Apparel Costs Rising and It’s Not Just Cotton

03/02/2011 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, a major American trade show, wrapped up on Sunday, January 23rd.  Participants included prestigious retailers from the outdoor sports sector and manufacturers including RadiciGroup, who presented a seminar titled “Apparel Costs Rising: And It’s Not Just Cotton”. 

“What is happening now to cotton has inevitable repercussions on all the other natural and synthetic fibres.  But what is going on with this product?  A reduction in cotton cultivated areas and poor harvests due to adverse climate conditions have decreased supply, while market demand for the product, particularly in Asia, is experiencing strong growth.  The result has been a huge price surge (a 136% increase over 12 months was recorded).  To this, we must add that cotton-producing countries have shifted their focus to value-added products and are trying to export semi-finished (yarn) or finished goods (fabrics), thus penalizing cotton processing countries”, organizers said.

The raw materials price rise is said to be having an effect on all finished products worldwide, from cotton to wool and man-made fibres, with an inevitable, strong impact on the entire textile and apparel industry.  These issues were discussed by Mike Todaro – Managing Director of AAPN,   Kurt Cavano – CEO of Tradecard, Randy Harward – Sr. Director of Quality and R&D of Patagonia, Rick Horwitch – VP Solutions Business Development & Marketing of Bureau Veritas, Kim Hall – Marketing Manager of Radici Group and several other leaders in the textile and manufacturing industry.

“After participating last December 7 in the first Virtual Design Center LIVE, a virtual interactive seminar produced by US Outdoor Retailer,” Kim Hall said, “we wanted to bring our experience and present our point of view at the seminar, Apparel Costs Rising:  And It’s Not Just Cotton.  It was a very interesting meeting of ideas.  On our part, we discussed the aspects related to the rising costs of raw materials and the consequent increase in manufacturing costs for man-made fibres, from spandex to polyester and nylon.”

“Other non-apparel markets can pay a higher premium for their component raw materials because their final products command a higher price and, therefore, increased margins.  In our case, since we are not able to recoup the raw material price increases but want to remain a stable and reliable supplier, we must inevitably pass along such price increases.  Retail needs to understand that.”

As many large retail chains continue to report losses and consumers hold their wallets ever so tight, we have to ask ourselves this question….will retail understand?

We need to consider alternatives to the fibre crisis we are facing.  Cotton, wool and man-made fibres will continue to rise and we will need to seek out cost-effective options.  Click here to learn more about economically viable alternatives to what we once considered “The Fabric of Our Lives“.

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Entry filed under: Business, Cotton, Economy, Environment, Organic Apparel, Sustainability, Textiles. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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