The fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar global company engaged in the production and sale of clothing. Some observers distinguish between the fashion industry (producing “haute couture”) and the garment industry (producing casual clothing or “mass fashion”), but by the 1970s the lines between the two had blurred. Fashion is best defined simply as the style(s) of clothing and accessories worn by groups of people at a given time.
It might seem like there might be a difference between expensive designer clothes on the runways in Paris or New York and the mass-produced sportswear and streetwear sold in malls and markets around the world. However, the fashion industry encompasses the design, production, distribution, marketing, retailing, advertising, and promotion of all types of clothing (for men, women, and children) from haute couture to rare and expensive (literally, “haute couture”). from designer fashion to casual wear, from couture ball gowns to casual sweatpants. Sometimes the broader term “fashion industry” is used to refer to the many industries and services that employ millions of people around the world.
The fashion industry is a product of modernity. Until the middle of the 19th century, virtually all clothing was made by hand for private individuals, either at home or commissioned by tailors and tailors. In the early 20th century, with the advent of new technologies such as the sewing machine, the rise of global capitalism and the development of the factory system, and the proliferation of retail stores such as department stores, clothing was increasingly mass-produced. in standard standards. sizes and sold for fixed prices. Although the fashion industry first developed in Europe and America, today it is an international and highly globalized industry in which clothing is often designed in one country, produced in another, and sold in a third. For example, an American fashion company might source fabric in China, manufacture clothing in Vietnam, process it in Italy, and ship it to a warehouse in the United States for distribution to retail stores around the world. The fashion industry has long been one of the largest employers in the United States and remains so in the 21st century. However, employment fell significantly as manufacturing increasingly moved overseas, especially to China. Since data on the fashion industry is generally presented for national economies and expressed in terms of many individual industry sectors, it is difficult to obtain aggregate data on world textile and apparel production. However, by any measure, this industry undeniably represents a significant portion of global economic output.
The fashion industry consists of four levels: the production of raw materials, mainly fibers and textiles, but also leather and fur; production of fashion items by designers, manufacturers, contractors, etc.; Retail sale; and various forms of advertising and promotion. These tiers are made up of many distinct but interdependent sectors, each dedicated to the goal of meeting consumer demand for apparel in an environment that allows industry participants to operate profitably.
Key sectors of the fashion industry
Textile design and production
Most of the models are made of textiles. Partial automation of the spinning and weaving of wool, cotton, and other natural fibers was one of the first achievements of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. In the 21st century, these processes are highly automated and are carried out by high-speed computer-controlled machines. A large sector of the textile industry produces fabrics for clothing. Both natural fibers (such as wool, cotton, silk, and linen) and synthetic fibers (such as nylon, acrylic, and polyester) are used. A growing interest in sustainable fashion (or “green fashion”) has led to the increased use of sustainable fibers such as hemp. High-tech synthetic fabrics offer properties such as moisture-wicking (such as Coolmax), stain resistance (such as 303 High Tech Fabric Guard), retention or dissipation of body heat, and resistance to fire, weapons (such as Kevlar), cold ( such as Thinsulate), ultraviolet radiation (Solarweave), and other hazards. Fabrics are produced with a wide range of effects through dyeing, weaving, printing and other manufacturing and finishing processes. Along with fashion forecasters, textile manufacturers work long before the clothing production cycle, creating fabrics with colors, textures, and other qualities that anticipate consumer demand.