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.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)