Clothing is not a luxury. It is one of the basic necessities of life. Global textile industry will never see the verge of extinction. Of course, the current scenario can change in future. Reigning textile giants may lose their market position. Emerging economies like India and China, which have a well established textile industry, may rule the world textile industry after a short span of time. Or this may prove merely to be an exaggeration and not actually happen! As for now, advanced economies of the world like USA and Europe undoubtedly dominate this industry.

India and China have a booming textile industry. They are the world leaders in terms of cotton, silk, and jute production. Textile and apparel exports in India increased by 20.05 percent in the year 2011-2012 as compared to the previous financial year and reached an amount of $33.31 billion. Chinese textile exports grew by 1.04 percent in the first nine months of 2012 to reach $192.69 billion. Other than these countries, American and European textile industries also face tough competition from ASEAN region.


However, regardless of which countries manufacture textiles the most, the current rulers of the global textile market are undoubtedly the American and European countries. They hold the power to manipulate the market on their terms, because they are the biggest importers of textiles. They hold the "money power"! The exporters of textiles are mostly developing economies who earn a large chunk of their overall revenue by producing and selling inexpensive clothing, fabrics, or yarn. Many economists believe that buying decisions taken by them can affect the overall export revenue of developing economies to a considerable extent.


The recession of 2008/09 greatly reduced the spending powers of USA and Europe and it reduced their apparel imports. Owing to the great recession, 2008-09 in these two advanced economies, the textile exports of many emerging economies suffered. Almost 60 percent of the total cotton exports in India were targeted towards USA and Europe till 2008-09. But in the next two years, India exported less than 45 percent of the total cotton production to these countries. This proves the fact that any occurrences in these countries can practically affect the whole world.


USA, Australia, New Zealand, and many other developed economies are shifting their focus towards the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) region in terms of textile import. This has also made other countries of the world eye on ASEAN regions for textile imports. Vietnamese textile exports to USA grew by 15 percent in the first six months of 2012 and to the European Union by 3 percent in the same period. ASEAN countries are fast becoming the textile hubs of the world.


Almost all the major apparel and clothing brands come from USA and Europe. Popular manufacturers like Nike, Adidas, Pepe Jeans, Lee, Levis, and others come from these advanced economies. Major retailing brands like Marks and Spencer, American Apparel, Macy's, Calvin Klein, Next, etc. also root from these countries. On the other hand, there are hardly any brands from the emerging fashion economies which are considered as competent as these brands on an international level.

 

useu1.jpgThe case is the same with majority of the world's luxury brands. Despite all the hype about emerging fashion economies ruling the world fashion and textile market, there is hardly any luxury brand that has made it big in the international arena from these countries. Gucci, Prada, Versace, Armani, Chanel, Christian Dior, and other luxury brands which have their origin in Italy, France, and other countries of Europe, especially, rule the luxury market. In fact, in some of the developing fashion economies, the concept of luxury brands is only at the budding stage.


Similarly, Europe and USA host some of the most reputed fashion shows of the world. Fashion weeks like Paris fashion week, Milan fashion week, New York fashion week, London fashion week, and others are attended by some of the most renowned fashion designers of the world. Emerging economies also indulge in hosting fashion shows. Some of them are popular and visited by many designers of international repute. But these fashion shows are not as popular with the designers as the fashion shows hosted by Paris, Milan, and others.


Some of the most renowned fashion designers, who have made it big in the international arena, also come from the developed economies of USA and Europe. Most of the famous designers have made their designer wears brand names around the world. Roberto Cavalli, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Valentino Garavani, etc. are some of the fashion designers who are internationally renowned. They hail from these traditionally advanced economies of the world. Very few designers from the emerging fashion economies of India, Brazil, South Africa, etc. are as reputed as these designers.


The biggest strength that USA and Europe possess is a technically advanced textile industry. The fast progressing emerging fashion economies still have a long way to go in terms of machinery and software! Manufacturing and retailing processes in USA and Europe are far more automated as compared to the developing economies. The earliest inventions in textile technology like sewing machines, knitting machines, and even the earliest software were first made in these countries.


The current scenario forecasts emerging economies like India, China, Brazil, South Africa, and others to rule the market in future. But there may be a long road ahead for this. These economies are growing quickly; theres no doubt about the same. But it might take a long time for them to level their fields with the traditional economies. This is because USA and EU are deeply rooted in the world textile market. To compete with them is extremely difficult! It might take the emerging economies a long time to shake their position. This is not impossible, because the emerging economies are growing at a fast rate. But it will take a lot of perseverance and planning from their end.


As far as the current scenario is concerned, USA and Europe rule the world textile market. Even if they do not produce textiles immensely, they certainly have an influence on the world market. Textile exporters strive to have their buyers in USA and Europe. They aim to establish long term trade relations with these countries. They also indulge

in free trade agreements that will benefit both the trading partners. Their political influences also help them to a lot of extent. It can be said that they determine the movements of the textile market to a considerable extent. Despite all the talk about emerging economies doing well in the global textile industry, US and EU still dominate the world textile industry!


References:


1.      Cci.in

2.      Chinadaily.com

3.      Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com

4.      Tradeandpolitics.strtrade.com

5.      Sourceasean.com

6.      Wikipedia.org

 

Image Courtesy:


1.      Iiea.com

2.      Internationalbusinesslawadvisor.com