Apparel Blog 1: Reshoring and the Apparel Industry

For decades we have been shedding apparel-manufacturing jobs in addition to the entire ecosystem that goes along with them. However, the offshore wages that were once a fraction of U.S. labor costs are escalating. Shipping costs, coupled with long lead times, quality problems, and the intangible costs and risks of being far from customers are making offshore manufacturing and sourcing less attractive for apparel companies.

Reducing costs and risks is only part of the equation. The benefit of localization or producing near consumers is an equally important piece of the puzzle. The supply chain optimization demanded by fast-fashion and flexibility for customization are far more easily facilitated through reshoring and domestic sourcing.

Many global brands are either reshoring or considering reshoring. There is a growing realization that reshoring apparel manufacturing often makes good economic sense, is a smart branding strategy and leads to increased flexibility and better time to market.

Big brand strategies like Under Armour’s “local for local” business model based on close proximity to customers, boasts better timing, total costs and quality. The North Face recently launched the second phase of its locally produced “Backyard Project” with a continued focus on branding. Their success has been achieved through creating an emotional connection with consumers by connecting them with the local artisans that produce their products.

In support of the growing push for U.S. reshoring in the apparel industry, the nonprofit Reshoring Initiative is introducing an Apparel blog series to help manufacturers and retailers rethink the manufacturing equation and see if reshoring makes good economic sense for them, too.

We will explore:

  • Apparel companies that have reshored
  • Trends in the apparel industry from our 2nd quarter 2016 data, coming early July
  • Reasons apparel companies are reshoring and sourcing locally
  • Facilitating flexibility and the fast fashion model
  • Made in America branding
  • Automation and apparel reshoring
  • Skilled workforce recruitment and training
  • Using Total Cost of Ownership to make the decision
  • If your company has a story to share, let us know here.

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