The American Textile Manufacturers Institute isn’t the only voice in the industry expressing concern about China’s growing role in the apparel supply chain. Since China joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001, its exports of textiles and apparel have been growing rapidly, particularly for products on which quotas were dropped last year, like luggage and bras.
China is rapidly gaining ground on Mexico, which is currently the U.S.’s leading supplier of textiles and apparel but last year saw its shipments of those products to the U.S. fall 7.7 percent. It’s been almost 25 years since China started loosening state controls on its economy and over that time the country has become a major exporter of everything from simple toys and garments to television sets and computers.
Manufacturers of all stripes are increasingly looking at China as a highly appealing location for factories. The primary reason is its massive population: Not only is China’s the largest in the world, but its population is still largely rural. About half of Chinese workers are currently employed in agriculture — largely on small rural family farms, where they may be underemployed. That has lead to a heavy rate of migration into cities, which ensures a constant flow of new workers and keeps wages low. Despite their low wages, though, Chinese garment workers are regarded as highly skilled and efficient, while its companies are said to be very flexible and accommodating to export customers.
While the southern province of Guangzhou and the area around Shanghai have been the primary centers of manufacturing in recent decades, sources said factories have been migrating to the north and west of the country in search of new opportunities. With a new president, Hu Jintao, who has expressed strong interest in further opening China’s economy, it’s likely the Middle Kingdom will only gain in importance as a production center.
*For the 12 months ended October 2002, compared with year-earlier period.
**China data excludes Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
SOURCES: THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK, U.S. COMMERCE DEPARTMENT, OANDA.COM
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)