Companies in this industry manufacture garments for women, girls, and infants made from purchased fabric and from fabric they produce themselves. Major companies include VF Corporation, Calvin Klein (owned by PVH), Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Hanesbrands, and Carter's (all based in the US), along with Delta Galil (Israel), Gerry Weber (Germany), Page Industries (India), and World Company (Japan).
Global retail sales of women's wear (including clothing, footwear, sportswear, and accessories) were about $650 billion in 2014, according to MarketLine. The market was expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 4.1% through 2019, to an estimated $797 billion. China, the world's largest apparel manufacturer, controls more than a third of the world export market. The European Union, Japan, and the US are the largest importers of apparel, together accounting for nearly 90% of all imported apparel.
The US industry for manufacturing women's, girls', and infants' apparel includes more than 1,800 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $4.5 billion. The industry does not include apparel contractors that cut and sew materials owned by other companies. Women's clothing cut and sew contractors are covered in the Apparel Manufacturing profile.
Demand is driven by consumer tastes and disposable income. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and the ability to secure contracts with clothing marketers. Small companies can compete effectively with large ones by specializing in a particular type...