The apparel industry has been one of the most successful at cutting costs in the past decade, and also at passing on the benefits. U.S. apparel prices are slightly lower than a decade ago, compared with inflation of more than 100 percent, noted Bill Ghitis, president of apparel for DuPont Textiles & Interiors, during a special presentation.

"We should be consumer heroes, but we’re not," Ghitis said. "Despite our decade-long fire sale, most of the trend lines point down. Why? Because clothes are simply boring."

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