BEIJING — Although China seems to be losing ground as the world's top apparel manufacturer, many experts say this is a natural part of its economic development.
"This trend has just started and various contradictions and problems will gradually arise," said Cao Honghui, a market economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing's top economic think tank.
Yet, he said, mature economies the world over — from the U.S. to Hong Kong — have been through similar circumstances, providing China with good examples of how to move its economy from one based on simple manufacturing to one structured on innovation and technology.
"It's a historical process and there is a need to implement coordinated policies," said Cao.
Luo Jun, secretary of the Asia Manufacturing Association, said China's economy is evolving from being one in a developing country, and, as a result, competition and prices are bound to increase. He said the new climate will contribute to a rise in the success of domestic companies, environmentally friendly production and better working conditions.
"It's a very normal thing to have this kind of trend of shift in manufacturing," Luo said.
In recent months, American and European apparel and textile manufacturers have become increasingly vocal about their dissatisfaction with certain growing trouble spots of producing in China. Costs are rising because of higher wages, a steadily appreciating yuan, stricter labor laws and rising domestic inflation. As the country loses its cost advantage, other problems, such as logistics and simple cultural gaps, have become increasingly apparent to Western companies. As a result, countries and areas such as Vietnam, India and Eastern Europe are emerging as strong competitors to the Chinese production powerhouse.
China had a 40.2 percent share of the U.S. apparel and textile import market last year. The country increased the volume of apparel and textile imports to the U.S. by 14.8 percent to 21.37 billion square meter equivalents.
But U.S. apparel importers did diversify their sourcing strategies. Imports from Vietnam increased 31.3 percent to 1.5 billion SME, shipments from India rose 2.5 percent to 2.7 billion SME, imports from Indonesia gained 1.6 percent to 1.62 billion SME and goods shipped from Bangladesh rose 4 percent to 1.55 billion SME.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast