Ninety-seven-and-a-half percent of all clothing in the US is imported from other countries. That’s a staggering figure. And that’s just the manufacturing.
Consider that even the clothes “Made in America” are often manufactured using fabric that was imported.
Now, that obviously doesn’t mean these are all poor-quality pieces… or that the companies producing them are somehow bad. But in light of recent events it does make us pause to ask a few questions.
For starters, could the North Korean conflict affect your wardrobe?
In response to the most recent and the largest nuclear bomb tests in North Korea, President Trump noted that “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”
The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2017
Well, China is North Korea’s largest trading partner… by far. And guess where about 40% of all clothing in the United States comes from.
If a response to the aggressive posturing of Kim Jong Un could lead to a disruption of half of the U.S. apparel market, we think that’s a question worth thinking about.
And just to prove that this goes beyond politics, take a look at another epicenter of production and textile products, Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is a small country just east of India. It is also one of the largest manufacturers of textile products in the world. It exports about $25 billion worth of textiles and finished apparel products per year, which is about 80% of the country’s total exports.
Why are we talking about Bangladesh? Well, look at what’s happened there recently.
While Texas was reeling from Harvey, Bangladesh was suffering a similar fate. CNN reported that at one point during the flooding, one-third of the entire country was under water. India too was suffering from flooding.
That will surely affect the global textile industry.
Between China and Bangladesh, they make up half of all US imported textiles. Meaning, every one-in-two pieces of clothing in America originated in those two countries.
Be it a single diplomatic maneuver or a natural disaster, the threat of major market ripples here in the States is real.
The solution is to give thought to this fragile supply chain in your everyday decisions.
While it is not something most of us contemplate often, it’s worth a look. Here at DNA Design Collective, we put emphasis on this part of our business.
We are not reliant on a large and uncertain supply chain to make the high-quality clothing we want to be known for. Instead, we take a very different approach.
It’s all local. Our textile mill is located 25 minutes away from our home base. We took a look at that topic a few weeks ago.
Our designer and fit specialists live just 15 minutes away from one another, making sure each piece of our design and fit process is seamless and interactive. This lets us get each aspect just right before we ever bring a piece to market.
Finally, our production engineer works out of Los Angeles, about 45 minutes away from our home base. While many designers need to Skype with their factories all over the world, we simply take a drive a few times a week to ensure we are producing well-made garments.
This community-based approach to making well-fitting and fashionable apparel is important to us.
While it might be cheaper to go with the more convoluted supply chain (i.e. fabric from Bangladesh, production in China, etc.), that too is a risk.
And to take a risk on whether or not you will be able to continue that sourcing and production without even benefiting from higher quality makes little sense to us.
We are a community. Such a close and personal relationship is what sets us apart from other brands.
So, whenever you go shopping for a new piece for your wardrobe, we hope you take a moment to think about the whole process… the whole chain of decisions that made up that piece.
And always know that we at DNA certainly do too.