Fashion USA is an industry that employs several million workers. It has been opened
to imports from other countries with a low cost of labor such as China, Mexico and
others. The domestic clothing and textile market can be divided into 3 segments:
Fashion products - They have a 10 week life cycle, the shortest of all three segments
with about 35% of the market.
Seasonal products - They have a 20 week life cycle with 45% of the market. The clothes
in this segment are sold according to the seasons.
Basic products - With about 20% of the market, the smallest of all 3 segments, items
in this category are sold year round.
Trends in Fashion USA
Men and children's clothing styles tend to be more stable than women's fashions.
Therefore, men and children's clothing are much more suited to mass production.
Women's clothing has more seasonal clear outs which makes it more unpredictable
from a demand perspective.
Men and women have understood the power of Fashion USA and the communicative message
that clothing brings about. Clothing influences self-esteem, career advancement
Here are some of the more popular trends in Fashion USA:
The aging population in the 25 to 54 years age group is growing. The people with
such demographics have the most spending power on clothing.
There is a shift from blue collar workers to white collar workers. This translates
into a need for more dressy work apparel.
There are more single people within the U.S. population due to a higher divorce rate
and single people getting married later in life. A growing single U.S. population
means more money spent on clothing to improve self-image.
There is a trend towards a more casual and informal wear for the work environment.
This has created a whole new clothing segment of the casual work clothes.
Rather than buying cheap, poor quality clothing, there is movement towards buying
higher quality, longer lasting garments. Value is now the new standard not cheap.
There is a growing sportswear and active wear market due to a more active population
and a trend towards healthy living.
Structure of the Apparel Industry
The Fashion USA apparel industry is composed of groups of individuals whose responsibilities
often overlap each other.
Apparel manufacturers - These businesses are involved in the design, cutting and
sewing of clothing from fabric. Manufacturers are often contractors or subcontractors
who will produce apparel from fabrics owned by other firms.
Apparel merchandisers - They design and sell apparel but leave the manufacturing
to other firms.
Buying agents - They locate and bring suppliers and producers together. The buying
agents are often involved in negotiations and quality monitoring. They typically
are involved with firms which have little presence abroad or are part of a larger
firm's own buying staff.
Retailers - Retailers are involved in the distribution, merchandising and sale of
apparel to consumers. They range from physical locations to on line retailers.
Fashion USA - Trends in the Decade of 2000's
During this decade, Asia meets the west where styles of the orient influenced western
styles. Off center closures, asymmetrical designs, bamboo prints and words from
Asian languages can be seen in Fashion USA. What began as high end fashion has migrated
to everyday wear. Silk, a popular Asian fabric has been infused in western styles.
In the early 2000s, small music bands tied to smaller labels became popular. This
music trend ultimately influenced fashion of that time. Formal business jackets were
paired with a pair of jeans. This "inde" fashion trend also brought back the popularity
of the retro canvas sneakers, Converse.
Fashion USA Forecasting
The secret to success as an Importer for Fashion USA is the ability to forecast the
next decade of fashion trends. Fashion trends involve identifying changes in themes
such as floral or geometric and in color such as pastels and darks. It can also
entail the increase of types of clothing that are included in a certain group of
apparel such as sportswear.
With this knowledge of the Fashion USA market, you can identify your role as an importer,
the market segment that you want to serve, and the type of clothing that you want
to bring into the United States.
Photo Credits: The girl poses near the car - Belovodchenko Anton