Jun 1, 2007

What if there really is a US apparel and textile industry?

I don't visit Kathleen Fasanella's "Fashion Incubator" blog as much as I should, and I missed an April post, "Emerging Textiles" about the international textile and apparel industries. Kathleen reports on a report that says the Mexico is rapidly losing apparel industry jobs to other countries, while China and India are preparing to duke it out. This post is doubly worth reading because of the intelligent comments of her blog readers.

One prediction is that rising prices could make apparel manufacturing in the US more attractive for buyers, but that unwise plant closures could make that impossible. Plants in deteriorating condition, machinery sold off, employees moving on, all take away capability in an industry that once played a huge role in the economy.

Another reason to visit Kathleen's blog regularly is the insight she brings to an industry that remains under the radar. That is the world of the designer-entrepreneur (DE) and a constellation of related services that actually represent an apparel industry within the borders of the US right now. One of their problems really represents an opportunity for somebody. Designers offering small boutique collections don't use hundreds of yards of fabric.

Fabrics have to be different from other designers' and they have to fit the vision of the designer. Fabric merchants won't deal in what to them are small lots. So c'mon you lean guys - take a look at an industry you never thought about and see what you could do better than the old-style managers who lost the businesses. Small lots, delivered just-in-time, flexibility, and value-stream partnerships could build on what's already going on in Kathleen's world.

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