Apparel manufacturing in the USA has been greatly affected by automation, leading to many apparel factories moving offshore or to other countries. What has not been affected and in fact, has flourished, is quality, defect-free apparel. That said, to maintain their edge, apparel manufacturers in New York must stay up on industry trends. Here are a few to keep an eye on.
Labor Changes in China
China has dominated the textile industry for years, but that has slowly been changing, due to two things. First, Chinese workers are demanding better wages and working environments. Second, lower cost countries are eating into their market.
The result has been that China has lost market share to countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan, a trend that is likely to continue. As a result of that, China has been moving slowly towards the manufacture of higher-end apparel that costs more to manufacture but also yields a higher sale price. This promises to open up new opportunities for products made in the USA.
Overall Improvements in Workers’ Rights Drive up Costs
A number of factors, including deadly accidents, have shifted focus and perspectives onto workers’ rights in places besides developed countries. As developing countries that offered manufacturing at very low costs have improved, the focus on workers has increased. That has led to a new focus on workplace safety as well as the quality of life as it pertains to the workplace.
The largest influencer of this trend is political pressure that is put on retailers who purchased products from countries that had some of the more notorious workplace safety records. That pressure has led major brands to insist on better work conditions or even moving manufacturers. The overall trend as a result of all of this has been increased costs.
The retail industry has long been very competitive. Most retailers have either embraced expensive retail goods or have built niches for themselves. As prices increase for the less expensive products, those differences tend to narrow, leading to price points that are moving closer and closer. If that trend continues, American apparel manufacturing will only see its marketability improve because of the quality of the products produced.
When discussing apparel factories, made in New York might seem to be a pipe dream. While apparel manufactures in New York might not be a huge industry, the prospects, thanks to these trends, are looking up.