working on lotus based natural fibres fabric. It seems fascinating that producing fabric from lotus. But the interesting thing is that the lotus natural fibres fabric has a luxurious feeling (mixture of silk and raw linen feel). Along with that it has added feature of stain-resistant, light weight, extremely breathable and soft & silky feel. The fabric processing of lotus based natural fibre fabric is bit typical. After harvesting the lotus stem, it is cut at the end to extract long and thin fibre. These fibres are washed after extraction and then dry it for weaving on traditional hand looms. The lotus fibre’s fabric is normally consider as expensive fabric due to its rich look and hand feel.

Hemp:

Hemp fibre considers as one the most versatile fibre in natural fibres list. It is most durable, resilient, has natural anti-bacterial and air conditioning system. The hemp’s plant is a fast growing plant which consumes less water and don’t require any fertilizer or pesticides. But despite of all its benefits, the cultivation of this plant is ban in the western world. And the reason behind this, it has direct connection with Cannabis Sativa plant which creates drugs. Anyhow, this plant is freely cultivates in China. And currently China is contributing the 50% of total world’s hemp production. Moreover, it also owes more than +300 international patents on hemp fibers and textile production.

Stinging Nettle:   

Similarly to hemp fibre, the stinging nettle natural fiber has also resourceful features. The sting nettle fiber based fabric keeps the wearer cool in summer and warm in winter. Urtica dioica is a common example of stinging nettle. And this plant is spreading throughout Europe, North America and also occurs in North Africa and some parts of Asia. So, it has an edge on hemp that it can be cultivated anywhere in Europe and US. Moreover, it consumes less water and don’t require any pesticides or fertilizer for growth. In order to get its fibres, it harvested in summer season. After harvesting the stems, you can get its fibre after drying the stems through certain steps.

Pinatex:

Just like its name, Pinatex drive from pineapple fabric. The pineapple leaf’s fibre fabric looks and feel like a leather. The process which extracts fibre from leaves is calls decortication. And the extracted fibres go through a certain industrial process to become non-woven textile.  Pinatex is a introduced by a UK based company named “Ananas Anam”. It’s a result of company’s several years efforts and research. The Pinatex is strong, versatile, breathable, soft, light, flexible fabric. And company is using this leather look fabric in both footwear and other textile accessories. Just like lotus fabric, the Pinatex is also costly fabric and normally consider as luxury item. On the other hand, the rest fabrics have potential to market them into mass level.

How Clothes Can Protect You from Ultraviolet Radiation

How Clothes Can Protect You from Ultraviolet Radiation

The cases of skin cancer are increasing in all over the world. Especially in UK, the figure of new patients is increasing significantly in every coming year. Over 80% of all types of skin cancer are caused by over exposure to UVR (Ultraviolet Radiation) of Sun. So, the experts are already trying to find the best solution or prevention to get out from this situation. And as of now, they found that clothes are the best and easy way to prevent ultraviolet radiation affect to human body.  This is why the customer’s demand toward UV protecting clothes has significantly increased.

The textile experts are doing a lot towards the functionality and over all look of the UV protecting clothes. Initially, the cloth’s appearance (darker) and especially the comfort level was not as good as it should be. But with the passage of time, the look and comfort level has significantly improved. The clothes which are UV protecting are normally called UPF labeled clothing. And now you can find a variety of garments in casual, athletic and sportswear category in the market. Due to increasing customer’s awareness, the demand and variety/functions (a part from UVF) of such clothes is significantly increasing.

Ultraviolet Radiation Protection:

In 1996, Australia has highlighted and standardized the concept of UPF (ultra-protection factor). It means how UPF based clothes can give a shield against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The ultraviolet radiation protection level varies in different fabrics. It’s level normally based on fabric construction, weight and color. For example, if a top labeled with UPF of 50, it means it allows only 1/50th of the Sun’s UV rays to your body. So, we can say it’s giving excellent protection from Sun’s UV rays. On the other hand, a white thin top allows 1/5th of the Sun’s UV rays to the body. Which means your body is badly effecting by the Sun’s UV radiations. Moreover, if the same white top is wet due to sweating then it will absorb even more UV radiation.

It’s really difficult to assess UVF protection through hand feel or naked eye that how much a cloth can protect you from UV radiations. Although you can see that how much light is passing through the cloth yet you can’t judge the UV radiation passing quantity. So for this, UPF system was introduce which determine the criteria of assessment. And the same system is working all over the world including the US (The ASTM International). The UV labeled clothing means that fabric has been tested in a standardized laboratory. And consumer can gain the narrated benefits of UV protection.

Ultraviolet Radiation Protection Cheap Alternatives:

Since the skin cancer patient’s numbers are increasing significantly so everyone should wear UPF labeled clothing. As these clothes are a bit expensive than daily routine wearing and not available on every store. So, is it necessary to get the same in any case? The answer is “NO”. As per studies in Australia, the clothes which are composite with Lycra/Elastane have more than UPFs of 50. The denim and corduroy clothing are one of those clothes which have higher protection from ultraviolet radiation. Moreover, the fabrics which are more dense in making (tight weave or knit), can protect you better from UV radiations. But it’s not necessary that every dense fabric can give you better protection. As composition of the fabric is also matter a lot.

Normally, the clothes are made in different fibers like cotton, polyester, wool and nylon etc. Some fibers have more ability to stop/reduce the ultraviolet radiation. For example, the fibers like Lycra, Polyester, Nylon and Acrylic are more protective towards UV protection. So, the clothes which have said fibers can protect you better from rays. On the other hand, a dense cotton cloth normally absorbs much UV radiation. Whereas, the shiny thin rayon fabrics normally reflects more UV and absorb less.  So, you have a range of options and characteristics of the fabric’s fibers. Now you have the choice here to select any option protect yourself from unseen rays.

Why Water Pollution is More Critical Than You Think

 Why Water Pollution is More Critical Than You Think

Water is life and it’s a main driving force for all living creatures of our planet. As per Slovakian proverb, “Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine”. We as human beings are the solely responsible for the pollution of this precious natural resource. Scientists are continuously discovering the reasons of water pollution. And as per their findings, one of the main reason of water pollution is our industries and especially the textile and clothing industry. No doubt the textile and clothing sector is catering the basic needs of the human beings. But on the other hand, it is also the main cause of water pollution and shortage.

As most of the industrial processing operations are totally depend upon water. The world’s environment organizations are really concerned about environment as well as water pollution issue. Now, they are working together to find out the ways for pollution free world.

Water Pollution in Textile & Clothing:

As mentioned earlier the textile and clothing industry is major entity of water consumption and pollution. The whole fabric making (De-sizing, Scouring, Bleaching and Mercerizing) and garment manufacturing (denim/non-woven laundry) process requires the plenty of water. And the water discharge from fabric and garment making process has full of hazardous chemical and metals.

Although there are ways to treat the water for reusable yet the treatment solution is a bit costly. And most of the small and medium mills avoid to install such pricey treatment plant into their production facility. So, when the untreated water of the mills dilutes into our rivers and lakes then it causes the sever health and environment issues.

Fashion Industry Trends:

The other studies show that the “micro-plastic” is a major component of synthetic clothing which is polluting our water. And it is worse than already banned plastic “microbeads” from cosmetics. And one more recent studies proves “microfibers” from synthetic clothing pollute water even worse than “micro-plastics”.

As per the recent research study of International Union for Conservation of Nature, the micro plastics contribute up to 31% in ocean’s annual pollution. And almost two third of this pollution derive from synthetic textile and car’s tyres. And other than industrial processing; these micro-plastics also enter into the water in everyday home wash and driving. As per study, a new fleece jacket release 1.7 grams of microfibers on each home wash. And polluting content quantity would be double in case of old jacket. This polluted water with microfibers (which is more harmful than micro plastics) directly affect the sea world. These microfibers absorb chemicals and penetrate into animal tissues in a high quantity.

The pollution rate of micro-plastic and microfibers varies country to country. As per recent research on fishes of Indonesia and America, the Indonesian fish was more contaminated with plastic whereas the American fish was infected with microfibers. In few countries car’s tyres causes the main pollution of micro plastics. Whereas, in other continents, synthetic textile is the main reason of micro-plastic pollution.

Water Saving Measures:

Keeping in view the present scenario, we should be more careful about the main causes of microfibers and micro-plastics pollution. And for this, we should make such clothes which uses high quality of natural fibers. We should change our washing instruments by adding washing bag and filters so that it can stop the debris and other fabric fibers.

For industrial processing, the Control Union (CU) issued new standard named Global Recycle Standard (GRS) for wastewater and chemicals. As per the standards, the wastewater treatment and chemical (sustainable chemical) usage should be in accordance with GOTS and Oekotex 100 standards.  The certification and installation cost of water treatment plant is high so small business normally owners avoid to do this. So, here the Govt. should take some productive measures and combine the industrial units at one place. In this way, they can share the combine water treatment plant and other mutual benefits for cost savings. Furthermore, the Govt. should take measures to promote the “World Water Day” (22nd March) theme (“Why Waste Water”). So, that everyone should know the importance of this valuable natural resource.