Looking Good For Lots Less
VARIOUS—In this column, we’ll continue with more about the manufacturing process in the clothing business.
Manufacturing of clothes is divided into three separate steps. Each step is performed by specialized industries that can be located anywhere on the planet. The end product of each industry is sent onward to another industry that may be on another continent.
Once the threads are made, they’re woven into fabric. Today, spinning and weaving are highly mechanized and automated. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution began with mechanical looms in factories replacing cottage-based manual weaving. Fabric mills are enormous, capital-intensive operations, costing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to construct and operate. The industrialized nations of the world still hold an advantage here.
The second manufacturing step is cutting fabric. Patterns are developed where many pieces of fabric are assembled and sewn into a completed garment. Again, this is a highly automated process where developed nations can compete. Computer-controlled knives or lasers cut many layers of fabric at one time. The individual fabric pieces are cut from the bolts of cloth in such a way as to minimize wastage and get the maximum number of pieces per bolt.
The third and final step in clothing manufacturing is assembling the cut pieces and sewing them together. This is where the cheap labor costs of the
We’ll continue with more about the business of clothing in the next column.
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