“Before New York City and much of the United States transitioned to lockdown, designers I spoke with decided to either keep their production with their international manufacturing partners and hope those countries had short lockdowns, or decided to pull their production and send it elsewhere, including New York and other U.S. manufacturing hubs,” McNeil says in the interview.
“In the end, because New York was swift in locking down and mandating the closure of manufacturing and other businesses, those designers who pulled their overseas production to New York City didn’t end up with much more benefit than those who kept their inventory elsewhere—other than having their materials and products in-hand.”
A staggering 98 percent of clothes and shoes purchased in the U.S. are imported, according to a Sourcing Journal op-ed from the American Apparel and Footwear Association’s Stephen Lamar, executive vice president. China accounts for 41 percent of the apparel imports, followed by countries that include India, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. For overseas manufacturers, the lockdown led to immediate financial burdens and impacted cash flow, McNeil says, stemming from paused current projects, overdue invoices on completed and delivered work from designer clients, and no new incoming work.
All of this industry upset has led to an uptick in talk about manufacturing locally in places like New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles, McNeil says in the interview.
Nearly 72 percent of consumers say it’s important to them to support local businesses during this time, according to the Cotton Incorporated 2020 Coronavirus Consumer Response Survey (Wave II). And more than 6 in 10 consumers (61 percent) say they want to spend money in order to help reboot the economy.