Why the Apparel Industry is Reshoring Manufacturing

Forty years ago, US-based clothing industry moved manufacturing overseas to take advantage of cheap labor. Only about 3% of today’s apparel is domestically manufactured, but that is changing with the adoption of automation.

With the fashion industry’s trend toward automation solutions that trend toward flexibility, decreased time to market, and carrying smaller inventories, regional sourcing for apparel offers a competitive advantage.

Another advantage of reshoring manufacturing in the apparel industry is preventing counterfeits, which can damage a brand’s reputation and erode their market share. For less established companies, automation allows for responsiveness to changing trends that can help build business.

In-house or local manufacturing also allow for a more hands-on approach to building a fashion business. Quality can be monitored easily, expensive overseas travel expenses are eliminated, and language barriers may be less of an issue. Doing business in the US also offers different legal protections than those which might be available overseas.

When Under Armour introduced its Baltimore center for design and manufacturing, it saw that the lead time between prototype and production went from 18 months overseas to only 4 months locally. Additionally, the Reshoring Initiative has found that the top factors in support of domestic apparel manufacturing are proximity to customers, availability of a skilled workforce and a positive impact on local economy.

Contact us about automation options available to you.