Clothing industry or garment industry summarizes the types of trade
and industry along the production and life chain of clothing and
garments, starting with the textile industry (producers of cotton,
wool, fur, and synthetic fibre) via fashion industry to fashion
retailers up to trade with second-hand clothes and textile recycling.
The producing sectors build upon a wealth of clothing technology some
of which, like the loom, the cotton gin, and the sewing machine
heralded industrialization not only of the previous textile
6 See also
7 Further reading
7.1 United States
Clothing factory in Montreal, Quebec, in 1941.
Nylon stocking inspection in Malmö, Sweden, in 1954.
Garment factory workers in Bangladesh, in 2013.
By the early 20th century, the industry in the developed world often
involved immigrants in "sweat shops", which were usually legal but
were sometimes illegally operated. They employed people in crowded
conditions, working manual sewing machines, and being paid less than a
living wage. This trend worsened due to attempts to protect existing
industries which were being challenged by developing countries in
South East Asia, the
Indian subcontinent and Central America. Although
globalization saw the manufacturing largely outsourced to overseas
labor markets, there has been a trend for the areas historically
associated with the trade to shift focus to the more white collar
associated industries of fashion design, fashion modeling and retail.
Areas historically involved heavily in the "rag trade" include London
Milan in Europe, and the
SoHo district in New York City.
There are considerable overlaps between the terms clothing-/garment-,
textile- and fashion industry. The clothing sector is concerned with
all types of clothes, from fashion to uniforms, e-textiles and
Textile industry is less concerned with the fashion aspect
but produces the fabrics and fibres that are required for tailoring.
The fashion industry closely follows - and sets - fashion trends to
always supply the latest in non-functional clothing.
History of clothing and textiles
History of clothing and textiles and Timeline of
clothing and textiles technology
The garment industry is a major contributor to the economies of many
countries. The industry for Ready Made Garments has been criticized by
labor advocates for the use of sweatshops, piece work and child labor.
Working conditions in low-cost countries have received critical media
coverage, especially in the aftermath of large scale disasters like
2013 Savar building collapse
2013 Savar building collapse or the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
In 2016, the largest apparel exporting nations were
Bangladesh ($28 billion),
Vietnam ($25 billion),
Hong Kong ($16 billion),
Turkey ($15 billion) and Indonesia
($7 billion). By 2025, it is projected that the United States
market will be worth $385 billion. It is also projected that the
e-commerce revenue will be worth 123 million in the United States by
Further information: Bangladeshi RMG Sector,
Textile manufacturing, Texturizing, and Tunnel finisher
Further information: Cloth merchant, Draper, Mercery, Haberdasher,
Worshipful Company of Girdlers, Worshipful Company of Drapers, and
Textile and clothing trade unions
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh
Bangladesh Worker Safety
Fashion design services
List of fabric names
List of textile fibres
Savile Row tailoring
Carpenter, Jesse Thomas. Competition and Collective Bargaining in the
Needle Trades, 1910-67 (Cornell UP, 1972)
Chandler, Alfred The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in
American Business (Harvard UP, 1977), pp 287, 289, 298, 308-09, 312
Cherington, Paul T. The
Wool Industry: Commercial Problems of the
American Woolen and Worsted Manufacture (1917) online
Cole, Arthur H. "A neglected chapter in the history of combinations:
The American wool manufacture." Quarterly Journal of Economics 37.3
Copeland, Melvin Thomas. The cotton manufacturing industry of the
United States (Harvard UP, 1912) online.
Corbin, Harry A. The Men's
Clothing Industry: Colonial Times Through
Modern Times (New York, 1970)
Fraser, Steve. Labor will rule: Sidney Hillman and the rise of
American labor (Cornell UP, 1993) head of Amalgamated
Godley, Andrew. Jewish immigrant entrepreneurship in New York and
London 1880–1914. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001).
Goldstein, Gabriel M. and Elizabeth Greenberg, eds. A Perfect Fit: The
Industry and American Jewry (1860-1960) (Texas Tech UP, 2012),
Green, Nancy L. Ready-to-wear and ready-to-work: a century of industry
and immigrants in Paris and New York (Duke UP, 1997).
Hapke, Laura. Sweatshop: the history of an American idea (Rutgers UP,
Joselit, Jenna Weissman. A Perfect Fit: Clothes, Character, and the
Promise of America (2002)
Katz, Daniel. All together different: Yiddish socialists, garment
workers, and the labor roots of multiculturalism (NYU Press, 2011).
Liebhold, Peter, and Harry R. Rubenstein. Between a rock and a hard
place: A history of American sweatshops, 1820-present (UCLA Asian
American Studies Center, 1999).
Nystrom, Paul. The Economics of
Fashion (New York, 1928)
Parmet, Robert D. The Master of Seventh Avenue The Master of Seventh
Avenue David Dubinsky and the American Labor Movement (2012), head of
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
Pastorello, Karen. A power among them: Bessie Abramowitz Hillman and
the making of the Amalgamated
Clothing Workers of America (U of
Illinois Press, 2008).
Pope, Eliphalet. The
Industry in New York (U of Missouri,
Popkin, Martin E. Organization, Management, and Technology in the
Manufacture of Men's
Clothing (New York, 1929)
Seidman, Joel. The Needle Trades (1942)
Tyson, Thomas. "Collective bargaining and cost accounting: the case of
the US men's clothing industry." Accounting and Business Research
25.97 (1994): 23-38.
^ "Global apparel market size 2012-2025 Statista". Statista.
^ "U.S. online apparel and fashion revenue 2022 Statistic".
Statista. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
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