July '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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52 || P R I N T W E A R J U LY 2 0 1 7 They're Coming ( Back ) To America The Fluctuation of Made-in-USA Apparel and Equipment B Y M I K E C L A R K I t's no secret that sourcing domestically-produced apparel and decoration equipment can be a challenge in the U.S. From the 19th century into the mid-1980s, the country saw a flourish- ing industry of textile and garment manufacturing, starting with cotton production and evolving with the advent of other fibers like polyester and rayon. A large portion of these operations dotted the Southeast, along with some textile mills in the Northeast. Equipment- makers also churned out machinery in hubs across the Midwest. Since the 1980s, a sizeable chunk of this industry has since migrated to coun- tries like India, Vietnam, Mexico, and Central America. While much divisive rhetoric is in high supply on how to bring ap- parel and equipment manufacturing back to the U.S., it's worth noting current trends already taking place around the country. While the U.S. workforce provides many benefits in the realm of quality and reliablity, domestic labor costs will, in most cases, always be higher than overseas operations. (Image courtesy The M&R Companies)

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