There aren't many people alive today who don't remember the devastation of the Rana Plaza collapse with the thousands of garment workers trapped inside. Seemingly just another day at work, their lives were changed forever. But has anything really changed?
Companies like Scotch & Soda, Champion, Zumba, Neiman Marcus, Jockey, JCPenny, Old Navy, are examples of companies that are sourcing in Colombia. Many other companies are beginning to source textile and apparel from Colombia, since the country offers multiple benefits to fashion companies within the United States.
Changes in the behavior of consumers and industry practices are having a considerable impact on the fashion industry. Gone are the days when something was just a hit on the runway and everyone would flock to whatever store was carrying it. Today, more people are mixing and matching items and the result is fashion trends go in and out of style in a shorter period.
Global production efforts have also shifted. More companies looking for production are turning to Turkey to assist them. The reason is production in the country remains stable. While Egyptian production is being plagued by the continued unrest in the area other areas like China and Bangladesh have hit a snag. For example, last year the total garment exports from Bangladesh exceeded $30 Billion USD. The average cost of workers though saw a spike where workers were making as much as $68 to keep the speed of production up. This increase is making the area less cost effective for brand name providers to source their work to the country. As a result, many are looking at Ethiopia as a potential solution. The reason is they are able to lower the cost of production and workers in the country are more willing to deliver exceptional work, without expecting a higher living wage.
Turkey and Sri Lanka have combatted this by offering a more ethical approach to production. They’ve added value to the manufacturing line and are working to focus more on sustainable items at an affordable price. The goal is to have more companies use them to manufacture apparel.
Of course, the United States is also on board to manufacture domestically. The biggest advantage is shorter turnaround times and more control over the process. For products made in European and Asian countries, there is a long delay from the shipping requirements and since garments won’t have to travel overseas, there is less of a risk of a damage to them from mildew developing in the humid conditions. South American providers have also stressed a similar point with Guatemala noting similar benefits on garments produced in that country.
With companies focused on satisfying the demands of customers, it is important to keep these different sourcing options in mind. After all, companies don’t want to be accused of damaging the environment with non-renewable sources, nor do they want to be accused of slave labor with employees making a fraction of a dollar on items retailing for hundreds. There needs to be a balance and fashion providers must weigh the pros and cons of each country when deciding on the best route to go as they produce their goods.
For now, the challenge is to determine which area can best produce the garments and other fashion essentials for a company. Distance from warehouses, travel time and production costs must all be taken into account, so a company can generate a significant profit. After all, if it costs $100 to produce a shirt, the chances of selling the garment for a profit is highly unlikely. There needs to be a balance and that comes with shifting through the information at hand.
Learn how we can help with your next hire. Request a Quote
We provide you with tips, tools and educational resources designed to help you in your career.