From small startups like Massachusetts-based Yogasmoga, known for their high-tech fabrics, to widely recognized brands like No nonsense, Made-in-USA apparel and textile manufacturing is in vogue. But that wasn’t always the case.
Apparel was among the first industries to be lost to offshore manufacturing. The trend for the labor-intensive apparel industry began as companies chased cheap labor to low-wage countries forty or more years ago. Today, about 3 percent of our consumption is domestically sourced but the domestic industry is starting to recover. This is good news because eliminating just our apparel trade deficit would reduce the overall trade deficit by $120bn per year or about 25 percent of the total. It would add about 1 million U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Today, U.S. apparel manufacturing is doing better than expected. Reshoring Initiative data shows that it ranks number six in industries that have reshored with 17,166 jobs by 287 companies since 2010. So what’s changed?
A host of factors are turning heads, like the need for speed, increased flexibility, smaller batches, and smaller inventories. Local sourcing is meeting the needs of today’s “on-demand” apparel consumers. Here are some of the latest reasons that companies are finding a competitive edge in the “local for local”style of manufacturing and sourcing.
Startups: Domestic manufacturing is a strategic approach to guard against counterfeits, quality issues and intellectual property risks. For clothing startups, local for local i.e. reshoring increases efficiencies with smaller batches, offers greater flexibility for customization and style changes and speeds delivery to customers.
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