Lately, there has been an increased effort to purchase clothing items that were fabricated domestically. For this reason, many major clothing brands are having to make changes in their supply chain to create domestically made pieces at an affordable cost. In many ways, the value chain is different for products that are made in America. In general, the value chain for the apparel industry is composed of retailers, manufacturers, and marketers. These market leaders determine what is in demand and then they fulfil the supply of products to the customer base. In this article, we will share the difference between the value chain of products made domestically versus internationally.
Recent Manufacturing Shifts
Two decades ago, majority of manufacturers outsourced production to factory workers in countries around the world. These workers were often overworked and underpaid. In recent years, consumers have exposed this injustice and have held many brands to a higher standard of quality and equality. With this exposure, many brands enacted sustainable ways to develop jobs for foreign workers that ensured fair pay to all employees. Brands such as Dainty Jewells are continuing to develop products internationally while verifying fair conditions for all employees. During this shift, other brands opted to shift their production into the United States. Many people want reputable brands to bring more jobs into the country. This has led to the production of more US based apparel jobs. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many brands are seeking for production techniques that help lower unemployment rates and are sustainable without the need for international trade and travel.
Advantages to US Based Production
There are many benefits to apparel production that is completed domestically. First, this industry can employ thousands of people across the country. Chinese factories alone bring in more than $380 billion of revenue. Although not all of that is for companies in the United States, a sizable portion of that revenue could greatly benefit our economy. Not only are employment opportunities beneficial, but brands that work domestically have fewer limitations. When trading with international components, there are many factors such as currency and shipping capacities that can hinder the overall process. With domestic products, you do not have to worry about unreasonable currency exchanges and delayed shipping abilities.
Disadvantages to US Based Production
There are many foreign factories that have fair conditions, acceptable pay, and reliable practices. These countries have proper infrastructure to support this type of development. Moving the entire supply chain for the apparel industry into US would be a massively expensive endeavour. Although the revenue would increase over time to cover the initial cost, it is a massive expenditure. In addition, minimum wage requirements in the US make it difficult for smaller companies to employ staff members.
Brands like New Balance and Reformation are committed to making their products in the US. Other brands such as Madewell, Dainty Jewells, and Patagonia are committed to fair trade with their international manufacturers. The lack of US based apparel brands is not just about affordable labour, it is about access to quality products and trustworthy workers. Over time, more supply chains will practice fair trade or move their production to the US.