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The Best Style Model: Integrated Textile and Clothing Companies, or Networks of Independent Suppliers? - Management Briefing
just-style, March 2009, Pages: 16
The growth in outsourcing within the clothing and textile sector worldwide has highlighted a key issue, and that is the relative merits of running an integrated company that handles basic production and design, or relying on a string of specialist suppliers to deliver the goods, from fibre supplies, to textile manufacture, design, clothing assembly and retail.
This is not a new question for the sector. The clothing industry has sourced fibre, dyes and textile from foreign countries for centuries and usually, the greatest value added has come at the design and clothing manufacture stage. But today, with developed world clothing companies increasingly moving production to low wage countries abroad, they are facing the question of whether the designers should be located near the place or production or at the company headquarters, usually in a different continent.
The management hassles of this disconnected production are such that some firms have opted to develop local design talent, near the manufacturing base. But what about a truly integrated clothing firm that sourced fibre, cloth, design and assembly all in the same region? Would that not be an efficient way of operating a company? Or would that stifle the choice and creativity that is the lifeblood of a textile and clothing sector that has always relied on international trade to source materials and expertise? Just-style here investigates the issue in depth, looking at Asia, Europe and north America.