Re-shoring US apparel making tough but not impossible

This recent comment from Just-style argues that re-shoring U.S. apparel manufacturing may become likely given China’s quickly rising labor cost. However, another two points mentioned by the article deserve more attention: one is that in order to make “made-in-USA” apparel competitive, industry leaders believe that tariffs and trade barriers on imported yarns and fabrics need to be much lowered. The question is, how realistic this “goodwill” can become true, considering the attitude of the US textile sector on the matter and their political influences. Second, although there might be some demands for sewing jobs in the U.S., these occupations are very low paid. The article admits that except immigrant, propably few Americans today (even those unemployeed) would like to take them (and have the qualified skills).  Then, does re-shoring really matter for college graduates in the fashion apparel program?  

To read the full article, click here

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

2 thoughts on “Re-shoring US apparel making tough but not impossible”

  1. One of the points in this article that is important to state is the fact that in order to make make in the usa apparel competitive, tariffis and trade barriers on important fabrics and yarns need to be lowered. If they are not lowered, they do not stand a chance in todays industry environment. What is the incentive if those costs stay the same? Also, I don’t find that there is much demand for sewing job in the united states. If you ask all the students in the class, the majority if not all will not want to work in a factory after they graduate. Most students are looking for the glamourous jobs in fashion and working in a factory sewing fabrics is not going to be one of them.

  2. It is hopeful to see that people still think that we can re-shore the US garment manufacturing sector because a lot of people seem to think it is truly gone forever. This is a difficult situation because as the article says, cheap fashion is fast fashion and not a lot of consumers are willing to pay a lot of money for their clothes, especially during a recession. But, I also do believe that a lot of middle class Americans would support the “Make it in America Initiative” launched by the House of Representative Democrats. I also think that it is true that if the momentum for this remains constant for a couple of years, large companies will want to produce domestically to appeal to the market and what American consumers want. I doubt that any college graduate would ever want to become a sewer or even work in a factory to begin with. But, I still think that re-shoring really can matter for college graduate in the fashion apparel program. I think it is important because we should be aware of what is going on in the US apparel-manufacturing sector and to be aware of our own decisions that affect it.

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