US Apparel Sourcing Trends to Watch in 2021

Key points:

  • Key themes in 2021: COVID-19+ trade policy
  • U.S. apparel imports continue to rebound, but uncertainty remains
  • Asia will remain the dominant apparel sourcing base
  • U.S. fashion companies are NOT giving up China as one of their essential apparel-sourcing bases, although companies continue to reduce their “China exposure” overall. Meanwhile, do NOT underestimate the impact of non-economic factors on sourcing.
  • No clear evidence suggests near sourcing from the Western Hemisphere is happening in a large scale
  • Watch Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). These two mega-free trade agreements could shape new textile and apparel supply chains in the Asia-Pacific region.

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

5 thoughts on “US Apparel Sourcing Trends to Watch in 2021”

  1. Do you think that the U.S will ever give up China for their essential apparel sourcing? They are trying to reduce “China Exposure”, so do they want to in the future get rid of them for good? I don’t think they should even reduce it, I think China is a huge part of our apparel sourcing and I don’t think it would be the same without them.

    1. I can absolutely see where you are coming from. However, I think that the issue that so many industries, especially the apparel industry, are facing, is a huge dependency on China. So when unprecedented events occur such as the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have to either suffer or completely alter the way in which things are done.

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