“Exodus” has taken on a new meaning for the fashion industry. And companies such as Arzee International, a sustainable premium full-package manufacturer based in Los Angeles, is taking the lead to onshore apparel – and offset emissions.
Arzee International delivers sustainable, high-quality cotton apparel to emerging designers and leading national brands, with a slew of services inclusive of development, raw materials sourcing, sampling and bulk production. In 2020, the company expanded its manufacturing operations to Mexico, but the move, remarkably, wasn’t related to the widespread changes in retail stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the company.
“Mexico is simply better positioned to offer faster, streamlined, more competitive services than its overseas counterparts,” said Alex Turbay, managing director, Arzee International. “And the outcome has resulted in a smoother, more efficient, and leaner operation for us and our brand clients.”
He added that China, for example, has become a complicated retail partner due to duty tariffs, long production lead times, high minimums and increased costs. Coupled with the lack of transparency in Chinese supply chains, an increased desire for U.S.-grown cotton, and ocean freight shipping challenges, apparel brands are increasingly finding onshore trucking and rail services an attractive and more sustainable alternative. Meanwhile, Trump-era tariffs imposed by the U.S. and Chinese governments over the last few years have increased supply chain costs by at least 10 percent, and often significantly more, depending on the category, according to research published by Gartner.
Turbay added that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) signed last year has only strengthened its case for onshoring, with Mexico best positioned to take advantage of this geopolitical and economic shift to “capture the wave of production that is exiting China.”
As a low-cost bordering country with an expansive, developed manufacturing hub, highly skilled workforce and modern logistics infrastructure connecting the U.S. and enabling commerce flow through a network of modern roads and railways, Mexico remains a practical, sustainable and ethical choice for apparel brands’ manufacturing needs. Its proximity also allows for a dramatically reduced carbon footprint.
Back to Basics
All this led Arzee to launch LA Basics, a private label division that manufactures premium basics for the wholesale and direct-to-consumer fashion market with a distinctive LA style. Designed in Los Angeles – and manufactured in Mexico – LA Basics is a line of factory-direct blanks aimed at emerging and digital brands seeking sustainable, made-to-order apparel that can be easily dyed, printed/embroidered and shipped.
LA Basics currently offers 16 styles across women’s, men’s, unisex and kid’s capsule collections, made with premium cotton jersey, terry and fleece. Underscoring its versatility, the blanks can be customized to match virtually any shade in the Pantone color wheel.
The brand specializes in delivering a wide range of services for customization, such as garment dye, embroidery, and prints from its newly opened studio in Mexico City. Made of high-quality materials sourced from the same Mexico-based mill that Arzee calls a partner, the nearby, fully vetted factory follows strict guidelines for ethical, sustainable manufacturing through modern, clean technologies, guaranteeing quality product and elevated appeal.
“In the niche blanks market, LA Basics’ appeal is its promise of quality, reduced carbon footprint and visibility across the supply chain and color customization, which is unmatched by its competitors,” said Ryan Zimmerman, founder and head of business development, Arzee Interntional.
Like its parent company, LA Basics offers ecofriendly fabrics for brands, inclusive of U.S.-grown Pima and GOTS-certified organic cotton, as well as its “Re-fibered” poly-blend material made from plastic bottles found on the streets in Mexico. The bottles are disinfected and broken down through a trituration process and “re-fibered” to a recycled polyblend used in eco-friendly T-shirts and sweatshirts.
And it helps that the coronavirus pandemic has led shoppers astray from fitted, formal attire, which, naturally, gave rise to dressing more comfortably, even as the workforce begins a slow but steady return to the office. “Categories such as ‘productive comfort,’ ‘tailored essentials’ and ‘professional athleisure’ could very well be the new modern workwear uniform, and that’s where LA Basics can help brands shine,” said Zimmerman.
By nearshoring with Arzee International, brands benefit by turning designs faster and improving sell through by seamlessly matching supply with demand, not to mention improving working capital through holding less inventory. And there’s nothing basic about that.
To learn more about Arzee International and LA Basics, click here.