We know what you’re thinking: What is “the fashion industry?” Is my company part of it?

The phrase “the fashion industry” may call to mind images of Fashion Week and photo shoots. In this era of global trade, however, the high-fashion runways are just one part of the broader textile and apparel industry that ranges from high-end luxury brands to fast-fashion retailers—and the thousands of companies in between that produce and sell clothing, shoes, and other textile products.

Before fashion hits the the runway, apparel sourcing is critical.

Nearly 98% of apparel consumed in the U.S. is imported.

United States Fashion Industry Association members and affiliates include companies across the value chain, which support our mission to remove barriers to textile and apparel trade. These companies include:

  • Brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers of textiles and apparel.
  • Service providers, including consultants, customs brokers, freight forwarders, law firms, logistics providers, steamship lines, and testing and certification companies that help those brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers.
  • Manufacturers and suppliers of finished products and inputs for finished products, as well as supplier associations, business councils, and promotional groups.
  • Agencies that promote the industry from a specific region, country, city, or other geographic entity.
  • Academic institutions.

This industry includes companies and professionals across the value chain, working in roles ranging from design and development, to sourcing and logistics, to trade policy and compliance, to retail and marketing.

The apparel and textile industry is also a major driver of employment across the world.

A study conducted by Moongate Associates for the TPP Apparel Coalition estimated that 70% of the value of an imported garment stays in the U.S. by supporting U.S.-based jobs such as design, sourcing, distribution, retailing, and other services.

Additionally, data from the International Labour Organization shows that U.S. apparel imports support approximately 7-8 million sewing jobs, largely performed by women in developing countries. 

jobs in the apparel global value chain

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