In December 2021, Just-Style consulted a panel of industry leaders and scholars in its Outlook 2022–what’s next for apparel sourcing briefing. Below is my contribution to the report. All comments and suggestions are more than welcome!
What next for apparel sourcing?
As “COVID sets the agenda” and the trajectory of several critical market and non-market forces hard to predict (for example, global inflation, and geopolitics), fashion companies may still have to deal with a highly volatile and uncertain market environment in 2022. That being said, it is still hopeful that fashion companies’ toughest sourcing challenges in 2021 will start to gradually ease at some point in the new year, including the hiking shipping costs, COVID-related lockdowns, and supply chain disruptions.
In response to the “new normal,” fashion companies may find several sourcing strategies essential:
One is to maintain a relatively diverse apparel sourcing base. The latest trade data suggests that US, EU, and Japan-based fashion companies have been steadily sourcing from a more diverse group of countries since 2018, and such a trend continues during the pandemic. Echoing the pattern, in the latest annual benchmarking study I conducted in collaboration with the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), we find that “China plus Vietnam plus many” remains the most popular sourcing model among respondents. This strategy means China and Vietnam combined now typically account for 20-40 percent of a fashion company’s total sourcing value or volume, a notable down from 40-60 percent in the past few years. Fashion companies diversify their sourcing away from “China plus Vietnam” to avoid placing “all eggs in one basket” and mitigate various sourcing risks. In addition, more than 85 percent of surveyed fashion companies say they will actively explore new sourcing opportunities through 2023, particularly those that could serve as alternatives to sourcing from China.
The second strategy is to strengthen the relationship with key vendors further. As apparel is a buyer-driven industry, fashion brands and retailers fully understand the importance of catering to consumers’ needs. However, the supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 remind fashion companies that building a close and partner-based relationship with capable suppliers also matters. For example, working with vendors that have a presence in multiple countries (or known as “super-vendors”) offers fashion companies a critical competitive edge to achieve more flexibility and agility in sourcing. Sourcing from vendors with a vertical manufacturing capability also allows fashion companies to be more resilient toward supply chain disruptions like the shortage of textile raw materials, a significant problem during the pandemic.
Further, we could see fashion companies pay even closer attention to textile raw material sourcing in the year ahead. On the one hand, given the growing concerns about various social and environmental compliance issues like forced labor, fashion brands and retailers are making more significant efforts to better understand their entire supply chain. For example, in addition to tracking who made the clothing or the fabrics (i.e., tier 1 & 2 suppliers), more companies have begun to release information about the sources of their fibers, yarns, threads, and trimmings (i.e., tier 3 & tier 4 suppliers). On the other hand, many fashion brands and retailers intend to diversify their textile material sourcing from Asia, particularly China, against the current business environment. Compared with cutting and sewing garments, much fewer countries can make textiles locally, and it takes time to build textile production capacity. Thus, fashion companies interested in taking more control of their textile raw material sourcing need to take concrete actions such as shifting their sourcing model and making long-term investments intentionally.
Apparel industry challenges and opportunities
One key issue we need to watch closely is the US-China relations. China currently remains the single largest source of apparel globally, with no near alternative. China also plays an increasingly significant role as a textile supplier for many leading apparel exporting countries in Asia. However, as the US-China relations become more concerning and confrontational, we could anticipate new trade restrictions targeting Chinese products and products from any sources that contain components made in China. Notably, with strong bipartisan support, President Biden signed into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act on December 23, 2021. The new law is a game-changer! Depending on the detailed implementation guideline to be developed by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), US fashion companies may find it not operationally viable to source many textiles and apparel products from China. In response, China may retaliate against well-known western fashion brands, disrupting their sales expansion in the growing Chinese consumer market. Further, as China faces many daunting domestic economic and political challenges, a legitimate question for fashion companies to think about is what an unstable China means for their sourcing from the Asia-Pacific region and what the contingency plan will be.
Another critical issue to watch is the regional textile and apparel supply chains and related free trade agreements. While apparel is a global sector, apparel trade remains largely regional-based, i.e., countries import and export products with partners in the same region. Data shows that from 2019 to 2020, around 80% of Asian countries’ textile and apparel imports came from within Asia and about 50% for EU countries. Over the same period, over 87% of Western Hemisphere (WH) countries’ textile and apparel exports went to other WH countries and about 75% for EU countries.
Notably, the reaching and implementation of new free trade agreements will continue to alter and shape new regional textile and apparel supply chains in 2022 and beyond. For example, the world’s largest free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), officially entered into force on January 1, 2022. The tariff reduction and the very liberal rules of origin in the agreement could strengthen Japan, South Korea, and China as the primary textile suppliers for the Asia-based regional supply chain and enlarge the role of ASEAN as the leading apparel producer. RCEP could also accelerate other trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the China-South Korea-Japan Free Trade Agreement currently under negotiation.
As one of RCEP’s ripple effects, we can highly anticipate the Biden administration to announce its new Indo-pacific economic framework soon to counterbalance China’s influences in the region. The Biden administration also intends to leverage trade programs such as the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) to boost textile and apparel production, trade, and investment in the Western Hemisphere and address the root causes of migration. These trade initiatives will be highly relevant to fashion companies that could use the opportunity to expand near sourcing, take advantage of import duty-saving benefits and explore new supply chains.
Additionally, fashion companies need to be more vigilant toward political instability in their major sourcing destinations. We have already seen quite a turmoil recently, from Myanmar’s military coup, Ethiopia’s loss of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) benefits, concerns about Haiti and Nicaragua’s human rights, and the alleged forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region. Whereas fashion brands and retailers have limited or no impact on changing a country’s broader human rights situation, the reputational risks could be very high. Having a dedicated trade compliance team monitoring the geopolitical situation routinely and ensuring full compliance with various government regulations will become mainstream among fashion companies.
And indeed, sustainability, due diligence, recycling, digitalization, and data analytics will remain buzzwords for the apparel industry in the year ahead.
by Sheng Lu
33 thoughts on “Outlook 2022– Key Issues to Shape Apparel Sourcing and Trade”
great to learn! In the second half of the course, we will examine the textile and apparel supply chains around the world, starting with the so-called “western hemisphere supply chain.” You will have a more in-depth understanding of the advantages of near sourcing and some concerns.
Great read. I think that strengthening relationships with vendors may be one of the smartest tactics that companies are taking to adapt to this “new normal”. Consumer need has proved to be the ultimate driving factor behind apparel production and quality. Having close relationships with vendors and super vendors gives companies a more competitive edge over companies that are not close with their supplier. Another tactic that I think is worthwhile is the diversification of textile sourcing. Consumer demand wants the highest quality fabric and few countries can produce high quality textiles locally. This means altering supply chains and sourcing bases but for the betterment of the product for the consumer. It will be interesting to see how free trade continues to develop and compete during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have already seen more than one global shut down since 2020. Will these tactics be enough to save apparel companies and retailers or will the government and free trade adjustments need to play a larger role?
Your comment reminds me of a recent article, which argues that “United States is not immune to geographically concentrated risks…For both economic and security reasons, more geographic diversification is needed. A better “Made in America” policy would allow for globalized production chains, particularly with trusted suppliers in like-minded countries.” FYI:
Interesting read! Covid has shifted the apparel market in many different ways. Consumers have been pushing for new developments in categories such as ecommerce and sustainability. Companies and manufacturers have begun to navigate the market to meet these needs. To keep up with new demands, manufacturers have relied on more countries to source from, while also strengthening their relationships with the vendors they previously worked with. These brands are making more effort to completely have transparency within their supply chain to please consumers. When talking about the China-US relations, it has directly affected the price in which merchandise is sold at. As a first hand experience, the retail store I work at has added a 3.75% import tax to our clothing. As you can imagine, Delawareans are upset with any tax that is collected at purchase, as there is no sales tax here. Many customers cannot grasp the fact that there is an import tax that has been imposed since our clothing is sourced from China. Consumers are not happy with both the tax and overall increase in apparel pricing since the beginning of the pandemic. I am wondering if the increased price of apparel will stay in place even after the trade issues resolve? Will companies just take advantage of the situation and maintain these increases?
This is a great article. A key point is the importance for fashion brands and retailers to pay attention to their relationships with vendors. Throughout the hardships of the pandemic fashion brands seemed to benefit from having close relationships with suppliers. Working with venders gives fashion companies a competitive advantage providing them with more flexibility, along with the opportunity to recover throughout any shortages. This point was discussed in a recent BoF Industry panel with representatives from Neiman Marcus Group and Reformation. The panelists explained that during the pandemic their preexisting relationship with suppliers is what helped them get through the supply chain crisis. This point from the panel stuck with me and it was interesting to see the same point in this article!
The issue of forced labor, especially within the Xinjiang region of China, is a complex one. No company can claim with 100% certainty that they do not have any forced labor further down their supply chain. This is because the production of raw materials is a tier four supply, the most distant stage of the complex apparel supply chain. As discussed in our case study, “How to Respond to the Alleged Forced Labor in the Cotton Supply Chain?,” US fashion brands and retailers have a zero tolerance policy for forced labor within their supply chains and are taking many measures within their supply chains in order to alleviate their contribution to the issue. These measures include: reinforcing factory audits, reducing sourcing from the XUAR region, strengthening their vendor relationships, and participating in industry-wide efforts. While effective to some extent, these measures still are not enough alone to keep forced labor cotton out of US fashion brands’ and retailers’ supply chains. However, one solution in the suture to this issue can be found in technology. A recent article by Marc Bain from Business of Fashion discusses the technology and describes it as similar to Covid-19 PCR testing. The RFID and DNA technology is able to detect a cotton sample’s unique genetic or chemical fingerprint in order to determine its geographical origin. This may be the solution for brands to test their products and get the assurance they need in order to protect themselves legally as well as protect their reputation and integrity, and to be able to say they are 100% certain their products were not produced with forced labor at any point within their supply chain.
Bain, M. (2022, March 2). After Covid, PCR tests are coming for Cotton. The Business of Fashion. Retrieved from https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/technology/after-covid-pcr-tests-are-coming-for-cotton/
agree totally! and you may find this article interesting: https://www.sourcingnetwork.org/press-release-yess-pilot-project-shows-yarn-and-fabric-manufacturers-ready-to-drive-change-to-end-modern-slavery
This was an extremely interesting and informative article. A big takeaway from this article is how important it is for fashion brands as well as retailers to really focus and build their relationships with vendors. I remember when I first started working as a sales associate to always be respectful and always put my best self forward. When I started to help with buying the same expectations followed. You always wanted to make sure you had a good relationship with vendors because you never know what kinds of problems you might run into. When COVID-19 hit many copies struggled but the fashion brands that had close ties with their vendors seemed to be able to keep up a tad more than other companies. Working hand and hand with vendors allowed compies to learn how to deal with different supply chain issues that started to come about during the pandemic. If we think back to the business of fashion panel as another student mentioned in their comment it is very important to have a bond with your vendors and to get close with them. This is something that so many people say makes a huge difference.
Good reflection. You can also put this emerging trend in the context of the growing importance of social responsibility in fashion companies’ sourcing decisions as well as the call for more supply chain transparency. For example, my study shows that even a large-scale US fashion company (i.e., billions of annual sales) does not necessarily have the leverage over their suppliers for related information. Thus, a strong importer-supplier relationship matters. https://shenglufashion.com/2021/06/04/the-state-of-apparel-supply-chain-transparency-a-case-study-on-vf-corporation/
Fashion companies may still have to deal with an unpredictable and uncertain market climate in 2022, as described in that article and in all the themes we’ve examined. However, it is hoped that the most severe sourcing difficulties for fashion companies in 2021, will hopefully begin to alleviate at some point in the new year. The article’s discussion of various sourcing approaches was quite informative. For example, the second plan, which is to develop the relationship with important suppliers, was one that particularly caught my eye. Having interned at Louis Vuitton, I am well aware of the need of creating and keeping strong supplier connections in order to remain competitive in the retail industry. Having good working connections with your vendors is essential if you want to keep your shelves full of high-quality products that your consumers will love.
I didn’t know you interned at LV! What does their sourcing strategy look like? Or how do you see the covid’s impact on LV’s business strategies?
I did, in fact! Incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work there, it was a genuinely remarkable experience. Louis Vuitton items are made and protected with raw materials sourced from nature’s abundance, whether they are obtained from animals or plants and minerals alike. In order to protect biodiversity, these raw materials are dedicated to supply chains with a positive influence on the environment. They want to conserve resources and the climate, respect animal welfare, avoid deforestation, eliminate the use of harmful chemicals, and reduce air and water pollution. In contrast to Covid, LV’s e-commerce methods and private showings for VIP clientele allowed them to recover quickly and keep their customer service scores high. A 3 percent drop in organic revenue in the fourth quarter was a strong sign of resilience for LVMH, which saw a marked improvement in all of its activities compared to the first nine months of 2020. Both the third and fourth quarters of the year saw a double-digit increase in Fashion & Leather Goods.
The key issues and strategies highlighted in this article are extremely interesting. First, having a diverse apparel sourcing base is essential for retailers in this day and age. A diversified sourcing environment allows retailers to have more flexibility if there are conflicts in one area because they have multiple sourcing locations to choose from, ultimately making it more difficult for conflicts within the entire supply chain to arise. Similarly, building strong relationships with super-vendors is a good strategy for retailers because it allows for resources to be obtained from vendors that are located in many countries. Being in good standing with these types of large vendors is advantageous for retailers. Furthermore, as we have discussed in previous case studies, the importance of tracking Tier 3 & Tier 4 suppliers is becoming increasingly important for retailers. Although these suppliers are more difficult to find information about, it is necessary to gain as much information as possible to meet consumers’ rising sustainability demands. Since sustainability and ethical sourcing is such a prevalent topic, it is important for retailers to rethink their relationship with China. Although China is the largest apparel source in the world, it is clear that the country does not have the most ethical operations because of the alleged forced labor in the Xinjiang region. This being said, fashion retailers must understand the macro-environment in which they are operating and should strive to comply with government regulations in all countries.
great comment！ And just see this sad news report: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/crisis-after-covid-19-for-sri-lankan-women-who-dress-the-west/article65397272.ece
US apparel imports from Sri Lanka exceeded $1.73 billion in 2021. I cannot help thinking: for brands/retailers who care about their vendor relationship, what can be done differently?
It is devastating to see that both mass market retailers and luxury brands both have ethical issues within their supply chains. For those of which who value vendor relationships, I think it is important for retailers to perform audits in factories to ensure safe and fair working conditions. Rather than allowing third-party auditors to perform these inspections, I find it important for retailers to perform the inspections themselves as to ensure that they are seeing the truth behind manufacturing.
This is a great article that brings up many interesting points. 2022 has been a year like no other for many fashion brands. They now need to focus on diversifying their sourcing bases, and developing key vendor relationships all while becoming more transparent with their consumers. I recently read an article from the Business of Fashion that covered how the luxury conglomerate, Kering is trying to raise $1 Billion in capital to compensate for its challenging supply chain. Kering is saying that while they have experienced many shortages, they expect the supply to resume shortly, giving investors promise. If Kering, a multi-billion dollar company needs extra capital, I am very interested to see how other fashion companies plan to bounce back.
As mentioned, an important strategy to deal with the highly volatile and uncertain market in the apparel industry is to strengthen relationships, and is in my opinion, the most important step. The relationships in question are two, those between brands and their vendors, and those between brands and their consumers. The first relationship is so important to be strong as it involves the production of the products, with no products the brand will have nothing to sell. Improving the relationships at this level requires a certain amount of communication. The brand needs to discuss what they need from the vendor and the vendor needs to openly share what is possible and what isn’t. After this they can come to an agreement on what they can achieve. This important relationship will also allow vendors to improve their facilities. For example, if a vendor does not meet certain standards of how many goods can be produced, they can talk to their company hiring them and say they need a higher payment to meet the needs. This will also increase the ability for vendors and production facilities to meet human right standards and sustainability requirements through a partnership with their hiring fashion brands. This will also allow fashion brands and companies to be more responsible for what is happening in these locations and to take accountability. In terms of relationships with fashion brands and consumers, a level of loyalty and communication is also important. A brand being able to openly share that their will be changes in their products for the better due to changes with their vendors requires a customer base that will listen and be able to stay customers. It is also important for brands to listen to what customers want. If their consumer base is heavily advocating for sustainable products made from recycled materials, for example, the brand should look into giving them this product. These two types of relationships will allow brands to thrive, even if there are small setbacks along the way. Only with the strong relationships will they be able to overcome challenges quickly to continue production.
This article was extremely interesting. Ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the fashion and apparel industry have to make changes to combat all the struggles the pandemic brought. Throughout this semester, we have learned a lot about diversifying apparel sourcing bases. I find it fascinating to see how diversifying effects different countries. We have also continuously focused on the horrors of the cotton industry in China, so diversifying outside of that region has been a rising trend. Social and environmental compliance has also gained importance worldwide. Because of these rising sustainability trends, it is important for fashion brands to take control of their sourcing practices and ensure that factories are using fair practice at all stages of product development.
Great information in this post! I really enjoyed reading it. I think the greatest takeaway is that the past two and a half years the industry, as well as the world has seen more change than we have in a while. The pandemic affected most of the world, rather than a certain country or region. We all went through it together, and I’d like to think that we learned from it. The fashion industry specifically, has had to reevaluate the way they do things in order to keep up with the consumers needs, which in the fashion industry should be the most important thing. The fashion industry was faced with many things like exporting and importing issues, the change in consumer spending and needs because of the pandemic, and so much more. As someone that was working during the beginning of the pandemic, it was extremely interesting to see the way the company dynamic changed and so quickly. As I reenter the workforce after graduation, I am already looking at having a hybrid schedule, as well as a new way to talk to clients and vendors. Trade shows will be different, the way in which we sell is constantly changing and as a an industry we need to be able to adapt to these changes.
This was an excellent article. A crucial issue is the importance of fashion brands and retailers paying attention to their supplier relationships. Throughout the pandemic’s difficulties, fashion brands appeared to benefit from close relationships with suppliers. Working with distributors gives fashion companies a competitive edge by giving them more ability and willingness to recover during any shortages. As someone has previously stated, it is also heartbreaking to see that both mass-market retailers and luxury brands have ethical issues in their supply chains. For those who value supplier relations, I believe it is critical for retailers to conduct factory audits to ensure safe and healthy working conditions.
what leads you to the comment that ” it is critical for retailers to conduct factory audits to ensure safe and healthy working conditions.”? Are you suggesting this is a key issue in 2022? if so, why?
With COVID impacts hard to predict what will happen through 2022, fashion companies must adjust their sourcing strategies to deal with an uncertain market environment. This article highlights three apparel sourcing strategies essential for fashion companies in 2022. The first strategy is to maintain a relatively diverse sourcing base. By avoiding placing “all eggs in one basket”, brands mitigate various sourcing risks. The second apparel sourcing strategy mentioned is to strengthen the relationship with key vendors further. Supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 have shown that building a close and partner-based relationship with capable suppliers is important. The last sourcing strategy is to pay even closer attention to textile raw material sourcing. Many fashion brands and retailers intend to diversify their textile material sourcing from Asia, particularly China, against the current business environment.
This article brought up some very important points as to why is is important to have a diverse sourcing base. I agree that the pandemic further proved the importance of not putting “all eggs in one basket.” A diverse sourcing base could help mitigate some of the delays that may arise due to various supply chain back-ups (which were an issue during the pandemic). The article stated that more than 85% of the surveyed fashion brands are looking for new sourcing opportunities in 2023, and I wonder how many of these brands are considering near-shoring as well? Even as the hight of the pandemic has passed, I think that there is still much uncertainty in the fashion market and in consumer habits. It is an adjustment period for people and companies as we are in a “new normal.”
I think this article was a really interesting read, specifically the part about the importance of having a diverse sourcing base. I think that although covid-19 had detrimental effects on the apparel and textile industry, it has shed light on a lot of flaws within the T&A industry and now we can make better decisions to help stabilize in case of other unprecedented events. One of those decisions being to diversify their sourcing base along with strengthening relationships with key vendors, and pay closer attention to textile raw material sourcing. Knowing this information, I’m excited for my buying internship at Burlington to ask about their sourcing strategies in our current post-pandemic environment.
After reading this article, I think that it is super important for fashion companies to continue to build a relationship with their vendors. As the pandemic hit, we saw many companies struggle to operate and keep things flowing, but it seemed as if the ones who actually had close ties with their vendors were keeping up with all the arising issues they were being faced with. Working closely with vendors allows companies to recover from any of the hardships the pandemic was throwing at them.
This is a great article to highlight many of the challenges, trends, and issues related to apparel sourcing and trade. I think an essential thing to notice is how many of the key points of the article relate to things outside of what you would conventionally think is the fashion industry. For example, four of the issues discussed focused on politics and relationships with other countries. The US-China relationship for example, is a big issue to watch because if that relationship changes, it could drastically alter the lives of US consumers and the business of US companies. The article also highlighted free trade agreements, whether that be new ones or their effects on regional textile and apparel supply chains. This shows how important international relations are to the fashion industry and how government policies have a lot of power over the industry. Finally, the article even talks about the importance of fashion companies being vigilant toward political instability in their major sourcing companies. The fashion industry is so much more than just designing and selling clothes. International relations, political unrest, laws/policies, and agreements between countries are all very important aspects of the industry (as this article points out) that are often overlooked.
It is interesting to see how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the relationship between US fashion brands and their suppliers. There is now more of an emphasis on building that connection to foster trust and loyalty, and I think that it is an interesting shift from what was happening previously with brands switching suppliers to find whichever one can provide them with the cheapest options. Furthermore, having a connection with vendors makes it easier for US fashion brands to better manage the social compliance, ethics, and sustainability of their supply chain. In the video discussion we watched for extra credit, part of deepening relationships with suppliers is creating a mutually beneficial relationship that provides two-way discussion and learning. This provides a variety of opportunities for sustainability as brands can now give their inputs of technology and expertise to help their partners produce their products more efficiently and sustainably. This is only one of the many factors affecting our supply chain, but I found it particularly interesting because I think it also shows a shift away from the previous mindset of fast fashion with lots of low quality clothing at low prices.
This article was very interesting, I am intrigued to learn about the challenges and trends related to apparel sourcing and trade. The fashion industry took a turn when the pandemic hit, fashion retailers must pay attention to their suppliers, especially during a time like this. Alleged forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region should be a major concern for US fashion brands and retailers regardless if they have no impact on changing a country’s human rights situation, the reputational risks are high. One major issue I believe is most important is US-China relations because we rely heavily on sourcing raw materials from them to vendors in other countries and our own. Companies say they will actively explore new options but I don’t think there is much more to find. This concerns me because the problems we faced during the pandemic, if China shuts down and can no longer export goods how will the US fashion industry survive?
I believe fashion firms must maintain their relationships with their providers. We witnessed many firms struggle to function and keep things running when the pandemic hit. The companies that kept close connections with their vendors were continuing to be the successful companies they were before. My mother has a clothing business and used Facetime and Zoom conversations to keep in touch with her vendors during the epidemic. She began to develop personal relationships with the reps as a result of these exchanges. They are now as devoted to her as she is to them. Building a long-term, healthy relationship between the supplier and the organization will enable the exchange of ideas and feedback. This will allow for better operations, a more efficient supply chain, and lower costs while also increasing customer service. Overall, Having positive connections with your vendors might help you save money. You may be able to benefit from appealing promotions, incentives, and discounts supplied by satisfied and loyal vendors. Great pricing may offer you a competitive advantage.
This article was very interesting to read about the future of the industry. I love that I study the fashion industry due to the fact that although it will always be relevant, it is also always changing and evolving. Because of the pandemic that has had an effect on the whole world for the past few years, I believe that now more than ever the industry is changing and adapting faster than ever. These changes had to be made in order for companies to survive during this time and adjust to the “new normal.” Now especially is not a time for the industry to take risks with sourcing. For example, it is important to expand sources and work with multiple countries rather than “China plus Vietnam” and risk putting all your eggs in one basket.
This is a fascinating article! It’s really interesting to see how COVID has affected so much of the textile and apparel industry. It’s especially interesting to me to hear about the increased focus on regional supply chains. Since covid, more and more countries have begun sourcing from within their local regions. As an example, 80% of Asia’s apparel imports came from within Asia and 87% of imports to countries in the Western Hemisphere come from areas within the Western Hemisphere. I think this decision to transition to more local sourcing and importing is a smart one. Sourcing more locally can improve lead times and help mitigate delays and issues within the supply chain.
There are a lot of issues within the supply chain that affect many fashion companies. Forced labor has been a growing concern in the industry. It is difficult for companies to be aware of every detail in their supply chain especially if they’re overseas. However, companies have been working on solving these issues or on strengthening their relationships with other vendors, suppliers, or factories. With the growing demand of sustainability and transparency, this would be the wisest and most strategic business move for fashion companies and retailers.