Sourcing Strategy Comparison: EU VS. US Fashion Companies—Comments from Students in FASH455

“Hugo Boss’s sourcing strategies are relatively different from fashion brands and retailers in the US. Hugo Boss’s self-owned production facilities are all located in Europe, and they follow the general trend of Eastern Europe being responsible for mass production items and Western Europe being responsible for more of the fine craftsmanship/made-to-measure items. Hugo Boss’s production distribution, which is 53% in Europe, 40% occurs in Asia, 6% in Africa, and 1% in the Americas, is much more diverse than the production distribution of the United States’ T&A industry, which heavily relies on Asian suppliers. It is indicative of a strong regional supply chain in Europe, and because the regional supply chain in the Americas is not as strong due to complicated trade agreements and lack of production capacity, many fashion brands and retailers heavily depend on overseas production from Asian countries. “

“I think that EU’s sourcing strategies are different from the U.S.’s sourcing strategy in the sense that it is kept within Europe. In the U.S., they are currently trying to bring the sourcing supply chain back to the Western Hemisphere, but it is very difficult for fashion brands to concede when sourcing is cheaper in Asia, and there is not enough labor who are trained for the work that they need. Over at the EU, with everything kept within the organization, it is a lot easier to find factories within different countries without reducing GDP since it is kept within the organization.”

“I think that one of the biggest differences between EU and US fashion brand’s sourcing strategies is the fact that there is a much higher luxury or high-end apparel market in the EU. Since they produce mostly luxury apparel products, they naturally place a lot more emphasis on the quality of their products being made rather than the quantity and speed of production. Since the US is more fast-fashion heavy, we do a lot more outsourcing of production so retailer’s are able to produce as many clothes as possible within a short period of time at a very low cost which is simply not achievable in many US clothing factories.”

“Hugo Boss pays close attention to where they are sourcing from and where each of their products should be made within their 4 production facilities. This stuck out to me because I don’t know how many US fashion brands have their own production facilities. I know a lot of brands outsource to countries like China and Bangladesh to factories who are also making clothing for many different brands.”

EU has developed countries as well as developing countries, unlike the US. Western EU countries like Italy, France, UK and Germany are developed and focus more so on textile production. Whereas developing countries in the EU like Poland and Hungary focus more heavily on apparel manufacturing. In addition, unlike the US, the developed countries in EU also produce apparel exports, of high level, luxury goods.”

“It seems that in the EU the main focus is quality and social standards for these fashion brands and production. In the US, promoting local economic growth seems to be more of the focus of the free trade agreements. Sourcing for HUGO BOSS at least has strategically chosen factories where they can ensure quality checks and know how to conditions are. In the US, outside of the region, it seems that there are a lot of brands who do not know their secondary producers…”

“As the EU is more focused on production in high end markets than is the US, they (EU fashion companies) source more high-end quality fabrics. Progress has been made through technological advances, as the HUGO BOSS group developed the “smart factory” to further improve the quality of their fabrics and recognize any potential flaws before production. This stood out to me as a major difference, considering the US focuses on producing more fast-fashion goods and prioritizes high productivity overall quality garments. Also, they are more careful in their selection of suppliers and strive to build more long-term relationships with their suppliers. In comparision, most US fashion companies just try to produce as cheap and fast as possible through a short-term transctional-based importer-vendor relationship.”

“I think the sourcing strategies are similar to the U.S. in the fact that they source from various countries, creating this sense of “Made in the World.” However, there are differences as well. HUGO BOSS uses their own production facilities in addition to sourcing from other countries which is something we do not see often in the US. In fact, most brands and retailers in the US do not have their own production facilities or vertical supply chain, but instead source from overseas. Additionally, HUGO BOSS carefully selects their suppliers and immediately focus on social responsibility. US sourcing strategies seem to emphsis more on finding a factory with the lowest labor costs. EU brands and retailers, on the other hand, test their suppliers with test orders before selecting them as a supplier for the brand, and immediately develop social responsibility practices, such as trainings and building relationships. In the US, brands and retailers tend to focus on social responsibility in response to bad press and typically do so by a top-down approach.”

“The sourcing strategy in the Europe cares more about social impact. Retailers and brands there promote and educate their suppliers to be sustainable and take over their social responsibility. Another one is the European fashion retailers and brands are more likely to locate their product facilities within the Europe. Since the Europe does have a relatively stable and complete supply chain, the retailers and brands are able to saving transportation cost and expand the lead time. Third, the technology becomes an important factors for retailers and brands to consider. They are attempting to utilize technology to enhance the performance and their production process. “

“Hugo Boss strives to be the most desirable fashion and lifestyle brand in the premium sector. This shows in their emphasis on design, comfort, fit, and durability, as well as being mindful of their social and environmental impacts. They maintain long term relationships with a careful selection of suppliers, demand social compliance, and stay up to date with their “smart factory” aka AIs to speed up production and quality. They also source heavily from Asia, but also developed countries such as Italy and Germany. These values and practices are manifested in American brands, however, I believe we aren’t as extensive with sourcing from developed countries (such as Italy). From what I have learned thus far, it seems we source from countries close by and/or developing, but not so much mingling with luxury known countries, such as France or Italy (and if we do, the prices are expensive, and American customers don’t want to pay higher prices). We (US), too, source heavily from Asia, because it is cheap, and still focus internally on our own country when it comes to being more competitive in technological advancements. American and EU consumers alike value transparency in the clothing brands they buy from, and American brands are mindful of this, too. I would say we are more alike than different.”

[Please feel free to critique the comments above and join our online discussion]

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Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

42 thoughts on “Sourcing Strategy Comparison: EU VS. US Fashion Companies—Comments from Students in FASH455”

  1. There are a few reasons why the sourcing strategy of HUGO BOSS (and other European brands in the premium sector) is different from US brands:
    1. Europe has a strong textile and fashion heritage. The best fabrics were and are woven in Italy. European brands have and are using subcontracting. That means they purchase fabrics and trimmings (in order to guarantee quality) and sent them to independent subcontractors for CMT. In the beginning this was in Italy, Germany but in the 90s Eastern Europe was used intensively. Apparel industry was the first industry which has outsourced production.
    2. Many brands have completely closed their own production – and have lost the knowledge how to produce clothing in an industrial way. They now have to ask a Bulgarian, Rumanian or Turk how to make a suit.
    3. HUGO BOSS has always run and is still running a factory in Germany with 300 people in order not to lose know-how, to test innovations and to educate others. The opening of the factory in Izmir about 20 years ago had various reasons: maintain and extend know-how with enough skilled people there; remain independent; keep the money within the company.
    4. I believe situation in US is different. There is a different approach towards quality from brand and consumer side. The textile heritage is missing, so that subcontracting never was a real option.US brands prefer to buy merchandise in Asia.

    1. One additional remark: subcontracting is used for clothing products like suits and done „nearby“. It makes no sense to send fabrics to Asia for CMT.
      Leisure products are mainly produced as merchandise in Asia (not because its cheap but they are good).

    2. Thank you so much for the great insights, Bernd! Agree with your point #3 completely—While there remain about 50-60 fashion apparel programs in the States, nearly all of them tend to prepare the workforce for fashion brands and retailers, NOT factories. The lack of talents will be a big challenge facing the rejuvenation of textile and apparel “Made in the USA.”

      It is also interesting to see EU trade policy is more generous towards apparel imports—your GSP programs, including the duty-free and quota-free EBA program, cover apparel items. In comparison, apparel items are excluded from the US GSP and it remains politically impossible to consider regional/bilateral FTAs with developing apparel exporting countries in Asia.

      1. US Trade policy in textiles and clothing is extremely restrictive. It starts with the tariff structure – the most diversified in the world and with duty rates for apparel determined by the fabric from Betty low in silk and linen to high for cotton and wool clothing and extremely high for man-Made clothing. That unique in the world. All other countries I know (about 125) have one rate for a Jacket independent from the fabric. Next are the rules of origin. They are also the most restrictive globally (triple transformation) and their administration is very difficult, eg with TPLs. Honestly I am wondering how companies are able to manage them. Next thing is exclusion of TC from GSP. TC is always the first industry in these countries. If you want to support their development and growth you have to include TC. If you are doing it it’s simply protectionism caused by the powerful US associations.

    3. Thank you Bernd for your insights! I found your comment interesting and enlightening when you said many brands have lost the knowledge how to produce clothing in an industrial way. Since outsourcing has become a norm, especially for the US industry, we are seeing less and less culture and craftsmanship regarding making clothes. We look to others to do quick, cheap, work instead of building that culture again (as it is greatly appreciated in Italy and Germany still). As you mentioned in your second comment, subcontracting should be used for products nearby, and the US fashion industry’s outsourcing tends to be on the other side of the world. Seeing that we have NAFTA and CAFTA-DR trade negotiations, you would think US brands and retailers would keep sourcing nearby. However, due to the yarn-forward rule and expensive US textiles, these same brands and retailers would rather pay someone overseas and not “nearby”. It’s unfortunately a pricing and timing issue for these companies and not about appreciation of craftsmanship, which I find disappointing. Not only that, but outsourcing the way the US has, has costed many people their jobs and under appreciates their craftsmanship skills.

      1. The restrictive RoO of the US agreements were made in order to motivate (or better force) the Brands to use US material for subcontracting. In reality they were/are motivated to buy merchandise goods in Asia.

  2. EU fashion brands and retailers’ sourcing strategies are slightly different from the US. While I do believe there are many similarities between the two, I found more distinct differences between their sourcing strategies when reading this article. For example, as the EU is more focused on production in high-end markets than in the US, they source more high-end quality fabrics. Progress has been made through technological advances, as the HUGO BOSS group developed the “smart factory” to further improve the quality of their fabrics and recognize any potential flaws before production. This stood out to me as a major difference, considering the US focuses on producing more fast-fashion goods and prioritizes high productivity overall quality garments. Also, they are more careful in their selection of suppliers and strive to build more long-term relationships with their sourcing companies, where the US has more trade restrictions and implements a faster, less important way of sourcing and requires lower standards than most fashion brands and retailers in the EU. These are the most notable differences that I have found between the sourcing strategies of the US and EU.

  3. I believe the US and EU fashion brands go about sourcing very differently. The US is money hungry and looking to get their cheap fast fashion products out to consumers as fast as possible, aka the reason why Asian countries is their go-to for sourcing and production. These US fashion corporation know the are able to pay these factories workers extremely low wages while still receiving garments made by them in record time. On the other hand, the EU fashion brands care about the quality and care that goes into their garments. When most people think of European fashion brands we tend to go right to the high end luxury retailers. That is why EU fashion brands are doing everything right. They are sourcing from within their country while maintaining social and environmental standards. The US is on its way, but the EU is trailing forward.

    1. The US and EU are very similar in that they are both equally as important textile and apparel trading partners because the US is the EU’s largest extra region export for textiles, meanwhile the EU is the fifth largest extra region supplier of textiles a few years ago. The EU is a very important source of high end apparel products for US consumers which are highly sought after in America. I would say this is the main sourcing difference among the US and EU. Both countries also have a free trade agreement called the Trans- Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which aims to achieve fairer and more balanced trade. Both countries seem to have very mutual ties and benefit from each other well. They both also have procedures in place that certify and verify the rules of origin in respect of textiles. The US and EU both want to eliminate import duties, promote harmonization between each other, and adopt modern rules of origin. One difference I found is that manufacturing seems to fall into two main categories in EU- one for medium priced products developed in Eastern and Souther Europe and the other being high- end luxury apparel produced in Western Europe. I would say that although the US has a booming industry for cars, aerospace, chemicals and electronics, the Europeans pride themselves much more on their luxury apparel segment. This is what really sets them apart from everyone else and makes them a luxury powerhouse. Europe is home to highly sought after luxury brands such as Christian Dior, Chanel, YSL and many more. This is a huge characteristic for the textiles and apparel industry in Europe and is a large producer of their income.

  4. From reading through the student comments and Berndt Stadtler’s comment above, one thing that sticks out to me is how some of the differences between the EU and US fashion industry can be traced back to national heritage. For example, several EU countries have histories of excellence and quality when it comes to apparel and textiles, and this heritage is preserved through modern-day luxury markets. Also, complicated geopolitical & historical factors led to some EU countries developing more rapidly than others, which means that there are both developed and developing countries in the EU – something that is necessary for a complete T&A supply chain. The US, on the other hand, does not have a T&A heritage as a strength of theirs, and they also lack the developmental diversity necessary for a completely domestic T&A supply chain, therefore influencing them to focus on outsourcing as their primary sourcing strategy. One consideration/thought exercise this raises for me is to think about the extent to which the evolution of an industry is tied to the history of its geographic region. The EU seems to have a much more balanced and regional sourcing strategy, influenced by many centuries of T&A culture, whereas the US has been around for a much shorter period of time, and their sourcing strategies can similarly be interpreted as influenced by a short-term mindset where corporate self-interest is maximized. When thinking about sustainability and the long-term success of an industry, it seems obvious to me that the more diversified and regionally connected EU T&A sourcing strategies are the better option (although I also recognize that the EU has similar problems as the US, just not on the same scale). Since the US does not have the EU’s T&A heritage, which informs many of the EU’s T&A sourcing strategies, what does a sustainable T&A look like for the US, and how would a transition to this supply chain work?

    1. Very good analysis. One of the biggest advantage in Europe was/is the difference in labor costs. There are countries nearby with relatively low labour costs. But this is changing, labour costs in Eastern Europe are also rising and people from these countries prefer to work in other EU countries with higher salaries. So it becomes more and more difficult to find factories and people. Moreover there is a trend towards more casual fashion with Asian production.

      1. Thank you for your comment, Bernd! It is interesting to learn about how dynamic the fashion industry is, and the limitations of labor intensive apparel manufacturing from a sourcing point of view. This also makes me wonder what will happen when there is no more low-cost labor left in the world? Perhaps technological innovations will have mechanized apparel manufacturing before then, or there will be some radical change in how clothing is produced and consumed (such as with growing international maker movements). I guess the much broader consideration here, which is becoming more apparent during the pandemic, is how T&A supply chains will evolve when neoliberalism is replaced by a more sustainable socio-political and economic model. The impacts of this shift will likely affect mass production the hardest, but due to the globalized nature of the entire T&A industry, I expect that restructuring will occur at all levels. For luxury fashion houses like Hugo Boss, what would it look like if low-cost sourcing – such as from Asia, which accounts for about 40% of sourcing volume – is no longer an option? Do you think the premium sector will fare better than other sectors in this scenario because many premium products require highly skilled and well-compensated labor?

      2. From a short term perspective the clothing production caravan will move to some other countries in Asia. Some companies are trying Africa, e.g. Ethiopia- but this is very difficult due to political, cultural and economic reasons.
        More automization is also very difficult, especially in the higher quality levels. Maybe the consequences will be higher production costs and the end of low-prize fashion?

      3. This is an interesting perspective, thank you. In a scenario where low-cost sourcing no longer exists, I agree that it is hard to imagine the continued survival of commodified fashion. I am interested in learning more about how EU fashion companies will fare when it comes to remaining competitive in Asian markets in the next decade compared with the US, and how successful any sourcing shifts towards Africa will be. Once again, I appreciate your input.

  5. I agree with everyone’s aforementioned thoughts. Another difference between EU textile and apparel production from the U.S. is their dedication to supply chain transparency, which is a facet of environmental sustainability. Due to their complete regional supply chain, the European Union outsources far less of their work than the United States. Thus, a lot of the environmental and social detriments of inexpensive outsourced labor are not associated with EU textile and apparel production. Another simple fact (but an important one) is that their regional supply chain makes sourcing their products easier and more organized. The fact that European retailers and brands are promoting and educating their suppliers on sustainability is a dream to me, and I so hope that our country follows suit. Although sustainability is allegedly a value that U.S. consumers are beginning to prioritize when making shopping decisions, I cannot help but think a lot of those intentions from consumers are performative activism.

  6. I believe the US and EU fashion brands source very differently. A major difference that stood out in the reading is, the US tends to source from countries that are labor intensive and therefore are the cheapest options. Unfortunately the US will always choose the cheapest sourcing options over anything else. The EU focuses their sourcing on the quality and social responsibility of the production. EU is known to produce more luxury apparel products and tries to incorporate good ethical practices in their production whereas the US only focuses on these issues if they get bad press for it. Another difference that stood out to me was US fashion companies try to produce through a short-term transctional based importer-vendor relationship. Whereas EU companies strive to build a more long-term relationships with their suppliers.

  7. One of the articles we had to read stated “HUGO BOSS attached great importance to the careful selection of suppliers and strives to build long-term strategic partnerships”, and I do not believe some of the luxury U.S. brands can all say the same – many are solely worried about making the largest profit with the smallest amount of expenses and not caring so much about their sources. The U.S. is certainly selfish when paired against other countries when looking at their sourcing processes. Bottom line, EU fashion brands focus on quality, sustainability, and the care that goes into the production of their garments, along with maintaining strong relationships, while the U.S. wants to make the largest and quickest profit by sourcing cheaply.

  8. Sourcing and production play an essential role in comparing strategies used within the global T&A industry. EU and US strategies differ in terms of volume. In 2019, Eastern and Western Europe’s sourcing and production volume was at 53% whereas the US was at a mere 1%. With this being said, HUGO Boss only selects suppliers that meet economic standards as well as social standards. With this being stated, the EU and US are obviously meeting this framework of efficiency and quality. Which could mean that though the volume is different, the underlying strategies remain similar.

  9. It is a very interesting point that the EU and U.S. have very different sourcing strategies. Because the U.S. is only surrounded by Canada and Mexico, there is a very limited range of sourcing that can occur between the three countries. The North American sourcing group is very limited. By contrast, the EU has a wide range of countries that can participate in their sourcing strategies. Different countries can be allocated specific responsibilities within the supply chain which gives the EU a variety of options. I agree with the point made that it may be a lot easier to find factories within different countries without reducing GDP as the EU is a collective unit.

    It is also very intriguing that the markets within in the U.S. are very different from the markets in the EU. The U.S. customer is far more focused on speed of production and price of goods, while the EU customer would prefer luxury goods and pay a higher price. Because of this, retailers in Europe are able to produce domestically, with less pressure and lower demand, but the United States is almost forced to outsource, with little capacity to produce at the rate and price that the consumers demand. From this article overall, it seems clear that most people are shocked by the idea that U.S. retailers could even attempt to do their own production domestically, but this is not a foreign concept to the EU retailers.

    1. Hi Laurette,
      I loved reading your comments. I agree that the US could definitely learn from the EU in terms of production. The only reason that so many people are shocked by the idea that we could produce domestically is because when they think of production, they think of it in an unethical way because this is the standard in the US. We need to focus more on the quality, durability, ethics, and sustainability of our clothing much more.

  10. EU fashion brands have many factors that differentiate them from US brands and retailers. First, both regions have very different sourcing strategies. The EU partakes in the involvement of high-quality fabrics to be sourced rather than the US who does not do as much as the EU. The EU also has “smart factories” enabling them to catch any flaws in fabrics. I believe that unless the US changes its fast-fashion ways they will never be as ahead as the EU is. Because the market in the US is densely populated with fast fashion consumers are not used to paying for high-quality products, so anytime they see a high-priced item they immediately turn to lower quality and lower costing good. Along with sourcing the EU also approaches labor costs differently than the US. Hugo Boss uses their own production facility which is not usually seen in the US. This helps eliminate any unseen unethical behavior and the brand can respond directly to any issues.

    1. Agree! It seems EU apparel companies do not intend to fully give up apparel manufacturing, whereas most US fashion companies choose to become “Marketers”(i.e., design + marketing, and fully outsource production). I do have one puzzle, however: Both EU and US fashion companies sell globally rather than to their local consumers only (for example, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren). This means the factor of consumers’ preferences alone cannot fully explain why EU and US fashion companies adopt different business strategies. More can be explored further.

  11. EU fashion brands tend to focus on good quality, value and are usually more high-end. This contrast with the US fashion brands in which they usually have the end-goal of sourcing the cheapest. This results in a lot of fast fashion of lower quality and cheaper pricing points. EU also trades within (intra-region), while the US tends to source differently.

  12. I agree that a big difference between EU and U.S. sourcing strategies is that the EU works with a lot more countries to produce than the U.S. The U.S. seems to focus mainly on China. I also agree that the U.S. focuses more on fast fashion and cheaper production versus better quality products. Hugo Boss is an example of a European company that sources based on quality and ethics not just cheaper costs. Hugo Boss takes social responsibility very seriously which seems to be more of a trend in the EU but not as much in the U.S.

    1. As I commented earlier, both EU and US fashion companies sell globally rather than to their local consumers only (for example, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren). Somehow, it seems the factor of “consumers’ preferences” alone cannot fully explain why EU and US fashion companies adopt different business strategies. more can be explored further.

      1. Social responsibility is not just a trend, it has become an obligation because consumers, NGOs, investors and governments demand it. Maybe the EU is a little but in front of the US.

  13. I really enjoyed how this blog post highlighted the key differences between the US and EU while focusing on Hugo Boss. I definitely agree that the US can learn from the EU’s practices of high-quality textile sourcing, sustainability practices, and just what it means to have a product produced in the EU. I think we can all agree that when a brand states their products are “made in France” or “made in Italy”, it adds value to the product. The US has been focused on making the most product for the cheapest price for so long that they seem to have forgotten the value of slower and more durable fashion. One thing that really stood out to me was that Hugo Boss strives for greatness in design, comfort, fit, and durability, and mindful of their social and environmental. I think this is a wonderful strategy.

  14. After reading this article and furthering my knowledge of US and EU sourcing strategies, it is very clear that there is a large difference in how these countries choose to source and what their main goals that relate to their sourcing strategies. Many US brands or companies place a huge emphasis on getting the cheapest production and labor costs whereas EU companies seem to focus on quality and a strong regional supply chain. I think many US companies want to churn out as much clothing/products as possible but as a consumer with the rise of sustainability and brand transparency in mind I think this is a terrible way to think about business. When I want to buy something nice or possibly designer, I NEVER think of purchasing from a U.S. brand. As a consumer, I know the quality is not up to a high standard because so many of these products are sourced from Asia and made very quickly with cheap materials. I do not believe that brands that focus on fast fashion will survive as sustainability and brand transparency become more popularized. I do believe many U.S. companies are making efforts to convert to a sourcing strategy more like EU companies, but they are not there quite yet. EU companies, in my opinion, take social responsibility and environmental standards much more seriously and that is why many of these brands have a great reputation and are still extremely profitable.

    1. Kayla-I completely agree with your comment! While I think both US and EU companies emphasize importance of technological progress and sustainable corporate social management, I think US fashion brands and retailers focus more on which supplier will cost the least, whereas EU brands and retailers carefully select their suppliers, fostering long-term, meaningful partnerships. While I think US companies say they prioritize quality and the consumer, they fall short with action, and this is where EU companies make up. When I studied abroad in Paris in January, I could just feel the heightened standard of quality in the fashion and shopping-and made me reflect on how cheap and fast American fashion has become.

  15. I believe that EU fashion brands and retailers place a greater emphasis on the importance of their sourcing strategies than the US. For example, Hugo Boss places and immense emphasis on product quality when selecting countries to source fabric from. One major difference is that Huge Boss as well as many other EU fashion brands, mainly sources its products from other countries within the EU. However, in the US, US fashion brands and retailer’s greater emphasis is on cost. Many of their products are sourced from countries in Asia, such as China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh or countries within Latin America. However, while the areas in which the EU and the US select their products from differs, I believe that both the US and EU fashion brands place a great emphasis on selecting suppliers. Ultimately, the goal is to build long-standing partnerships to ensure that products are made smoothly and efficiently and at a high-end quality to ensure consumer satisfaction.

  16. It seems that in the EU the main focus is quality and social standards for these brands and production. In the US, promoting local economic growth seems to be more of the focus of the free trade agreements. Sourcing for HUGO BOSS at least has strategically chosen factories where they can ensure quality checks and know how to conditions are. In the US, outside of the region, it seems that there are a lot of brands who do not know their secondary producers and are unaware of working condition. While it has gotten better and the US seems to care more about sourcing practices, from the article the conclusion is that it seems more at the forefront of decision making for the EU brands. In addition, it seems more important to the EU brands to source things within the region, while in the US, as seen in the lectures, less than 3% of apparel in the US is domestically produced.

  17. I believe the US and the UK share different values when it comes to sourcing their textiles and apparel. Although both countries source globally, their focus is different. I believe that many U.S. companies look for fast and cheap production, sourcing mainly from China and other Asian countries. But, I do think many companies are starting to shift their focus towards sustainability and looking elsewhere for their sourcing, which is a good improvement for the industry. On the other hand, the UK really values quality, mainly sourcing domestically and from other western EU countries. I feel like their market is very focused on luxury items, like Hugo Boss. Hugo Boss is a prime example of high quality, durability, and fit. Along with this, Hugo Boss uses their own facilities to create their products. This is a great way of avoiding any unethical outside sourcing. While the UK spends their time making high quality products for very loyal consumers, the US is very money hungry with the objective of mass production. I think being a member of society in America we already have preconceived notions about UK fashion. I know that when I think of EU products I always think of high quality, and learning about Hugo Boss has held this stigma as true.

  18. At first I thought the US and EU fashion brands have a lot in common, but after reading the article and the knowledge gained from this course, they have many differences. Yes, both are main players in globalization of the T & A industry, both importing and exporting textiles and apparel. However, The United States is known for exporting textiles and importing apparel, the characteristics of a developed country. Whereas, the EU has developed countries as well as developing countries. Western EU countries like Italy, France, UK and Germany are developed and focus more so on textile production. Whereas developing countries in the EU like Poland and Hungary focus more heavily on apparel manufacturing. As we know the United States focuses more on mass production at faster rates. We outsource more compared to the EU. The US has now allowed its consumers to have a hard time buying better quality goods for higher prices, due to fast fashion and I think this is going to be an ongoing issue.

  19. This article just confirmed how I think about trade agreements and the gridlock we have here in the United States. Countries in Europe that are part of the EU have a lot more leeway when it comes to trade and you can see HUGO BOSS taking advantage of this leniency. The fact that they source for their own brand as well in house is amazing and something we don’t normally see very often but they still prove it can be done!

  20. EU fashion brands have similar sourcing strategies to US fashion brands in some ways, but differ in others. Many EU retailers source their textiles and findings from within their region directly, while most American brands and retailers outsource their production and the goods that go into the production from regions far across the world. European culture values art, therefore it makes sense that they source the majority of their textiles from within their own region because some of the highest quality textiles and fabrics are woven and manufactured in Italy. On the contrary, American culture doesn’t value fashion as an art in the same way, therefore the average American consumer is much less concerned with quality, construction & artistry. One similarity between these two markets of the fashion & textile industry is that they both value long term partnerships with their suppliers, manufacturers and other facilitators within the supply chain.

    1. I found it interesting that you mentioned the EU’s artistry in making their products. After watching the video of the Italian dress shirt producers in class, I couldn’t stop thinking about how talented they were. I also found it interesting that this was a family business in which these skills had been passed down for generations.

  21. Through reading the article and the content we learned in class I have learned many differences between the US and the EU’s sourcing strategies. I agree with students’ comments bringing to light that the EU has a bigger focus on social standards than the US. HUGO Boss is a great example of this because one of their sourcing strategies is having social standards while selecting suppliers. HUGO Boss also uses their own production facilities. The EU can focus more on the quality of their products because they are importing and exporting most of their textiles within themselves instead of outsourcing like the US. The US imports 97.5% of apparel. The EU is able to choose suppliers that meet a good social standard by manufacturing within themselves. The US has made it difficult for themselves to find socially responsible suppliers because their sourcing strategies include outsourcing to cheaper countries that may not be treating their manufacturers well. Many fashion brands in the US have faced backlash when their suppliers have been shown to be using child labor, or having unsafe working environments. This will continue to be a problem for many US fashion brands unless they follow in the footsteps of the EU and begin to lower their outsourcing.

  22. Fashion brands in the United States and the European Union will differ in sourcing. The EU’s procurement strategy pays more attention to social impact. In addition, European retailer brands tend to set up factories in Europe.
    The United States pays more attention to fashion products and production efficiency. In the development of the modern era, the United States has found that they rely too much on Asian production efficiency, and they are working hard to change this status quo. In other words, the United States passed. In other words, the United States has maximized profits through this operating model in the past, while EU fashion brands pay more attention to quality.

  23. The United States and the EU have differing sourcing strategies and practices regarding environmentalism and their supply chains. The US continues to be the target of scrutiny due to the abuse of child laborers, as well as working conditions that are unsafe and unethical. One major difference between the two nations’ sourcing strategies is that the US tends to outsource materials from developing countries that provide cheaper rates, while the EU has more centralized sourcing domain. As mentioned in a few other comments, it is quite obvious that the EU values regulations within the T&A industry more than the US does. When it comes to social responsibility, the US falls short. As mentioned in the article, HUGO Boss is a company that is on the right path to ethically sourcing. By enforcing quality checks and instilling strict regulations, workers are protected and and exploitation can be avoided. It is obvious that globally, we need to do better in regards to social responsibility. This issue goes far deeper than simply putting laws into place and looking no further. As people get more involved and start to care beyond a superficial, box -checking manner, we can come upon a time where the T&A industry is morally, socially, and fiscally sound.

  24. It is my personal belief that the European Union and United States fashion brands have sourcing strategies that vary from one another. The United States is more focused towards generating wealth and profit as sourcing from areas with a cheaper price tag will be appealing. The European Union on the other hand focuses more on the quality craftsmanship and working conditions that are set in place. It is rather upsetting that money for money is the sole driver for productivity and forming relationships. The article touches on the E.U. main focus towards quality and social standards for their fashion brands and production whereas conversely on the other hand the U.S. is more concerned with local economic growth, being the main focus of the free trade agreement.

  25. Between the EU and the US, I think there are many similarities in their production processes, but I think the EU benefits much more. To start, the EU has the ability to create textiles and apparel within their own region without tariffs. In addition, they have the ability to produce high-end products such as popular brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc. while also being able to produce mass-market clothing in other regions. This gives the EU to have the “best of both worlds” without having to source from other trade regions. A similarity I found was that both of these systems rely on the idea of factor proportion theory in which one portion of the industry relies on capital intensive production (textiles) while the other relies on labor-intensive production (apparel). In the US, this relationship occurs between them and Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, and China. Overall, I found this topic to be fascinating as I knew very little about the EU’s methods of clothing production. Who do you all think has a better textile and apparel industry? The US or the EU?

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