US Textile and Apparel Manufacturing and Sourcing During COVID-19: Discussion Questions from FASH455

#1:  As of June 2021, US textile production had resumed about 98.8% of its production capacity at the pre-COVID level. Based on the readings, why or why not do you think the industry is already “out of the woods”? How to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the international competitiveness of US textile production?

#2: To which extent do you think the state of the US textile and apparel industry and its performance during the pandemic challenge the conclusions of the classic trade and economic development theories we learned in the class (e.g., comparative advantage, factor proportion, the international division of labor, and stage of development theories)? Do you find any trade or production patterns that existing theories cannot fully explain?

#3 Many US fashion companies’ strategies to “consolidate existing sourcing base and strengthen the relationship with key vendors” during the pandemic. What is your evaluation of this strategy—is it a short-term reaction toward COVID-19 or a long-term trend likely to stay? What does this strategy mean for vendors in the apparel supplying countries?

#4: What are the notable changes in fashion companies’ sourcing criteria during the pandemic? How to explain such changes? Who are the winners and losers? Why?

#5: It is of concern that sustainability and social responsibility become a lower priority for the apparel industry during the pandemic, given the unprecedented operational and financial challenges companies face. What is your assessment based on the readings?

#6: What is your vision for the US textile and apparel industry in the post-COVID world? What are the key issues/questions/development trends we shall watch?

(Welcome to our online discussion. For students in FASH455, please address at least two questions and mention the question number (#) in your reply)

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

One thought on “US Textile and Apparel Manufacturing and Sourcing During COVID-19: Discussion Questions from FASH455”

  1. 1# Based on the readings, I think the US textile industry has likely not gone “out of the woods” yet. Despite US textile production having resumed around 98.8% of its production capacity, the industry was seriously impacted by the pandemic. For example, the value of US textile and apparel exports in 2020 decreased 2020 by 15.5% including a 26% decrease in yarn exports. Such impact is likely going to take years to fully recover from. I think the pandemic has a relatively small impact on the international competitiveness of US textile production. As Mexico and other Central American countries are the main export market for US textile products, the US continues to demonstrate substantial competitiveness in lead time due to their geographic proximity.

    3# I think the trend for fashion companies to consolidate their sourcing base and strengthen the relationship with key vendors is likely to stay. As The pandemic bought much public attention to issues regarding social compliance and sustainability, the strategy of reducing vendors can provide more transparency to the supply chain, which would be favored by customers. For vendors, the strategy means they need to adopt more vertical operations, increase reliability, and improve their areas of production to meet the demands of US companies.

Leave a Reply to tvmaster1 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s