Source: New Cloth Market

Guangdong province alone produces roughly half of the world's production of denim. Most produced here is used to make jeans, originally, a quintessential American product that has become China's most popular article of clothing. To meet demand for denim, it has to supplement domestic supplies with imported cotton. The US is its biggest supplier with sales at US$1. 7 billion in 2008. Read about the Chinese industry's many challenges and how it has fared under the global economic slowdown.

Denim, a quintessential American fabric

A writer for American Fabrics magazine once declared in the late 1960's that: "Denim is one of the world's oldest fabrics, yet it remains eternally young." That still applies. Considered as the quintessential American fabric, 78 percent of U.S. consumers said they love or enjoy wearing denim, while 39 percent of Chinese consumers echoed these same sentiments in a recent survey. Some surveys even indicate jeans ownership at 74 percent.

Most denim is made into jeans, the most popular article of clothing in China. As the world's largest denim. manufacturer, China produced 2.8 billion meters (1.74 million miles) of denim fabric in 2007. While the official number for 2008 is still not available, the industry believes production dropped by 20 percent.


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Originally published in New Cloth Market: February 2010