“Ready-to-wear: A journey through the evolving history of Garments and the rise of the Global Industry.”

Posted On: 13 Feb 2023By: Admin

The history of the garment industry dates back to the earliest civilization when humans first began to cover their bodies for protection and modesty. Over time, clothing has evolved from simple animal hides to the intricate and diverse styles seen today. One hundred years ago, North America and Europe accounted for around 85% of the world’s clothing production, with Japan being the primary manufacturer in Asia. However, the industry has undergone a major shift in the last century, with Asia now dominating the workforce.

Now, China and Bangladesh are the world’s first and second garment manufacturers. And other production heavyweights formerly non-existent like Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia have a big presence.

A significant change in the garment industry happened in the 1960s when the importance of expanding international trade for developing countries became clear. Many nations that previously bought their ready-to-wear clothes from the west or manufactured only for national customers began to hit the global stage as exporters.

The low wages of employees in these countries offered major production cost advantages, leading to the rise of countries like India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia as the world’s leading garments manufacturers.

In the early days of garment-making, hand weaving was one of the earliest forms of production, practiced by ancient civilizations such as Egyptians, and Romans. These cultures valued clothing not only for practical purposes but also as a status symbol and a way to express individuality. During the Middle Ages, guilds of the nobility and upper class. This era also saw the development of the first ready-to-wear clothing. As tailors began to produce standardized sizes for easier and quicker production.

The industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries brought significant changes to the garments industry. Advances in machinery and mass production techniques revolutionized the industry, making clothing more accessible to the working class. In the 20th century, new technologies and materials allowed for the creation of a wide range of styles and designs, leading to the growth of the global garments industry.

Today, the garment industry continues to evolve, with new innovations in materials, production techniques, and design driving the fashion world forward. The rise of fast fashion and mass production has made it possible for people to constantly update their wardrobes with new styles, it has also led to concern about the environmental impact of the industry and the treatment of workers in garment factories. As a matter of fact, green factories are on the rise now.

In conclusion, the history of garments is a testament to the creativity and resourcefulness of the human spirit, from simple animal hides to the complex and intricate styles of the modern day, the garment industry has undergone a major transformation in the last century, with Asia now dominating the global workforce. However, the industry continues to evolve, and new innovations will shape the future of fashion.


By Mahmud Saikot, Operation analyst, AR Sourcing Bangladesh.


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